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Problems portraying migrants in Applied Linguistics research

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 November 2009

David Block*
Institute of Education, University of London,


This paper is a very personal attempt to explore the problematics of portraying migrants in Applied Linguistics research. I begin with a discussion of identity, in particular what we might mean when we use the term, and from there I go on to explore its fundamental imprecision through an analysis of a census question about ethnicity. I then consider migration and the problematics of naming migrants in research, first examining an example of my own research and then expanding the discussion to wider issues. I conclude the paper with a brief consideration of the epistemological status of portrayals in research.

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Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2009

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