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Social identities and law students' writing

Maclean, Rod 2005, Social identities and law students' writing, in Proceedings of the International Conference on Critical Discourse Analysis: Theory into Research, University of Tasmania, Faculty of Education, Launceston, Tasmania, pp. 458-467.

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Title Social identities and law students' writing
Author(s) Maclean, Rod
Conference name International Conference on Critical Discourse Analysis : Theory into Research (2005 : Launceston, Tasmania)
Conference location Launceston, Tasmania
Conference dates 15-18 November 2005
Title of proceedings Proceedings of the International Conference on Critical Discourse Analysis: Theory into Research
Editor(s) Lê, Thao
Short, Megan
Publication date 2005
Conference series International Conference on Critical Discourse Analysis : Theory into Research
Start page 458
End page 467
Total pages 840 p.
Publisher University of Tasmania, Faculty of Education
Place of publication Launceston, Tasmania
Summary This paper argues that social identities, discursively speaking, consist of ‘positions’ that are individuated by distinctive linguistic features. These include distinctive patterns of representation indicated by clause structure and type, a set of priorities for attending to what is important indicated by thematic structure, and an orientation to the represented world and to self as indicated by modality, propositional attitudes and tense. A social identity comprises an array of these often contradictory ‘positions’ associated with a social or professional role. A person’s identity is constituted dynamically by the way they ‘reconcile’ the various positions that make up the social identity, and also, as Archer and Ivanic argue, by the way they reconcile a social with a personal or autobiographical identity. It is argued that this process of reconciliation gives clues about identity formation in the traces it leaves in grammatical texture.

This paper uses a simulated letter of advice to a client written by a group of first year law students to explore the discursive construction of social or professional identity. This letter is poorly written and full of grammatical mistakes and infelicities. It is argued that the mistakes provide a linguistic trace of the students’ struggle to reconcile the conflicting roles and positions they occupy as authors of the letter. In particular the students’ problems result from a struggle to reconcile their multiple positions as: students writing for assessment by a tutor about a legal problem, as a simulated firm of solicitors advising to a client, and as potential litigators anticipating the future course of events in their simulated moot court appearance.
Notes This paper is located on the 146th page in the attached link.
Reproduced with the kind permission of the copyright owner.
ISBN 9781862952966
1862952965
Language eng
Field of Research 200405 Language in Culture and Society (Sociolinguistics)
Socio Economic Objective 970120 Expanding Knowledge in Language, Communication and Culture
HERDC Research category E1.1 Full written paper - refereed
Copyright notice ©2005, The Author
Free to Read? Yes
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30026395

Document type: Conference Paper
Collections: School of Social and Cultural Studies in Education
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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.