Theory in Applied Linguistics Research: Critical approaches to production, performance and participation. AILA Review, Volume 28
  • ISSN 1461-0213
  • E-ISSN: 1570-5595


Complex dynamic systems (CDS) theory offers a powerful metaphorical model of applied linguistic processes, allowing holistic descriptions of situated phenomena, and addressing the connectedness and change that often characterise issues in our field. A recent study of Kenyan conflict transformation illustrates application of a CDS perspective. Key CDS concepts and tools for thinking are described. I argue that the CDS perspective can, and should, include an inherent ethical/moral dimension that applies to every choice made by researcher and participants. Adding the ecological notion of ‘affordances’ allows the CDS metaphor to better address human creativity. Methodological principles for a CDS perspective are described. The author’s Discourse Dynamics model is presented for further development and research.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): affordances; complexity; conflict transformation; discourse; dynamics; ethics
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