accommodation; classroom discourse; conversational floor; critical discourse analysis; divergence; gender; power; reproduction; resistance; turn-taking


Classrooms provide lessons not only in subject content but also in socially approved forms of academic discourse. Moreover, they may function to reproduce normative social values, attitudes and beliefs. This paper focuses on the reproduction of and resistance to traditional gender roles in the classroom discourse of university students. By some measures (turn and word counts), women appear to have achieved an equal access to the public floor in these academic exchanges, yet a closer examination of the content and contexts of their discourse reveals complex struggles for control of the conversational floor. Women's control may be contested by task-divergent behaviors (such as derisive asides) that uphold the status quo in which men control public space, yet women may also enact divergent but essentially task-continuative behaviors that contest prevailing, restrictive norms by restructuring discourse to exercise other choices. Critical discourse analysts may play an important role in challenging the passive reproduction of repressive practices, by analyzing and promoting the liberatory discourse choices that arise from non-elites who resist the status quo in their conversation.

Original Citation

Bergvall, Victoria L., and Kathryn A. Remlinger. "Reproduction, Resistance and Gender in Educational Discourse: The Role of Critical Discourse Analysis." Discourse & Society 7, no. 4 (1996): 453-479.