‘Small' and ‘grand narratives' of English teaching and social agency in South Africa post-1994

  • Devi Sarinjeive Department of English, Vista University (VUDEC)


At Vista in recent times in order to be relevant lecturers in the English Department have had to extend the literature, theory and academic reading and writing repertoire to include new modules, such as ENG5009: Reading and Writing Skills for Business English . Students study the workings of groups in business, how to identify and manage conflict situations, conduct meetings, compose notices, agendas, minutes, reports and presentations and how to manage time and the rules of grammar. In this paper I seek to show that from a postmodernist perspective ENG5009 is to some extent a response to the local context, a Lyotardian ‘small narrative' (‘petit recit') in its own right and, simultaneously, traceable to the ‘grand narratives'(‘grands recits') of English produced and reproduced continuously since its inception as a field of study. Moreover, as a ‘grand narrative' post-apartheid offspring, ENG5009, the type of English now demanded both locally and globally, will be shown to be complicitous with ‘neo-colonialism'.

Keywords: small and grand narratives, English the subject, English as literacy, social agency

[Jnl for Language Teaching Vol.37(2) 2003: 268-280]

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 0259-9570