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    Language and identity: past concerns, future directions

    McEntee-Atalianis, Lisa (2022) Language and identity: past concerns, future directions. Sociolinguistica 36 (1-2), pp. 137-150. ISSN 1865-939X.

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    “Identity” as an operating variable and/or explanatory concept continues to pervade sociolinguistic scholarship. This article reflects on and discusses the continuing dominance of post-structural and social constructionist accounts of identity and debates whether recent work has led to an “unrestrained embracing of speaker agency” (Bell 2017: 592) with a comparative neglect of social structure, or whether this work is contributing to a more nuanced understanding of the relationship between local meaning-making practices and macro-socio(linguistic) processes, and thereby challenging extant binaries in sociolinguistics, in particular: the treatment of stability versus fluidity, agency versus structure and the traditional dichotomy between micro- and macro-sociolinguistics. Reflecting on historical developments and recent trends, it outlines the significant contribution of theoretical models and empirical studies to sociolinguistics, whilst noting obvious gaps, e.g. insufficient studies of the Global South. It is argued that recent work is contributing to a sociolinguistics which foregrounds and problematises the concept of “context” and the contingency of difference and belonging. The paper also argues that recent identity scholarship opens up opportunities for cross-disciplinary projects, drawing on the combined expertise of sociolinguistics, cognitive sociologists and psycholinguists to explain inter alia such phenomena as fluidity and variation in speaker/community attitudes and practices.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): identity, agency versus structure, micro versus macro-sociolinguistics, post-structuralism
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Creative Arts, Culture and Communication
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 05 Apr 2022 13:56
    Last Modified: 08 Dec 2023 01:10


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