Critical Realism: What can it do for EAP?

Molinari, Julia (2022). Critical Realism: What can it do for EAP? In: Ding, Alex and Evans, Michelle eds. Social Theory for English for Academic Purposes Foundations and Perspectives. New Perspectives for English for Academic Purposes. Bloomsbury, pp. 135–154.



This chapter adopts a critical realist lens to analyse the ways in which change can be understood and at what level it can be located across three interconnected domains of EAP socio-academic reality: the micro-level of everyday practices and experiences; the meso-level of actual and potential contexts; and the macro-level of deep structures and mechanisms. Following a historical overview to set the scene for why and how EAP lends itself to critical realist scrutiny, I explain what critical realist theory is and how it can be methodologically relevant to understanding agency in EAP. I conclude by highlighting that change in the theory and practice of EAP is possible at the micro- and meso-levels on condition that scholars and practitioners are engaged at the macro-level. What motivates these aims is the sense of collective endeavour, implicitly or explicitly stated in this volume, to theoretically ground and explain transformation and change in the field of EAP

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