Starting this PhD did not really give me a sense of definiteness to what I know. Instead, it has coerced me into expanding my limits - which at times can be very uncomfortable. Pennycook's first chapter in Critical Applied Linguistics: A Critical Introduction, pushed me even more, probably over the edge. I can't imagine what the other chapters would do to me.
Back to pushing my boundaries and making me cringe - in many of the discussions here at KMUTT, we try to be sensible by looking concepts along a continuum with two polar ends. Hence, we have things like the big D and the small d in discourse studies (Gee), or the emic or etic perspectives in a research, to name a few. Pennycook brought to my attention another new concept which he argues (and I believe) could be laid out along a continuum - APPLIED LINGUISTICS.
I always thought AL is just AL, nothing more, nothing less. To me AL was just a static, unmovable, superordinate term which reigned over all possible subordinate topics which my fall under. Pennycook said, "No! no! no!" to me. He says that even AL has a strong version and a weak version (based on previous works by Markee), the weak one is the "application of a parent domain of knowledge (linguistics) to different contexts (mainly language teaching)" whereas the strong one is known as "critical applied linguistics" which is defined by its "breadth of coverage, interdisciplinarity, and a degree of autonomy" (p. 3).
I never knew. What does it mean to be on the weak side? What does it mean to be on the strong side?