Writing centres as dialogic spaces: Negotiating conflicting discourses around citation and plagiarism

Keywords: citation, plagiarism, power, space, writing centres


Citation is fundamental in successfully constructing academic discourse. There has been much discussion concerning the considerable difficulties tertiary students experience when writing using sources, especially for those who speak English as an Additional Language. This paper interrogates the predominantly negative discourses that surround plagiarism, involving notions of honesty, integrity, punishment, trust, and deceit. These negative discourses tend to perpetuate hierarchical and impenetrable spaces in higher education. Drawing on our experiences in South African writing centres, and using key concepts from academic literacies, this paper explores ways of addressing plagiarism that can serve to empower students, including developing academic voice through citation, acknowledging “mimicry” as part of writing development, and developing critical thinking.
Theme 1: The writing centre, space, and place