Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 9

identity construction Related Abstracts

9 Exploring Identity of Female British Pakistani Student with Shifting and Re-shifting of Cultures

Authors: Haleema Sadia


The study is aimed at exploring the identity construction of female British born Pakistani postgraduate student who shifted to Pakistan at the age of 12, stayed there for 8 years and re-shifted to UK for Higher Education. Research questions are: 1. What is the academic and socio-cultural background of the participant prior to joining the UoM as a postgrad student? 2. How the participant talk, see herself and act in relation to cultural and social norms and practices? Participant’ identity is explored through positioning theory of Holland et al. (1998), referring to the ways people understand and enact their social positions in the figured world. The research is a case study based on narrative interview of Shabana, a British-born Pakistani female postgraduate student, who has recently joined the university of Manchester. Shabana received her primary education in UK during the first twelve years of her life. She is the youngest among the three sisters, with only one brother younger to her. Her father, although not well educated is a successful entrepreneur, maintaining offices in UK and Pakistan. Her mother is a housewife with no formal education. Shabana’s elder sister got involved in a relationship with a Pakistani boy against cultural norms of arranged marriage. Resultantly the three sisters were shifted to Pakistan to be equated with socio-religious norms. Shabana termed her first year in Pakistan as disgusting and she hated her father for the decision. However after a year’s time and shifting from an orthodox city to the provincial capital Lahore, she developed liking for the Pakistani culture. She gradually developed a new socio-religious identity during her stay, which she expressed as a turning point in her life. After completing O level Shabana returned back to UK and joined the University of Hull as undergraduate Student. At Hull she remained isolated, missed the religious environment and relished the memories of Lahore. She would visit Pakistan almost three times a year. After obtaining her BSc degree from Hull she went back to Pakistan. Soon after she decided to improve her academic qualification. She came to UK to join her parents and got admission in the MSc chemistry program at UoM. Presently Shabana talks about the dominant role of male members in the family culture in decision-making. She strongly feels to struggle hard and attain equal status with males in education, employment, earning, authority and freedom. She sees herself in a position to share the authority with her (would be) husband in important family and other matters. Shabana has developed a new identity of a mix of both Pakistani and UK culture. She is appreciative of the socio-cultural values of UK while still regarding the cultural and religious values of Pakistan in high esteem.

Keywords: postgraduate students, identity construction, cultural shifts, female british pakistani student

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8 Anti-Intellectualism in Populist Discourse and Its Role in Identity Construction: A Comparative Study between the United States of America and France

Authors: Iuliana-Erika Köpeczi


‘Language is no longer regarded as peripheral to our grasp of the world we live in, but as central to it. Words are not mere vocal labels or communicational adjuncts superimposed upon an already given order of things. They are collective products of social interaction, essential instruments through which human beings constitute and articulate their world’, said Roy Harris. If we were to accept the above-mentioned premise, then we surely must accept that discourse, generally, - and political discourse, specifically -, bears a crucial importance to one’s perception of reality. The way in which political rhetoric constructs reality changes the relationship between the voter and his/her view of the world, which, in turn, influences greatly the future trends of political participation. In this context, our inquiry focuses on the role of populist discourses in the post 9/11 political rhetoric, and how this led to the formation, construction and reconstruction of identity within the ‘us’ vs. ‘them’ dichotomy. It is our hypothesis that anti-intellectualistic elements played a significant role in the manner in which identity construction had been carried out on a discursive level. By adopting a comparative approach, we intend to identify the similarities and differences between the use of such anti-intellectualist elements in the United States of America on one hand – within the discourse of Rick Santorum, – and France on the other – with Marine le Pen’s discourse. Our methodological approach uses close textual analysis of primary source material (discourse analysis); historical contextualization of both primary documents and broader socio-political and cultural framework through archival research and secondary sources; as well as interpretation of primary texts through theoretical frameworks (qualitative research). We hope that the output of our endeavor will be useful in better understanding the different correlations that exist between anti-intellectualism and populism and how the interactions between these two elements aids in political identity construction through discourse.

Keywords: Populism, France, identity construction, anti-intellectualism, discourse theory, United States of America

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7 Rethinking Gender Roles within the Family: Single Fathers and the Domestic Sphere

Authors: Mohamad Chour


Nowadays, a record number of households are headed by single fathers in most of the European societies. Our research aims to explore how French single fathers experience the domestic sphere, a traditionally feminized field while accomplishing their role of fathers. We adopt a gender role and a parenting role construction theoretical perspectives. Indeed, the interior domestic sphere has been traditionally considered as related to the role of the mother. Moreover, according to the masculine domination theory of Bourdieu, men avoid caregiving and domestic practices that are economically and culturally undervalued. Hence, mothers are considered as more likely to handle the expressive dimension of duties whereas fathers’ role is represented as instrumental, functional and independent. Long interviews have been conducted with twenty French single fathers in order to investigate how the absence of the mother affects the practices of fatherhood. We combined the long interviews with projective techniques method in order to better understand their conception of the family and their family values. Seeking a qualitative diversity, our respondents are from various ages (between 30 and 60); they are coming from different regions in France; living in rural, semi-rural and urban areas. Based on the analysis of 427 pages of data, we identify three main categories of single fathers depending on their strategies to copy and/or delegate the role of the mother. 1) Nurturing fathers completely assume the role of the absent mother as well as her functions. Their discourse is characterized by abnegation and sacrifices reflecting a nurturing role. 2) Juggling fathers are those who take charge of a part of the household duties and delegate the other part to the market or to 'feminine resources' for lacking skills or time. 3) Resistant fathers are the very few respondents who refuse to assume any activities related to the domestic sphere that they perceive as feminine. For lacking competences and even for ideological reasons, they have tendency to delegate all the tasks that were assumed by their ex-spouses. Generally, the majority of fathers seem to experience the domestic sphere differently, and their domestic involvement has been underestimated and even misunderstood. Household duties such as cooking and housekeeping in addition to the nurturing role are experienced by many of the respondents as constructing elements of their fatherhood. Our respondents do not seem to accomplish house holding duties in a functional way. The domestic sphere is managed by those fathers with a strong dimension of abnegation. Thus, our research contributes to illustrating the evolution of gender roles and shows how being simultaneously 'a father and a mother' seems to be an emerging social norm in a French and European cultural context.

Keywords: Gender studies, Gender Roles, identity construction, fathering, single fathers

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6 Regional Identity Construction of Acehnese English Teachers in Professional Practice

Authors: Ugahara Bin Mahyuddin Yunus


In English Language Teaching, it cannot be denied that the backgrounds of English teachers do affect the way they teach English to their students, which in turn will affect their students’ English learning itself. Thus, it is very important to understand who the English teachers are so that how they teach English to their students can be understood. One of their backgrounds that is essential to be highlighted is their culture. Certainly, they wittingly or not will bring the perspectives and values of their culture into their daily teaching practices. In other words, their cultural identities do shape how they teach their students. Cultural identities themselves actually consist of some elements, one of which is regional identity. Indeed, the culture of the region in which English teachers identify with has impact on their beliefs and actions during teaching. For this reason, this study aims to understand how the regional identity of English teachers influence the way they teach English to their students. This study is a qualitative study conducted in a multilingual and multicultural setting, namely Aceh, Indonesia. Here, four Acehnese English teachers were involved as the research participants. In addition, this study adopted poststructuralist perspective to identity as the theoretical framework. Three research instruments were used in this study, namely semi-structured interviews, classroom observation, and teacher journal. The data gained from these instruments were then analyzed by using thematic analysis. Obviously, the research about the regional identity of English teachers in English Language Teaching has been studied worldwide. However, little is still known about it in Indonesian context, let alone Indonesia itself is a super diverse country with 34 regions. As a result, this study presents a good opportunity to advance the knowledge of how the regional identity construction of English teachers in this setting is. The findings of the study revealed that their regional identity construction in teaching was highly influenced by their indigenous language and religious faith. Even, how they teach English in classroom, in fact, is related to these two things. The conclusion that can be drawn from this study is for these English teachers, in fact, their regional identity itself constitutes their use of local language and religious identity, which are considered by them as their core identity.

Keywords: English Language Teaching, identity construction, regional identity, English teachers

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5 Socioeconomic Status and Gender Influence on Linguistic Change: A Case Study on Language Competence and Confidence of Multilingual Minority Language Speakers

Authors: Stefanie Siebenhütter


Male and female speakers use language differently and with varying confidence levels. This paper contrasts gendered differences in language use with socioeconomic status and age factors. It specifically examines how Kui minority language use and competence are conditioned by the variable of gender and discusses potential reasons for this variation by examining gendered language awareness and sociolinguistic attitudes. Moreover, it discusses whether women in Kui society function as 'leaders of linguistic change', as represented in Labov’s sociolinguistic model. It discusses whether societal role expectations in collectivistic cultures influence the model of linguistic change. The findings reveal current Kui speaking preferences and give predictions on the prospective language use, which is a stable situation of multilingualism because the current Kui speakers will socialize and teach the prospective Kui speakers in the near future. It further confirms that Lao is losing importance in Kui speaker’s (female’s) daily life.

Keywords: Social Networks, Gender, language change, Sociolinguistics, Multilingualism, Minority Language, identity construction

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4 Multiple Identity Construction among Multilingual Minorities: A Quantitative Sociolinguistic Case Study

Authors: Stefanie Siebenhütter


This paper aims to reveal criterions involved in the process of identity-forming among multilingual minority language speakers in Northeastern Thailand and in the capital Bangkok. Using sociolinguistic interviews and questionnaires, it is asked which factors are important for speakers and how they define their identity by their interactions socially as well as linguistically. One key question to answer is how sociolinguistic factors may force or diminish the process of forming social identity of multilingual minority speakers. However, the motivation for specific language use is rarely overt to the speaker’s themselves as well as to others. Therefore, identifying the intentions included in the process of identity construction is to approach by scrutinizing speaker’s behavior and attitudes. Combining methods used in sociolinguistics and social psychology allows uncovering the tools for identity construction that ethnic Kui uses to range themselves within a multilingual setting. By giving an overview of minority speaker’s language use in context of the specific border near multilingual situation and asking how speakers construe identity within this spatial context, the results exhibit some of the subtle and mostly unconscious criterions involved in the ongoing process of identity construction.

Keywords: Social Networks, Multilingualism, Social identity, Minority Language, identity construction, social boundaries

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3 Multilingual Females and Linguistic Change: A Quantitative and Qualitative Sociolinguistic Case Study of Minority Speaker in Southeast Asia

Authors: Stefanie Siebenhütter


Men and women use minority and majority languages differently and with varying confidence levels. This paper contrasts gendered differences in language use with socioeconomic status and age factors of minority language speakers in Southeast Asia. Language use and competence are conditioned by the variable of gender. Potential reasons for this variation by examining gendered language awareness and sociolinguistic attitudes will be given. Moreover, it is analyzed whether women in multilingual minority speakers’ society function as 'leaders of linguistic change', as represented in Labov’s sociolinguistic model. It is asked whether the societal role expectations in collectivistic cultures influence the model of linguistic change. The findings reveal speaking preferences and suggest predictions on the prospective language use, which is a stable situation of multilingualism. The study further exhibits differences between male and females identity-forming processes and shows why females are the leaders of (socio-) linguistic change.

Keywords: Social Networks, Gender, Linguistic Change, identity construction, multilingual minorities

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2 Teacher’s Role in the Process of Identity Construction in Language Learners

Authors: Gaston Bacquet


The purpose of this research is to explore how language and culture shape a learner’s identity as they immerse themselves in the world of second language learning and how teachers can assist in the process of identity construction within a classroom setting. The study will be conducted as an in-classroom ethnography, using a qualitative methods approach and analyzing students’ experiences as language learners, their degree of investment, inclusion/exclusion, and attitudes, both towards themselves and their social context; the research question the study will attempt to answer is: What kind of pedagogical interventions are needed to help language learners in the process of identity construction so they can offset unequal conditions of power and gain further social inclusion? The following methods will be used for data collection: i) Questionnaires to investigate learners’ attitudes and feelings in different areas divided into four strands: themselves, their classroom, learning English and their social context. ii) Participant observations, conducted in a naturalistic manner. iii) Journals, which will be used in two different ways: on the one hand, learners will keep semi-structured, solicited diaries to record specific events as requested by the researcher (event-contingent). On the other, the researcher will keep his journal to maintain a record of events and situations as they happen to reduce the risk of inaccuracies. iv) Person-centered interviews, which will be conducted at the end of the study to unearth data that might have been occluded or be unclear from the methods above. The interviews will aim at gaining further data on experiences, behaviors, values, opinions, feelings, knowledge and sensory, background and demographic information. This research seeks to understand issues of socio-cultural identities and thus make a significant contribution to knowledge in this area by investigating the type of pedagogical interventions needed to assist language learners in the process of identity construction to achieve further social inclusion. It will also have applied relevance for those working with diverse student groups, especially taking our present social context into consideration: we live in a highly mobile world, with migrants relocating to wealthier, more developed countries that pose their own particular set of challenges for these communities. This point is relevant because an individual’s insight and understanding of their own identity shape their relationship with the world and their ability to continue constructing this relationship. At the same time, because a relationship is influenced by power, the goal of this study is to help learners feel and become more empowered by increasing their linguistic capital, which we hope might result in a greater ability to integrate themselves socially. Exactly how this help will be provided will vary as data is unearthed through questionnaires, focus groups and the actual participant observations being carried out.

Keywords: Investment, Social Inclusion, identity construction, second-language learning, second-language culture

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1 The Influence of English Learning on Ethnic Kazakh Minority Students’ Identity (Re)Construction at Chinese Universities

Authors: Sharapat Sharapat


English language is perceived as cultural capital in many non-native English-speaking countries, and minority groups in these social contexts seem to invest in the language to be empowered and reposition themselves from the imbalanced power relation with the dominant group. This study is devoted to explore how English learning influence minority Kazakh students’ identity (re)construction at Chinese universities from the scope of ‘imagined community, investment, and identity’ theory of Norton (2013). To this end the three research questions were designed as follows: 1) Kazakh minority students’ English learning experiences at Chinese universities; 2) Kazakh minority students’ views about benefits and opportunities of English learning; 3) the influence of English learning on Kazakh minority students’ identity (re)construction. The study employs an interview-based qualitative research method by interviewing nine Kazakh minority students in universities in Xinjiang and other inland cities in China. The findings suggest that through English learning, some students have reconstructed multiple identities as multicultural and global identities, which created ‘a third space’ to break limits of their ethnic and national identities and confused identity as someone in-between. Meanwhile, most minority students were empowered by the English language to resist inferior or marginalized positions and reconstruct imagined elite identity. However, English learning disempowered students who have little previous English education in school and placed them on unequal footing with other students, which further escalated the educational inequities.

Keywords: multilingual education, identity construction, minority in China, language empowerment

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