Luciana Benincasa, Scenario key and anti-scenario "Attempt" and "ease" in students with reason for copying in exams, Έρευνα στην Εκπαίδευση, 4|2015,

The present study belongs to the small, though growing, qualitative tradition of research about undergraduate cheating. It maps the discourse of “toil” and “effort” in Greek students’ account of cheating at the examinations. Data derives from 17 semi-structured interviews with male and female students from a university in a small Greek town. The study adopts a social-constructionist approach, which views speech as a form of social activity. Data analysis and interpretation are carried out from a cultural perspective, based in symbolic anthropology and in particular in Sherry Ortner’s notion of “key scenario”. Among the most central symbols in a culture, “key-scenarios” condense culturally important goals and suggest the (culturally legitimate) strategies for their achievement. The students’ discourse features two main “scenarios”. One of them extols the value of achieving a degree through study and personal effort. The other scenario views graduation as a goal that may reasonably be achieved by cheating, in an effortless way. The two scenarios intertwine, both in the body of data as a whole and in the speech of one and the same participant, in a way that can be defined as contradictory from the point of view of formal logic. After analyzing and comparing selected extracts from the data, conclusions are drawn about the way social actors use apparently contradictory bits of cultural knowledge.

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