Language, identity and interculturality - Identity: multiplicity and types

12 important questions on Language, identity and interculturality - Identity: multiplicity and types

What is identity according to Karen Tracy?

Stable features or persons that exist prior to any particular situation, and are dynamic and situated accomplishments enacted through talk, changing from one occasion to the next. Similarly, identities are social categories and are personal and unique.

What different types of identity exist?

  • Master, interactional, relational and personal identities
  • Discourse, situated and transportable identities
  • Imposed, assumed and negotiable identities

What are the three broad paradigms in theorisation of identities in scholar's quest?

  1. Identity as a project of the self
  2. Identity as a product of the social
  3. Identity as constituted in discourse
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What was identity historically regarded as?

As a project of the self and as something to do with the mind/body/soul/brain and therefore subjective, internal and unique.

What is the variationist sociolinguistic theory?

It explores the link between linguistic variables and social factors such as gender, age or social class.

What does the second paradigm emphasise?

The social and collective nature of identities as embodied in a range of social variables and group labels such as middle class, elderly, northerners.

Which two parallel lines of enquiry does the third paradigm have?

One focuses on the process of identification and treats identity as a discursive performance, constructed and negotiated through interactions. The other is to examine dominant discourse and ideology that impact and reproduce identity.

What are discourse identities?

Those that people assume and project in the various sequentially organised activities of talk. They can shift turn by turn. They change constantly.

What are transportable identities?

Latent identities that tag along with individuals as they move through their daily routines, and may or may not be relevant to interactions. Participants may be aware of these identities, but they may not orient to identities in interactions.

What does this classification differentiate?

It differentiates identities in terms of acceptance and negotiability.

What are imposed identities?

Those which one cannot contest or resist at a particular time and place.

What are negotiable identities?

Those contested by groups and individuals through their agency and choice.

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