Discursive Enactment of Agency in Study-Abroad Interviews

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Abstract

In this article, we examine how meta-agentive discourse was enacted and linguistically encoded with constructed dialog. We analyze interviews with 4 American undergraduate students who expressed their interest in study abroad (SA) and submitted applications but later withdrew them. The analysis centers on the ways agency was assigned to different actors in participants’ decision-making processes as mediated by discourses of SA. We demonstrate that in their interviews, the participants primarily assigned agency to (a) themselves by way of self-reports, (b) a ‘collective’ author by way of vague referents, and (c) SA programs and leadership by way of hypothetical constructed dialog. Notably, discourses about SA were often repurposed in divergent ways within the same interview by multiple participants. We urge scholars examining agency to closely consider the trajectorial and situated nature of meta-agentive discourse in applied linguistics research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)877-896
Number of pages20
JournalModern Language Journal
Volume105
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

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