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"We are a team, we are a family" : Working, Connecting, and Community-Building Through Language in a College Student Dance Organization

O'Malley, Margaret Whitney
Degree Grantor:
University of California, Santa Barbara. Education
Degree Supervisor:
Amy Kyratzis
Place of Publication:
[Santa Barbara, Calif.]
University of California, Santa Barbara
Creation Date:
Issued Date:
Education, Higher and Sociology, Sociolinguistics
Higher education
College experience
Peer interactions
Student organizations
Language socialization
Dissertations, Academic and Online resources
Ph.D.--University of California, Santa Barbara, 2014

College students can experience a lack of social integration into college life (Tinto 1993). Heath and her colleagues (Heath 1998; Heath & McLaughlin 1993a), taking a language socialization perspective (Ochs & Schieffelin 2012), found that younger, inner-city youth aged 5-18 years derived many benefits from participating in community youth-based organizations around sports, dance, dramatic arts, and other activities. As youth engaged in collaborative work with peers and adults leaders within these organizations, they learned and later took up linguistic structures that reflected "planning ahead" as well as verbal practices that displayed connection (Heath 1998). The present study uses a language socialization (Ochs & Schieffelin 1984; Heath 1998) perspective, and also a perspective informed by work on peers socializing one another (Goodwin & Kyratzis 2012; Eder 1993) to examine the grammatical and discourse structures used in the everyday peer interactions of members of a student-run dance organization at a large university during their dance practices, and also interviews the youth. During practices, group members used grammatical structures for planning ahead to future outcomes (e.g., if-then constructions), and also used verbal practices for displaying connection (Heath 1998). In the interviews, they reported deriving several benefits from membership in the dance organization, including deriving a sense of family and of being a part of something greater than themselves. Findings are discussed in terms of language socialization theory as well as implications for higher education policies and practice.

Physical Description:
1 online resource (162 pages)
UCSB electronic theses and dissertations
Catalog System Number:
Inc.icon only.dark In Copyright
Copyright Holder:
Margaret O'Malley
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