Studying Identity Construction within Social Worlds Introduction: CI8470 Rick Beach Journal assignments = project Journal assignments: analysis of own or another’s identity construction Language use, narratives, genres Cultural models, discourses Operating in worlds, spaces, events Comparison of own vs. other’s identities Final project: combine assignments to create a case-study report of yourself and another person Comparison: understanding oneself in contrast to the other Different theories of identity Modernist: consistent “individual self” Psychological: behavioral or cognitive processes: “in the mind” Postmodern: rejects notion of individual Socio-cultural: different versions of self Adopt totally different identities Identities: retain similar stances (Moje) “Realist”/post-positivist (Moya/Alcoff: Latino feminists) Need for ethical/progressive action Socio-cultural learning theory Learning through participation in activity systems or “figured worlds” (Holland & Eisenhart) Figured world of romance Learning language, practices, roles related to engaging in romance Categories of males and females Socialization by veterans Focus on romance versus academic pursuits Bettie: Identity as performances in worlds Performance as display of “habitus” Dispositions/practices: cultural capital “Passing” as middle/working class Working class students resist bureaucratic/language/dress/space Chicas tracked into business classes Gender performance through “style” Middle-class Cholas performances Social Worlds as Multiple Activity Systems Systems--schools, workplace, family, etc., driven by larger objects or outcomes School: enhanced students’ literacy Workplace: higher profits Students coping with contradictions within and between systems Competing objects/outcomes of different systems Learning involves learning to understand and reflect on differences between these systems Identity construction as mediated by tools Cultural models “Successful players/teams/coaches” Discourses: ways of knowing/thinking “competition,” “team-unity,” “boosterism” “winning at all costs,” “masculinity,” “femininity” Genres “the ‘it’s not me, but the team” explanations” Narratives: recounting of games related to constructing identity as “star,” “washed-up player,” “sore loser,” “unsung hero” Discourses: ways of knowing and thinking “Identity tool-kit” (Gee) Discourses of the law, religion, science, business, education, race, class, gender, etc. Example: “color-blind racism” shaping notions of racial difference Example: business discourse of accountability/”bottom-line results” applied to education Identity and “habitus” “Habitus” (Bourdieu): dispositions “Embodied ideologies” (Scollon) Adopt social practices reflecting stance Physical performances/dress/demeanor Teacher positions students “Orienting discourses” (Rex) Being positioned as “college bound” (Rex) Social genres Systematic ways of interacting socially Job interviews, classroom discussions, sales transactions, assignments Defines practices and roles consistent with these genres Uptake: how others respond to the implied practices and roles Adoption or resistance depends on history of previous actions related to identities Narratives Use of narratives to perform identities Performing idealized versions of self Hero stories “saving” others Adopting voices reflecting different perspectives on self and other Moodle entry: class and identity construction I am the third of four children. My parents had raised us to be partakers of chores around the house in a way that was fun and not tedious. I had always approached tasks and engaged in informal labor with enthusiasm. When I was about 7 years old, I came into a sudden realization of my working-class background that complexified my existing social world. Class and identity construction I was at the local park with my parents and my siblings. Typically my parents would always phrase our chores as mini competitions between my siblings. A day at the park always consisted of playing and then my parents would send us off "to rescue the environment from the evils of trash." They would give each of us a plastic bag and tell us that whoever collected more aluminum cans and plastic bottles would get a surprise. So off we went with our bags and charged with a smile. Class and identity construction I remember being happy knowing that if I found the most cans and battles, not only would I win the surprise but I would be helping out my parents to make some additional money. I saw some kids from my school and continued to go about my business. The kids came over and very loudly said that I was poor. They laughed and ridiculed me. For the first time in my life I had been called poor to my face. Yes, I was aware that we were poor. My surroundings and lack of resources were clear marks of poverty. However, being poor was never a deficit for happiness. We always had food on the table (basic staples mostly and rarely meat) and a place to call home. My dad have built our housing unit with his own hands and we had all helped. I used to work in the factories as a child, sweeping, and cutting loose threads off garments. Class and identity construction Being called poor have been accompanied with such negativity and inferiority. I initially felt shame. My social world have been subverted and redefined by outsiders. I realized that being working class carried a negative stigma. I constantly felt the need to defend the all too common blame associated with people living in poverty. That moment as a child really shaped my place in the social world. I learned to not mind the comments and jeers of my peers because they did not inhabit MY social world in relation to my family Uses of mapping in studying identity construction Visually portray performances according to three units of analysis: Events | Spaces | Social worlds/systems Use maps to prompt interview reflections “Pointing” prompts: talk about maps Event as unit of analysis: People act and react to current and future acts to create an event or context Utterances have consequences Uptake of speech acts or lack of action Events have boundaries People “in” the event People “outside” the event but still influencing the event “the elephant in the room” Social Languages: Positioning: Power Use of social language: positioning of self and others Formal vs. informal style “Hey, what’s happening?” “I need a report on all activities by tomorrow” Texts: invites/positions readers Positions in terms of class, race, or gender stances and practices Map: Event Recall an event in which you adopted or performed a certain social identity An event that was a bit unfamiliar, unusual, or novel a job interview; starting up as a member of a new group, organization, or class establishing a new relationship with someone Create map: Event Describe event in circle on the bottom of the handout page In satellite circles: Insert traits, beliefs, and goals related to the event Other people in the event Space as unit of analysis Spaces as gendered, raced, or classed Gendered worlds as mediated by language use Thorne: children on playground space: practices not necessarily gendered Teacher: tells children to group up by “boys” and “girls” Playground space becomes gendered as a binary space Space as unit of analysis Footing/positioning in classroom spaces “Back” versus “front” of the classroom College dorm bedroom spaces (McRobbie; Lincoln) “Doing college work” “Fashion/beauty/pre-going out” “Sleeping zone/post-going out” Public vs. private spaces Personal relationships in public Adopt “normal appearances” or “civic inattention” (Goffman) “Remedial work”: repair fractures Social: creating social ties/networks “Face-time” in college rec center Need for “civic inattention” Virtual space: MySpace.com Private display in a public space Space related to time Meanings of events: time of event “nighttime,” “playtime,” “work-time,” “break-time,” “naptime,” “quality-time” Time and place/space “time-out,” “time-on-task,” “completes work on time,” “never on time” Map: space(s) related to your event In middle circle(s), identify space(s) Classrooms, meeting room: business, home, coffee shop, online site, etc. In satellite circles, describe the norms and discourse operating in this space(s) Draw lines from these norms/discourses to aspects of event Social Worlds/Institutional Systems Social worlds/activity systems/institutions schooling, workplace/economic, family, health care, justice, government/political, media, etc., Driven by larger objects or outcomes School: enhanced students’ literacy Workplace: higher profits Membership in worlds: Outsider versus Insider status Participation and trajectories in “community of practice” Peripheral, Inbound, Insider, Boundary, Outbound (Wenger) Socialization by veterans into world Figured world of romance: sorority sisters AA: veteran members: narratives Mapping social worlds/systems In circles at top of page: identify social worlds shaping the spaces/event: “family,” “school,” “workplace,” “peer,” “community,” “virtual,” etc. Overlap: congruent relationships No overlap: distinct worlds Draw lines from worlds to related aspects of spaces and events Reflection/interview questions What practices did you adopt in the event? How were those practices shaped by spaces and social worlds/systems? How are your identities constituted by discourses/cultural models? Where in these spaces/worlds would you most versus least like to be?