Resources and constraints in linguistic identity performance: a theory of authorship

Timothy D Grant, Nicci MacLeod

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The majority of practicing forensic linguists working on questions of
authorship subscribe in some form to a theory of linguistic identity that relies
on a view of language as essentially a product of sociolinguistic experiences and
membership of particular identity categories. On the other hand, discourse analysts
tend to adopt a social interactionist view, seeing language as a resource to be
drawn on for the performance of particular identities. In order to bridge this gap
we set out our theory of identity which acknowledges the importance of pioneering
works such as Johnstone (1996) and Bucholtz and Hall (2004) who theorise identity
as being interactionally emergent, while simultaneously allowing space for certain
aspects of identity to persist across dierent interactional moments. Within the
context of deceptive identity performances by undercover police ocers in online
investigations against child sex abusers, we propose a model for understanding the
relationship between language and identity that is neither essentialist nor radically
interactionist. Such a model can support the work of the forensic linguist
in their endeavours to train ocers in identity assumption tasks, and explicates
a particular phenomenon we have observed in their attempts, namely identity
‘leakage’.
LanguageEnglish
Pages80-96
JournalLanguage and Law/Linguagem e Direito
Volume5
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2018

Fingerprint

Resources
Authorship
Linguistic Identity
Language
Train
Essentialist
Police
Undercover
Interaction
Discourse

Bibliographical note

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC 3.0)

Keywords

  • Identity, authorship analysis, authorship synthesis, linguistic individual, assuming identities online

Cite this

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abstract = "The majority of practicing forensic linguists working on questions ofauthorship subscribe in some form to a theory of linguistic identity that relieson a view of language as essentially a product of sociolinguistic experiences andmembership of particular identity categories. On the other hand, discourse analyststend to adopt a social interactionist view, seeing language as a resource to bedrawn on for the performance of particular identities. In order to bridge this gapwe set out our theory of identity which acknowledges the importance of pioneeringworks such as Johnstone (1996) and Bucholtz and Hall (2004) who theorise identityas being interactionally emergent, while simultaneously allowing space for certainaspects of identity to persist across dierent interactional moments. Within thecontext of deceptive identity performances by undercover police ocers in onlineinvestigations against child sex abusers, we propose a model for understanding therelationship between language and identity that is neither essentialist nor radicallyinteractionist. Such a model can support the work of the forensic linguistin their endeavours to train ocers in identity assumption tasks, and explicatesa particular phenomenon we have observed in their attempts, namely identity‘leakage’.",
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Resources and constraints in linguistic identity performance : a theory of authorship. / Grant, Timothy D; MacLeod, Nicci.

In: Language and Law/Linguagem e Direito, Vol. 5, No. 1, 01.07.2018, p. 80-96.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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