Economic representations of HIV/AIDS in contemporary Grade 11 business studies textbooks : a critical discourse analysis.
The Curriculum Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) puts renewed emphasis on the textbook as a key pedagogical tool in the classroom and a leading resource tool in the transmission of knowledge. In the rethinking of curricula, this study has been prompted by the need for more detailed understanding of the way content knowledge, as projected by textbook authors, represents facts and provokes thoughts and attitudes. In particular the focus of this study is on understanding how economic representations of HIV/AIDS are presented in prescribed Business Studies textbooks in the Further Education Band (FET) Grade 11. The objective has been to uncover the ideological meanings hidden behind the written words and sentences in the prescribed textbooks that make reference to HIV/AIDS. Using a qualitative approach, the study is positioned in a critical paradigm based on the principles of critical discourse analysis outlined by Huckin (1997) as an analytical framework. A purposive sampling approach was used to select three prescribed contemporary Grade 11 Business Studies textbooks for this study. The findings were categorised according to the following thematic issues that emerged in the course of the study: HIV/AIDS as a socio-economic issue with potentially fatal implications for economically active citizens. HIV/AIDS as a globalised phenomenon with negative connotations for the discourse of the epidemic, reinforcing potential for dispute among global leaders and scholars alike in relation to prevention and control of the infection and the prospect of destructive consequences for the economic workforce. The textbooks portrayed metaphorical constructions of HIV/AIDS as a form of representation that played a key role in constructions of HIV/AIDS as a disease and as a harbinger of death; with potentially fatal implications for the workforce of the country. The textbooks further represented meaningful exclusion, where omissions or silences in the text reinforced the notion of excluding the „diseased‟ from business opportunities. Finally, HIV/AIDS as a construct that legitimises the authors‟ position of power and dominance towards the reader through expressions of certainty and authority in words and sentences. The common thread in the five themes presented is the reflection of HIV/AIDS as having negative implications for profits and productivity in businesses. The chief analytical concern is how the content related to HIV/AIDS is portrayed to learners in the classroom. Recommendations are made to encourage pedagogical supplementation of the prescribed Business Studies textbooks if this is the only legitimate source of pedagogy, so that teachers can act as critical practitioners in lessons and are not exclusively reliant on the prescribed textbook as their primary source of knowledge.