“This is Almost an Identity for Me”: Disposition, Academic Literacy, and the Experiences of Successful Student Writers
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Through an ethnographically-oriented, mixed-methods study, this dissertation explores the experiences of student writers employed in a university writing center, focusing on the dispositions—that is, the internalized values, beliefs, and practices—of those student writers. Drawing from Pierre Bourdieu’s concept of habitus, I begin theorizing the role of dispositions in relation to academic literacy development. Based on students’ stories about their experiences with academic literacy, I identify a set of dispositional qualities and examine how, when, and why those dispositional qualities influence students’ developing relationships to academic literacy. This dissertation explores how dispositions generate action and shape perception, how dispositions are shaped by experiences, and how dispositions function in relation to context. I argue that a dispositional framework offers a productive way to further our understanding of how students learn to write in the academy that is inclusive of students’ voices and students’ experiences with academic literacy.