What kinds of discourses are used to legitimize the teaching and use of literature in L2 contexts when compared to L1 contexts?

Research output: Other conference contributionAbstractScientific


The teaching and use of literature in language education contexts are legitimized in numerous ways in arenas such as research literature, curricula and the learning objectives of teacher education. Our presentation examines discourses used to legitimize the inclusion of literature in L2 language education. While there is research on legitimization discourses, our contribution brings to light an understudied perspective by focusing on doctoral dissertations.

The data consists of doctoral dissertations which discuss the inclusion of literary texts within an L2 language education context. The data has been collected using 10 ProQuest databases with a filtering for theses and dissertations published in the last decade, using the search phrase ("foreign language education" OR "L2") AND ("children's literature" OR "young adult literature" OR “YA literature”). This search produced 89 theses and dissertations from which we will select relevant studies for analysis.

We compare the findings to previous research by Rättyä (2019), who found that in L1 contexts, teaching literature is legitimized through a variety of discourses drawing on (1) educational policy, (2) developing students’ skills and (3) motivation, (4) affective and socio-emotional perspectives and (5) processes and performance. Our working hypothesis is that In L2 contexts, the inclusion of literature is most often legitimized using discourse drawing on skills and abilities, such as strengthening students’ functional, visual and literary literacy, writing skills and cultural education.

In order to effectively meet the challenges related to creativity, literacy and critical thinking in language education contexts, we must be explicit about the ways in which literature education is legitimized. The findings are valuable not only for developing teacher education and training, but also for critically reflecting on how new curricula are designed. Recognizing the creativity discourse, for example, could also lead to a diversification of teaching methods and practices.

Key words: Literature education, legitimization, language education
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 18 May 2021
Publication typeNot Eligible
EventThe 8th Nordic Conference on Subject Education: Creativity, Literacy and Critical Thinking in Subject Education: Issues and Trends for the 21st Century - University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway
Duration: 18 May 202120 May 2021
Conference number: 8th


ConferenceThe 8th Nordic Conference on Subject Education
Abbreviated titleNOFA
Internet address


  • Literature education
  • language education
  • legitimization


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