Analysis Of Two Research Papers On Identity Construction

3380 words - 14 pages

There are two papers to be investigated in this essay which deals with the (re)construction of identities due to linguistic practices and spatial movements across boundaries. The first paper is a research done by De Fina (2013) who focused on the investigation of top-down and bottom-up strategies manifested in the construction of identities of participants taking part in an interaction. In her introduction, she highlighted that these identities are constantly negotiated when one interacts with one’s surroundings. It was pointed out that traditional forms and ideas on identity construction and analysis has undergone massive changes due to the pervasive nature of modern technology and ease of mobility which defies the rather stationary nature of human beings in the past. Needless to say, interactions that shape and frame identities now occur more constantly and are less predictable than it had been previously. In addition, De Fina differentiated between top-down and bottom-up strategies in identity construction. The former is performed by those who are observers of a particular interaction, or outsiders looking into a conversation while the latter is carried out by the participants in the interactions in question, or the interlocutors of a communicative act. The interactions investigated were extracted from ‘the Spanish radio station El Zol…broadcasting in the greater Washington-Baltimore area’ (De Fina, 2013, p. 556).
The literature review was divided into three sections namely ‘globalization, mobility and linguistics’, ‘identities and transnationalism’ and ‘the role of ethnic media in transnational identity’. In the first section, the focus was on the effect of globalisation and ease of mobility on the linguistic identities of the participants. Traditionally, an identity was linked to a certain manner of language usage and was a stable phenomenon that inherently belongs to specific people, of specific gender and social class, and from a specific place. These specificity inevitably categorize individuals into ‘speech communities’ (Gumperz, 1964) as analysts would be able to recognize linguistic traits and link them to the communities that practices such acts. Appadurai (1996) then highlighted the fact that the intense rate of globalization that is happening in our current society is inevitable and is a characteristic of our modern society that enables extensive exchanges of ‘econom[y] and interdependencies’ (Fairclough, 2006; Vortovec, 2009 cited in De Fina, 2013, p. 555). De Fina also cited the works of Heller (2003) and Vigoroux (2008) which highlighted the shifts in relationships between participants of interactions, and also the work of Androutsopoulos (2009) who further emphasized that the ‘change in communicative practices and manifestations of pop cultures’ (p. 555). This section of the literature review continued with the highlight of four issues that are being debated on, which includes the recognition of the expansion of diversity in...

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