The primary classroom as a superdiverse hetero-normative space

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This paper deals with the micro-dynamics of identity construction in a regular multicultural primary school classroom in the Netherlands. More specifically, it analyses the meta-discursive practices of a monolingual indigenous class teacher and of her immigrant minority pupils. Moving away from classical notions of language maintenance and shift, the processes of identity construction reconstructed here suggest three things. First, it suggests that the term allochtonous pupil does not pay justice to highly skilled multilingual stockbrokers busy managing polyphonous cultural and linguistic belongings. Second, that these pupils’ cultural and linguistic management skills enable them to escape the voice of authority through language sabotage. Third, that although pupils are bearers of identities that are high on the agenda of the migrant community, these pupils are also sharply aware of problems of ‘mobility’ that such locally valid inhabited identities may bring when they are deployed in another socio-cultural space.


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