Conference Paper Categorizations of Speakerhood: Reconciling the Damage and Searching for Solutions

Paper presented at the American Association for Applied Linguistics (AAAL) 2017 Conference, Marriott Downtown Waterfront, Portland (OR), USA.
presented academic conference
This presentation explores the issue of status and impact drawn from categorizations of speakerhood. Despite the inequalities resident in dividing teaching professional on the basis of speakerhood being increasingly recognized, nothing seems to change as the discursive routines performed continue to produce outcomes so predictable that it is as if the discussions never took place. I will outline how our profession persists in orienting itself toward upholding the division of teaching professionals primarily upon status criteria derived from the idea of the native speaker as the authentic language user and proprietor. While status criteria derived from the idea of the native speaker as an authentic language user and proprietor is almost universally assumed to be unidirectional, fluidic back-and-forth discursive negotiations of privilege and marginalization in relation to professional status have infrequently been acknowledged within the mainstream literature (see Houghton and Rivers, 2013; Rivers, 2016; Yazan and Rudolph, 2017). The normative discursive condition remains one in which native-speaker English teaching professionals are fixed as exclusive high-status benefactors of categorizations made on the basis of speakerhood, while non-native speaker English teaching professionals remain fixed as the exclusive low-status victims of the same such categorizations. This normative condition draws colleagues within the professional into direct conflict with one another as they scramble for supposed status and resources. Discontent with this situation, and the circular discourses it encourages, I will outline how individuals and institutions on both sides of the fracture work to attain status privilege and suffer status marginalization through the discursive positioning of their fabricated counterpart.

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