Conceptualizing ‘Teacher Identity’: A Political Approach

  • Michalinos ZembylasEmail author
  • Sharon Chubbuck


The aim of this chapter is to provide a conceptualization of teacher identity that acknowledges the intersection of identity and politics and the consequences of this acknowledgment in theorizing teacher identity as being politicized, discontinuous, and shifting. We present a review of scholarship focusing on teacher identity, highlighting four aspects that seem important in the process of teacher identity formation: emotion aspects; narrative and discourse aspects; reflection aspects; and agency/structure aspects. We then propose an understanding of teacher identity that recognizes the intersection of identity and politics, suggesting that (a) it promotes a more holistic understanding of teacher identity that does not ignore the influence of power relations and politics in teacher identity formation; and (b) it recognizes the prospects of developing a critical and transformative orientation towards the conceptualization of teacher identity. Finally, we suggest how future research and practice can benefit from acknowledging the intersection of identity and politics and their influence on the development of professional identities in teaching.


Teacher identity Political approach Emotion Poststructuralism Discourse Narrative Reflection Agency Structure Foucault Butler Dialogical 


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Program of Educational StudiesOpen University of CyprusLatsiaCyprus
  2. 2.Department of Educational Policy and LeadershipMarquette UniversityMilwaukeeUSA

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