This chapter discusses identity as a foundational research area in applied linguistics and examines various methodologies that foreground the role of language in the construction and negotiation of identities. Given the breadth and complexity of this topic, this chapter focuses on a select range of issues and is organized in four parts. First, it discusses the theorization of identity and important corollary constructs such as indexicality, positionality, and intersectionality. Second, it discusses how methodologies such as case study, narrative inquiry, conversational analysis, and critical discourse analysis use language to examine identity. It also discusses the challenges identity research needs to address as digital innovations shape the way identities are imagined and constructed. Lastly, the chapter forecasts new directions in identity research, particularly in the evolution of an ethnography of the internet. By discussing these different areas, this chapter provides a conceptual and methodological foundation for scholars to pursue identity studies and demonstrates how identity is and will continue to be a rich and productive research area in applied linguistics.


Identity Case study Critical discourse analysis Conversational analysis Narrative inquiry 


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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Language & Literacy Education DepartmentUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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