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Plurilingual and pluricultural subject positioning of plurilingual students in a Francophone minority school in British Columbia Brisson, Geneviève


In this qualitative case study, I explored the process of identity construction of plurilingual students attending a Francophone minority school in British Columbia. Using a theoretical framework informed by a sociocultural perspective on literacies (Barton & Hamilton, 2000; Street, 1984), positioning theories of identity (Davies & Harré, 1990; Blackledge & Pavlenko, 2001), plurilingualism and pluricultural competence (Marshall & Moore, 2013; Moore, 2006), and multimodality (Cope & Kalantzis, 2000; Kress, 2000a, 2000b), I investigated how focal students negotiated multiple subject positions as plurilingual and pluricultural in the context of literacy events in a classroom. My analysis focused on their use of linguistic and cultural resources in their oral interactions, and on their use of modes of representation in their digital multimodal texts. I gathered data through ethnographic methods, and I also collected multimodal digital texts. My analysis of literacy events allowed for identification of “moments of positioning” as plurilingual and pluricultural, in which students activated some of their linguistic and cultural resources, and/or modes of representation to negotiate multiple subject positions. This study of moments of positioning provides a close analysis of factors inhibiting the expression and recognition of some subject positions as legitimate in the classroom. For instance, the monolingual school Discourse – with an upper case D, as conceptualized by Gee (1996, 2001, 2005) – may limit the negotiation of plurilingual and pluricultural subject positions. This study makes significant contributions to research on identity in the fields of literacy and language learning, and in the research on identity in Francophone minority schools. It shows how a Discourse might lead students to express some of their subject positions in their classroom setting, and not others. My analysis of moments of positioning supports current poststructuralist views of identity as dynamic, fluid, and performed in interactions and adds to research demonstrating that subject positions are not stable entities negotiated once and acquired forever (Blackledge & Pavlenko, 2001). In the field of research on multimodality, my research adds to the literature arguing that multimodality can be a powerful tool that children can use when they create texts in which they negotiate subject positions.

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