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Identity in Communicative Contexts

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Edited By Kamila Ciepiela

The central focus of the book is the identification of the ways people engage in communicative encounters to (re)constitute personal and social identities. Its aim is to identify some principal themes that have emerged from the ample research on identity in a variety of contexts. A common thread of the articles is the role of language in the construction and performance of identities. It embraces an exploration of the sociocultural environments in which human communication takes place, the interplay between these environments, and the construction and display of identities through our communicative performances. Research located in a range of literary, sociological, psychological and linguistic perspectives is used to illustrate the potential of communication in establishing a sense of identity.

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Cherry’s contribution to the rhetorical theory for self-representation: ethos and persona. Does the ‘real’ self of the writer exist?

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Abstract Drawing on Fairclough’s (1992a, 2003), Harré’s (1999), and Hall’s (1996) work, and my own interest in the relationship between students’ identities and their experience of academic writing, my purpose in this paper is to question the existence of the stable nature of the ‘real’ self of the writer (ethos) as proposed by Cherry (1988). Cherry associates ethos (“audience addressed”) with the writer’s ‘real’ self and persona (“audience invoked”) with the writer’s ‘fictional’ and ‘social’ self. He also points out that although ethos and persona interact and overlap in many complex ways, ethos remains a stable entity of the ‘real’ self and only persona is open to contestation and change. This view contrasts my approach to authorial self-representation in academic discourse. In what follows, I will argue that authorial identity establishes itself in the form of various ‘selves’ that are employed in the act of writing and which are subjected to change as the author develops their life experience and knowledge, and as the context of writing changes. This article also aims to show how to make use of the distinction between ethos and persona within a broader framework of the discoursal construction of the writer’s self, while I will treat both ethos and persona as dynamic and discoursally constructed aspects of authorial identity.

1. Introduction

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