Positioning language and identity: poststructuralist perspectives

Judith Baxter*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Published conference outputChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Applied linguistics now offers a rich diversity of theoretical and analytical approaches to conceptualise the relationship between language and identity; one of the more recent of these can be loosely described as ‘poststructuralist’. While this is not easily defined, the poststructuralist approach offers a set of radical, pragmatic and transformative perspectives that challenge and/or supplement dominant paradigms such as ethnomethodology and critical linguistics. Poststructuralist perspectives contest the conventional dichotomies in applied linguistics between subject and object, discourse and materiality, structure and agency, conformity and resistance, power and apoliticism, and micro- and macro-analysis, proposing that such abstractions are always interdependent and mutually contesting. Thus, reciprocally, identities are constructed by and through language but they also produce and reproduce innovative forms of language.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of Language and Identity
EditorsSian Preece
Place of PublicationLondon (UK)
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-138-77472-8
Publication statusPublished - 29 Feb 2016

Publication series

NameRoutledge Handbooks in Applied Linguistics


  • poststructuralism
  • identity construction
  • power
  • discourses
  • subject positioning


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