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Identity

PAD members research identity in different professional and everyday contexts and from diverse methodological perspectives. We understand and theorize identity as, not exclusively but largely, interactionally constructed and negotiated. Instead of seeing identity as something people ‘have’ or ‘are’, PAD members are interested in the ways in which we ‘do’ identity in interaction. This approach, in line with current thinking in applied/socio linguistic and sociological research, marks a shift from traditional essentialist positions and focuses on the processes by which identity is constructed in discourse. Social categories are not seen as top down rigid structures that are super imposed on the individual but are enacted in different social contexts and activities. Our work includes research on professional and social identities, leadership and identity as well as on the notion of ‘self’ and ‘other’.

More specifically we have addressed issues in the following areas:

  • The dynamic relationship between role and identity in various academic health care and corporate contexts;
  • The interface between culture, language and identity;
  • The enactment of gender and age identities in corporate and institutional contexts;
  • The relationship between professional/self identities in professional contexts;
  • The construction of identity in written academic texts.

Some examples of our work include the following projects:

  • Jo Angouri with colleagues from the New Zealand Language in the Workplace Project (LWP) is engaged in ongoing comparative research of meeting talk in different professional contexts. This work has shown interesting similarities in the way professional identities are negotiated and challenged in the meeting event in different professional settings in Europe and New Zealand.
  • Jo Angouri has completed a pilot project on age identity in the workplace. This project involved longitudinal ethnographic data from one small-medium enterprise. This work has shown that chronological age is one facet of the complex matrix of age identities the workplace participants negotiate in interaction. Expertise and the relationship between team members become resources the participants draw upon in claiming and projecting ‘age in their professional context.