The intimate alterity of identity

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Identity, as a concept, has long fascinated me. This is no doubt to some degree due to an itinerant childhood during which I attended nine diff erent schools in the UK, US, and Canada. This process required ongoing adaptation on my part-including, but not limited to, adopting diff erent accents and vocabularies-in the process raising questions as to who “I” was and how this “I” was related to the others against whom I repeatedly reworked and redefi ned “myself.” This interest was carried over into questioning what it meant to be a teacher, and how my teaching self related to other parts of who I was, when, after undergraduate studies in politics and philosophy, I entered teaching. It is perhaps not surprising, then, that my doctoral studies a decade later focused on the evolving identities of new English language teachers in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) where, for a number of years, I led the development of a new Bachelor of Education degree designed to prepare female Emirati school leavers to become teachers of English to young learners. One of the key arguments of this research was that teacher identities-including, but not limited to, language teacher identities-are never just pedagogical but are political insofar as they are constructed through liminal processes of inclusion and exclusion whereby the self is defi ned through an “antagonistic” process of constructing contrasts in relation to some excluded other(s) (see Clarke, 2008). Much of my subsequent research has sustained this engagement with questions relating to the concept of identity, particularly its ethical and political dimensions, within the broader fi eld of education policy and politics. Alongside this ongoing engagement with identity, my itinerant lifestyle has also been sustained; after leaving the UAE, I worked at universities in Hong Kong and Australia, before recently returning full circle to take up my current position in England.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationReflections on Language Teacher Identity Research
EditorsGary Barkhuizen
Place of PublicationNew York
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9781315643465
ISBN (Print)9781138186989
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jan 2017


Dive into the research topics of 'The intimate alterity of identity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this