The third international Legitimation Code Theory (LCT) conference, hosted by Wits University in July, was a huge success. The biennial conference boasted 160 delegates from 48 universities from across the world, showcasing 98 papers using LCT as the primary theoretical framework from across the disciplines.
LCT is described as “a sophisticated framework for exploring practices in terms of their organizing principles or ‘legitimation codes’. LCT reveals the underlying principles that generate different forms of knowledge practices – in effect, the DNA of knowledge. LCT research has particularly focused on how different legitimation codes enable and constrain knowledge-building” (see here for more details). The approach is motivated by concerns with social justice and knowledge-building, making it especially appropriate for dealing with issues in higher education.
Rhodes University delegates, including current staff members, honorary professors, and past and current doctoral candidates, delivered papers in all areas of the conference, including keynotes, workshops, extended papers and regular papers – contributing 18 pieces of work in total!
CHERTL colleagues in particular, made a significant contribution. Honorary Professor, Prof Karl Maton , the architect of LCT, gave a thought-provoking keynote on the opening day of the conference on ‘Autonomy’ – the newest dimension of LCT. Former CHERTL doctoral candidate, Dr Mlamuli Hlatshwayo, formed part of a panel on the use of LCT to decolonize higher education in South Africa. This robust debate provided a critical space where delegates from across the world could learn about our context and the on-going theoretical engagement we are pursuing with issues of decoloniality.
Current CHERTL staff and affiliates, Prof Sioux McKenna, Dr Kirstin Wilmot and Dr Sherran Clarence, ran workshops on using LCT to support the teaching and assessment of undergraduate writing (Clarence) as well as how it can be used to develop and enhance postgraduate supervision practices and doctoral writing (Wilmot & McKenna). Sioux, Sherran and Kirstin were also invited to present extended papers (60 mins) on their research using LCT. Sherran presented on ways in which the dimension of Semantics can be used to teach research writing in universities. Sioux’s paper, drawing on Autonomy, provided insight into new research which considers the autonomy of supervisors and candidates in the postgraduate supervision space. Kirstin’s paper outlined a new method for graphically showing growing complexity of knowledge over time.
Other contributions from CHERTL included Dr Karen Ellery’s paper on how science students become autonomous learners, and former doctoral candidate, Dr Gabie de Bie, contributed a paper on interdisciplinarity and powerful knowledge. Rhodes University delegates also included Louine Boothway and A/Prof Ingrid Schudel (Environmental Learning Research Centre), Dr Farhana Kajee (Education), Dr Ian Siebörger (Linguistics), Dylan Nemaramba (Linguistics), Barbara Nhemachena (Education) and Loide Vaino (Education). All the abstracts for the conference can be found here.
Rhodes University has an active and collegial LCT community that meets monthly to discuss new work, test out ideas and provide support for each other. The group is open to any scholars who are interested in using LCT in their research and practice. Please contact Dr Ian Siebörger if you would like to be added to our mailing list.