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Proofs of identity: some social and political functions of language tests

Date: 14 December 2006 Time: 4.00-5.30pm

Tim McNamara(Department of Linguistics & Applied Linguistics, University of Melbourne)

Tim will be giving a talk entitled:

Proofs of identity: some social and political functions of language tests.

A primary but relatively little discussed function of language tests is to reinforce social identities, including ethnic and national identities, and in boundary definition and maintenance. This paper gives examples of such practices in different cultures and historical eras, including the notorious Dictation Test used to implement the White Australia Policy in the early 20th century. It goes on to discuss the disciplinary role of language tests, using as an example the way in which a specific view of Canadian identity is constructed through language tests as part of the Official Languages Policy. This and other examples are discussed in the light of Foucault's observations on the identity functions of tests in modernity.

Thursday, 14 December 20064.00 - 5.30 pmFurness Lecture Theatre 3

All welcome!

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Further information

Organising departments and research centres: Centre for Research in Language Education (CRILE), Linguistics and English Language

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Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Lancaster University
Lancaster LA1 4YD
United Kingdom

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