Paper 8: Life in the ‘Third Space’: A grounded theory of EAP professionals traversing traditional organizational cultures
This seminar presents concepts from a six-year Critical Grounded Theory of English for Academic (EAP) units at eleven universities in the UK, USA and Japan undergoing the process of corporatization and ‘new managerialism’ (Deem, 2001). Using a general methodology for studying and theorizing about the pragmatic actions of people in specific environments, known as Grounded Theory (Glaser & Strauss, 1967/1999; Glaser, 1978; Boeije, 2002; Charmaz, 2006), it was found from interviews of 98 research informants that a new professional role is emerging within the ‘third spaces’ (Whitchurch, 2009b, 2009a) of universities, which I have called Blended EAP Professionals – those who are not quite teachers, not quite managers, and not quite administrators, but who are responsible for a wide variety of initiatives and issues that affect EAP teachers in corporatized universities.
Three types of Blended EAP Professionals were discovered, based upon empirical study of interviews, coding and participatory observations. These will be presented, as well as some of the strategies – both successful and unsuccessful – that people in these positions practice in an attempt to survive the perils of the Third Space, and mediate between the organizational and intercultural concerns of EAP teachers, faculty and administrative management at corporatized universities. This presentation will be of interest to those who wish to have deeper insight into social processes and issues affecting their careers in educational environments that have been affected by some of the neoliberal aspects of globalization.