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Identity and a Model of Investment in Applied Linguistics

  • Ron Darvin (a1) and Bonny Norton (a1)
Abstract

This article locates Norton's foundational work on identity and investment within the social turn of applied linguistics. It discusses its historical impetus and theoretical anchors, and it illustrates how these ideas have been taken up in recent scholarship. In response to the demands of the new world order, spurred by technology and characterized by mobility, it proposes a comprehensive model of investment, which occurs at the intersection of identity, ideology, and capital. The model recognizes that the spaces in which language acquisition and socialization take place have become increasingly deterritorialized and unbounded, and the systemic patterns of control more invisible. This calls for new questions, analyses, and theories of identity. The model addresses the needs of learners who navigate their way through online and offline contexts and perform identities that have become more fluid and complex. As such, it proposes a more comprehensive and critical examination of the relationship between identity, investment, and language learning. Drawing on two case studies of a female language learner in rural Uganda and a male language learner in urban Canada, the model illustrates how structure and agency, operating across time and space, can accord or refuse learners the power to speak.

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References
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This important book examines the impact of globalization on linguistic practices, as they are negotiated across boundaries and within different communities. The book demonstrates how people and languages are positioned with reference to different orders of indexicality that define norms of language use and social expectations. Drawing on case studies from diverse regions of the world, Blommaert provides a theoretically grounded and sophisticated analysis of how increased mobility has led to greater linguistic inequalities.

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This second edition of Norton's highly cited 2000 book reframes the constructs of identity and investment in light of the ways they have been taken up by diverse scholars in recent years. Integrating a more global perspective, which includes a discussion of identity and language teaching, it also explores how the transformation of the social world through the digital has spurred new, exciting scholarship on language and identity. The Afterword by Claire Kramsch offers an insightful analysis of Norton's key ideas.

Preece, S. (ed.). (forthcoming). Routledge handbook of language and identity. Oxon, UK: Routledge.

This timely handbook provides a comprehensive overview of contemporary research on language and identity in applied linguistics and language education. It offers a historical perspective of how the construct of identity has shifted over time, and the various theoretical perspectives that frame and enrich research on language and identity. Incorporating different case studies from a variety of contexts, this collection also forecasts future issues and developments that will be vital in generating further scholarship on language and identity.

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Annual Review of Applied Linguistics
  • ISSN: 0267-1905
  • EISSN: 1471-6356
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