Date of Award

5-2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

English

First Advisor

Ben Rafoth, Ed.D.

Second Advisor

Gloria Park, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Sharon K. Deckert, Ph.D.

Abstract

Following literature by Grimm (1999), Denny (2010), and Condon (2012), this study explored tutors' perceptions based on Bell's (2007) framework, which described similarities among various manifestations of social injustices, by considering the research question: How do peer tutors experience and conceptualize social justice issues within the context of tutoring sessions in the writing center? Data were collected from eight participants through interviews, concept mapping tasks, and social category ranking tasks, yielding 8.5 hours of audio-recorded data and 145 pages of transcriptions. Findings included evidence that tutors experience social injustices as occasionally insurmountable barriers to tutoring. This research also revealed that some injustices are more visible to tutors, participants recognized oppression as manifesting in language, some tutors seek explanations for injustices, and most tutors defer to higher authorities (i.e., professors, academic discourse). Based on these findings, I argue that presumptions must be openly discussed and reconceptualized by all writing center stakeholders.

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