Southern African Linguistics and Applied Language Studies

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Emotion, voice and agency: Exploring the written discourses of some township women in South Africa

Charlyn Dyers, Meggan Williams, Tatum Barthus


This paper is an analysis of the discourses and attitudes that emerged from a set of daily journals kept by a particular group of township women during a training course for domestic workers in South Africa. The principal aim of the paper is to examine the ways in which the women express emotion, voice, and agency through the act of writing and reflecting on their experiences during the training course. A secondary aim is to uncover those recurrent discourses and attitudes that either empower or disempower these women from becoming effective agents capable of challenging their positions in their families and society. The theoretical and conceptual framework for this study draws on Appraisal Theory and studies on voice, agency and identity.

Southern African Linguistics and Applied Language Studies 2012, 30(1): 1–11
AJOL African Journals Online