Working Papers in Educational Linguistics (WPEL)




In our increasingly globalized world, the notions of language, culture, community, and nation are more and more fluid. Considering the influence of globalization, new media, and current societal flux, sociolinguists have begun to examine how identity, language, and culture are negotiated through popular culture (Pennycook, 2010). Using a descriptive, interactional sociolinguistic approach, this paper explores this phenomenon by examining a small community of approximately 20-30 students who are members of a salsa club at a university in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. First, this case study explores student motivation for joining this community of practice (Lave & Wenger, 1991). Second, it considers the pedagogical practices within the classroom, which although informal in design, are traditional in style. Students learn how to move their bodies as well as interact on the dance floor. Finally, it will examine how gendered roles are defined and negotiated. The findings from this study suggest conflicting attitudes and ideologies about the agency each partner has (or does not have).