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Exploring Discursive Interaction, Habitus, and Dynamic Co-emergence Among an Agency Leader and Congressional Oversight Committee: A Case Study of Languaging in Practice Open Access

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Abstract of the DissertationExploring Discursive Interaction, Habitus, and Dynamic Co-emergence Among an Agency Leader and Congressional Oversight Committee: A Case Study of Languaging in PracticeThis dissertation case study explored how habitus moderates change. The study specifically examined the dynamic, interactive process of languaging through a time series of archival discourse artifacts. The study population was an appointed U.S. federal government agency head and the agency's Senate oversight committee.The study used Bourdieu's construct of habitus as a basis for examining discursive interaction to identify any indications of dynamic coemergence. Transcripts of Senate Judiciary Committee meetings were obtained from the Congressional Research Service and triangulated with video recordings of the events and interviews of subject matter experts. Media accounts and prepared testimony provided additional archival materials. The significance of this study is fourfold. First, it integrates and synthesizes insights from three largely parallel streams of scholarly literature to explore the nature of change. Those three streams of scholarship are complex adaptive systems, the biological basis of cognition in languaging, and sociology's habitus. Second, it extends the utility of Bourdieu's construct of habitus. Third, it applies Bourdieu's construct of habitus in a governmental setting and thus adds to the scholarly record of research situated in public and nonprofit organizations. Fourth, the study enriches complex adaptive systems theory with insights from practice.

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