A critical analysis of unemployment entrenched in four Business Studies Grade 10 textbooks.
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This study explores the representation of unemployment in four grade 10 Business Studies textbooks through the use of Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA). CDA was used in this qualitative study as a research technique applied by the researcher, for the purpose of analysing the relevant texts. The framework of analysis here includes the use of Gee‟s (1999, p63-65) level one: “form-function” and level three: “situated meaning” models. When dealing with „situated meaning‟, the researcher adopted two aspects of Huckin‟s (1997) model, in particular, “topicalization” and “connotations” (Huckin, 2002, p28). Huckin‟s model was used to critically analyse the findings from the sample textbooks utilised. The findings suggest that power and domination were evident as themes throughout the four sampled textbooks, mainly in the framing of the text. To focus in further on the findings, it would seem that certain pieces of information in the textbooks had been strategically played down to give importance to those parts that the publisher perhaps felt were more valuable, and which fed into power and domination themes that embodied themselves in the texts. For example, when defining „unemployment‟, the four sampled textbooks provided different unemployment rates for South Africa. This observation, on its own, is creating confusion for the reader because the reader will not be able to identify which figures to rely on and therefore not see the severity of the issue of unemployment. Even with the projections made the figures are still wrong, as in reality, the unemployment rate is sitting at 36.3% (StatisticsSA, 2016, p xiii). These findings inform and extend the researcher‟s understandings of the representation of unemployment in Business Studies textbooks, and led to the recommendation that one needs to be critical and wary when reading texts, especially those that form part of the public domain – as there is a strong possibility that the manner in which they are presently written could be influenced to benefit certain stakeholders. From the findings, a vital recommendation suggested is that in schools, teachers also need to be „guarded‟ about the issue of textbooks being influenced. Therefore, when teaching, a teacher needs to engage with a variety of different resources in the classroom in order to eliminate the possibility of being biased within the classroom. vii The results thus outline that „connotations‟ have featured more prominently, yet „topicalisation‟ does also feature – however, not to the same extent as that of connotations. This knowingly or unknowingly reveals that the texts have been structured in such a way that they bear more of a hidden agenda in terms of connotations, in relation to unemployment. This study adds to the academic ambit, as the findings suggest that there is a clear case of misuse and manipulation of power. Therefore, textbooks should not just be looked at in a superficial manner, but rather, should be critically evaluated. Teachers should not rely on only one source within the classroom, as it could ultimately disadvantage their learners educationally.