Identity Construction

Taylor, Stephanie (2015). Identity Construction. In: Tracy, Karen ed. International Encyclopedia of Language and Social Interaction. Wiley-ICA International Encyclopedias of Communication. Hoboken New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc, pp. 1–9.




Theories of identity construction challenge conventional models of the person as a bounded or monadic individual with a fixed or essential identity, assuming instead a fragmented, incomplete social subject. Identities are presumed to be multiple, complex, and situated. All identities are social, including those personal identities which are experienced as unique (“who I am”). The construction of “other” identities is part of the processes through which social divisions and inequalities are established and reinforced. Analyses explore the processes through which identities are constructed, claimed, and performed, and also the intersection of conventional identity categories. Relevant methodological debates include the status of language data, as truth or interpretation, and the relationship of the researcher to participants and talk data, as observer or insider interpreter.

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