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The representations of contemporary legislation in South African Grade 12 Business Studies textbooks.

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The purpose of the study was to analyse the representations of contemporary legislation in South African Grade 12 Business Studies textbooks. Critical discourse analysis (CDA) was used as a contemporary theoretical approach to qualitative research with a view to examining the use of words and sentences. Employing a qualitative approach allowed for the extraction of rich data from the diverse meanings that different textbooks assign to current legislation, as portrayed in Grade 12 Business Studies textbooks. Qualitative research is unrestricted and adaptable. The study employs Critical Theory (CT) to demonstrate how bureaucratic, cultural, and social power in society influence the representations of legislation, such that what may be known about legislation is subjectively shaped by the values and social positioning of the dominant group. The main focus of this study is CDA, a social analysis programme that examines discourse critically; in other words, how language is used to address social change. The analytical tools used in the study were ―Omission‖, ―Insinuation‖, ―Presupposition‖, ―Modality‖, ―Topicalisation‖, ―Foregrounding‖, ―Register‖ and ―Connotation‖, as employed by (Huckin, 1997, 91, 93; McGregor, 2003, 4-6). Findings from the analysis of six South African Grade 12 Business and Studies textbooks indicate that the use of power is still embedded in the written words, to maintain control of society by those in the elite. The findings also indicated that school textbooks lack neutrality. The implications of the findings suggest that the South African Grade 12 Business Studies textbooks are overwhelmed with issues of power and control and hidden messages, even though no explicit linguistic features are articulated at the surface level. Awareness must be raised among policymakers, textbook creators, textbook users, facilitators, teachers, and schools, to make power relationships and social group illustrations in textbooks more reasonable. Grade 12 Business Studies teachers treat school textbooks used in the classroom as if they are neutral. However, there is a need for teachers to critically engage with school textbooks and to examine how and why specific texts are written or presented in particular ways. Grade 12 Business Studies teachers, in collaboration with subject specialists, scholars, and policymakers, must examine school textbooks.


Doctoral Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.