English Australia Journal : English Australia Journal 31.2
Volume 31 No 2 32 English Australia Journal Since his valuable work in 1991, his concept of an imagined community has been adapted and applied to the field of applied linguistics, where it was re-defined by Kanno and Norton (2003, p . 241) as ‘groups of people, not immediately tangible and accessible, with whom we connect through the power of the imagination’. This combined Anderson’s concept with the idea of communities of practice put forward by Lave and Wenger (1991), whose view was that the act of learning moves beyond merely acquiring a set of knowledge and skills, but more importantly occurs due to changing patterns of participation within communities that share practices. As the level of competence of an individual increases in the performance of these community practices, they are able to become more active participants. For many language learners in Australia at university level, including the participants in the current study, imagined communities are mostly made up of visions outside of the language classroom. For example, it is understandable that the imagined communities of future nursing students are made up of fellow nursing students, and beyond that it could be a professional community within the healthcare field. Similar examples to this can be found in Norton (2001). The link with increasing competence in these community practices draws heavily on the notion of what is now commonly known as Intercultural Communicative Competence, a concept Byram (1991) and Kramsch (1993) developed as an extension of Hymes’s (1972) initial notion of Communicative Competence. Intercultural Communicative Competence is defined by Byram (2000) as ‘the ability to interact effectively with people of cultures other than one’s own’ (p. 297), a definition that bears great relevance and significance to the participants in the current study, and the many other students like them. The work of Andrew (2011) built on this in its exploration of the lived experiences of learners beyond the classroom through journals of learners in community volunteer placements. The study, and the journals, revealed that through active participation in the target culture in a context beyond the educational setting helped learners ability to work appropriately and effectively to integrate more into the culture and community. In extending the idea from the physical, or situated, sense to the imagined, the concept of imagined communities and identities has taken on an important new dimension. Now, the concept of imagined identities has become a central theme in the study of identity – in particular in the relationship that exists between imagined communities and imagined identities (Norton 2001). This relationship has been further explored in the work of several researchers such as Dageanis, Moore, Lamarre, Sabatier, & Armand (2008), who provided elementary school children in Canada with an avenue to document how they imagined the language of their neighborhoods and how they constructed their own identities in relation to them.
English Australia Journal 31.1
English Australia Journal 32.1