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Learning Identity


  • Page extent: 316 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.47 kg
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 (ISBN-13: 9780521608336 | ISBN-10: 0521608333)

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$40.99 (P)

This book describes how social identification and academic learning can deeply depend on each other, through a theoretical account of the two processes and a detailed empirical analysis of how students' identities emerged and how students learned curriculum in one classroom. The book traces the identity development of two students across an academic year, showing how they developed unexpected identities in substantial part because curricular themes provided categories that teachers and students used to identify them and showing how students learned about curricular themes in part because the two students were socially identified in ways that illuminated those themes. The book's distinctive contribution is to demonstrate in detail how social identification and academic learning can become deeply interdependent.


1. Self/knowledge; 2. Social identification and local metapragmatic models; 3. Academic learning and local cognitive models; 4. Tyisha becoming an outcast; 5. Maurice in the middle; 6. Denaturalizing identity, learning and schooling; Appendices; References.


"Stanton Wortham has written a fascinating account of ... the realities of growing up in a heterogeneous society ... It deserves the attention of all who are involved with the education of adolescents and young adults"

--Contemporary Psychology

"This study offers rich empirical work and theoretical explanations to grasp the complexities involved in the interdependence of social identification and cognitive learning in schooling. Grounding his work in the analysis of language events in context, the author provides detailed clarifications for the interconnections of these activities and processes."

--Anthropology and Education Quarterly

"In a riveting study, Wortham demonstrates how social identification and academic learning are interrelated much more than we likely suspect, and certainly much more than we act upon on a daily basis...The import of this study to language education is significant...The book is appropriate for graduate courses in education, teacher education, and educational studies."

-Terry A. Osborn, Fordham University, Language Problems & Language Planning

"...This is an important and ambitious book, which should appeal to a wide range of readers interested in what goes on in classrooms and how to study them. It balances original theoretical explorations of identity and learning with rich ethnographic accounts of classroom activity (including numerous transcripts)...Learning Identity makes a significant contribution to the study of classroom interaction, both by putting the issue of the interrelationship of learning and identity - and, more generally, pedagogy and sociology - on the research agenda, and by providing a robust set of tools for its investigation."

--Adam Lefstein, Institute of education, University of London, Linguistics and Education

"...convincing and thought-provoking...Wortham is to be applauded for his detailed and engrossing response to key contemporary questions for educational researchers about how we can conceptualise the intertwining of cognitive and social dimensions within classroom learning, how we can document ongoing social processes and how we can link up micro- and macro-level analysis..."

--Janet Maybin, Open University, United Kingdom, Linguistics and Education

"...For those of us who have followed Stanton Wortham's work, the appearance of Learning Identity synthesizes and culminates a fruitful line of inquiry that began well over 10 years ago. The book shows a leading anthropologist at the top of his game, deeply knowledgeable about school-based language practices, passionate about challenging facile educational truisms, and determined to apply the tools of his trade to illuminating how social and academic processes are necessarily intertwined...impressively detailed analysis of language-in-use...Wortham has given us a book worthy of close study, again and again and again."

--Bradley Levinson, Indiana University, Linguistics and Education

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