Language, Class, and Identity: Teenagers Fashioning Themselves Through Language

James Gee, Anna Ruth Allen, Katherine Clinton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

50 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This article uses discourse analysis to study how teenagers from different social classes in the United States use language to fashion themselves as different "kinds of people." Our analyses lead us to the following conclusions: The working class teens (in these interviews) use language to fashion their identities in a way that is closely attached to a world of social and dialogic interaction. The upper middle class teens (in these interviews) use language to construct their identities in a way that detaches itself from "everyday" social interaction and orients more towards their personal biographical trajectories through an "achievement space" defined by the (deeply aligned) norms of their families, schools, and powerful institutions in our society. In addition, the upper middle class teens use the abstract language of rational argumentation to "cloak" (of "defer") their quite personal interests and fears, while the working class teens use a personalized narrative (i.e., story-based) language to encode their values, interests, and themes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)175-194
Number of pages20
JournalLinguistics and Education
Volume12
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2001
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

language
interview
working class
middle class
interaction
argumentation
discourse analysis
social class
Language
Language Classes
Teenagers
anxiety
narrative
Language Use
school
Values
Working Class
Middle Class
Interaction
Discourse Analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language

Cite this

Language, Class, and Identity : Teenagers Fashioning Themselves Through Language. / Gee, James; Allen, Anna Ruth; Clinton, Katherine.

In: Linguistics and Education, Vol. 12, No. 2, 06.2001, p. 175-194.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Gee, James ; Allen, Anna Ruth ; Clinton, Katherine. / Language, Class, and Identity : Teenagers Fashioning Themselves Through Language. In: Linguistics and Education. 2001 ; Vol. 12, No. 2. pp. 175-194.
@article{372fae22083f4099b12030123cc2bf21,
title = "Language, Class, and Identity: Teenagers Fashioning Themselves Through Language",
abstract = "This article uses discourse analysis to study how teenagers from different social classes in the United States use language to fashion themselves as different {"}kinds of people.{"} Our analyses lead us to the following conclusions: The working class teens (in these interviews) use language to fashion their identities in a way that is closely attached to a world of social and dialogic interaction. The upper middle class teens (in these interviews) use language to construct their identities in a way that detaches itself from {"}everyday{"} social interaction and orients more towards their personal biographical trajectories through an {"}achievement space{"} defined by the (deeply aligned) norms of their families, schools, and powerful institutions in our society. In addition, the upper middle class teens use the abstract language of rational argumentation to {"}cloak{"} (of {"}defer{"}) their quite personal interests and fears, while the working class teens use a personalized narrative (i.e., story-based) language to encode their values, interests, and themes.",
author = "James Gee and Allen, {Anna Ruth} and Katherine Clinton",
year = "2001",
month = "6",
doi = "10.1016/S0898-5898(00)00045-0",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "12",
pages = "175--194",
journal = "Linguistics and Education",
issn = "0898-5898",
publisher = "Elsevier Limited",
number = "2",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Language, Class, and Identity

T2 - Teenagers Fashioning Themselves Through Language

AU - Gee, James

AU - Allen, Anna Ruth

AU - Clinton, Katherine

PY - 2001/6

Y1 - 2001/6

N2 - This article uses discourse analysis to study how teenagers from different social classes in the United States use language to fashion themselves as different "kinds of people." Our analyses lead us to the following conclusions: The working class teens (in these interviews) use language to fashion their identities in a way that is closely attached to a world of social and dialogic interaction. The upper middle class teens (in these interviews) use language to construct their identities in a way that detaches itself from "everyday" social interaction and orients more towards their personal biographical trajectories through an "achievement space" defined by the (deeply aligned) norms of their families, schools, and powerful institutions in our society. In addition, the upper middle class teens use the abstract language of rational argumentation to "cloak" (of "defer") their quite personal interests and fears, while the working class teens use a personalized narrative (i.e., story-based) language to encode their values, interests, and themes.

AB - This article uses discourse analysis to study how teenagers from different social classes in the United States use language to fashion themselves as different "kinds of people." Our analyses lead us to the following conclusions: The working class teens (in these interviews) use language to fashion their identities in a way that is closely attached to a world of social and dialogic interaction. The upper middle class teens (in these interviews) use language to construct their identities in a way that detaches itself from "everyday" social interaction and orients more towards their personal biographical trajectories through an "achievement space" defined by the (deeply aligned) norms of their families, schools, and powerful institutions in our society. In addition, the upper middle class teens use the abstract language of rational argumentation to "cloak" (of "defer") their quite personal interests and fears, while the working class teens use a personalized narrative (i.e., story-based) language to encode their values, interests, and themes.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=0345876785&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=0345876785&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/S0898-5898(00)00045-0

DO - 10.1016/S0898-5898(00)00045-0

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:0345876785

VL - 12

SP - 175

EP - 194

JO - Linguistics and Education

JF - Linguistics and Education

SN - 0898-5898

IS - 2

ER -