Identity and discourse: from social theory to practice of discourse analysis

Philosophical and cultural studies

The article reviews various identity theories and analyzes the ways in which these theories can be operationalized in textually oriented discourse analysis. Identity is seen as a complex and multifaceted category whose key features are the degree of agency of the subject, the subject’s identification with social roles and/or groups and categories, the degree of continuity of the self, and the ever-increasing role of semiotic resources both in constructing and enacting identities. A thorough consideration of various studies in discourse analysis makes it possible to argue that studies in social theory and those in discourse analysis complement each other as the findings from the latter generally support the claims of the former and, most importantly, can act as a source of additional empirical data for them. This gives further evidence for the idea of discourse being one element of the social practices firmly embedded in them, as well as underscores the need for further integration of linguistic disciplines and social sciences.