Seeking Pictorial Justice: How Pakistani English Textbooks Hegemonize and Homogenize Female Identities

Author: Liaquat A. Channa (Balochistan University of I.T, Engineering & Management Sciences, Quetta, Balochistan, Pakistan)
Speaker: Liaquat A. Channa
Topic: Language, Gender, Sexuality
The (SCOPUS / ISI) SOAS GLOCAL COMELA 2022 General Session


This study draws upon the Kress and van Leeuwen’s (1996) ideas about pictures and problematizes Pakistani textbooks of English teach only English. The study contends that the textbooks construct and prescribe a certain female ideology coated in the discourse of learning English. Because this study aimed to understand the identities an adult female was shown in the images of the English textbook for Grade 4 in Pakistan, it examined all the images of an adult female in the book. The study used the Foucault’s (1976/1978) theories of discourse and discursive formation and Vygotskian sociocultural view of the development of consciousness as analytical lenses to understand how the images dialectically manufactured female consciousness (1978; 1987). By following Braun and Clarke (2006), all the pictures of the book were first analyzed thematically to find out the roles of an adult female. The O’Toole’s (1994) method of analyzing pictures was later employed for a detailed examination of a representative image from the leading theme. The meticulous analysis demonstrated that the image of a housewife communicated to female students of Grade 4 beyond English by advocating a certain ideology of female identity. The study implies that the multimodal images of the book are not apolitical and acultural; they have an embedded hidden curriculum of their era and area, which is prescriptive in its nature.


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Keywords: English in Pakistan; Multimodal images in English textbooks; Female roles; Foucault; Vygotsky; Discursive formation