DOI: 10.1177/1461445605054407 ISSN:

Identity and interaction: a sociocultural linguistic approach

Mary Bucholtz, Kira Hall
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Anthropology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication
  • Social Psychology

The article proposes a framework for the analysis of identity as produced in linguistic interaction, based on the following principles: (1) identity is the product rather than the source of linguistic and other semiotic practices and therefore is a social and cultural rather than primarily internal psychological phenomenon; (2) identities encompass macro-level demographic categories, temporary and interactionally specific stances and participant roles, and local, ethnographically emergent cultural positions; (3) identities may be linguistically indexed through labels, implicatures, stances, styles, or linguistic structures and systems; (4) identities are relationally constructed through several, often overlapping, aspects of the relationship between self and other, including similarity/difference, genuineness/artifice and authority/ delegitimacy; and (5) identity may be in part intentional, in part habitual and less than fully conscious, in part an outcome of interactional negotiation, in part a construct of others’ perceptions and representations, and in part an outcome of larger ideological processes and structures. The principles are illustrated through examination of a variety of linguistic interactions.

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