Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Evolving self-identities of second language learners in Japanese higher education
Author: Miyahara, Masuko
ISNI:       0000 0004 2744 6408
Awarding Body: Institute of Education, University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2012
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
Grounded in social constructivism and poststructuralist theory, this thesis explores identity in relation to the learning of English in a foreign language context, namely, Japanese university students studying English in Japan. The research problematizes the current dominant emphasis on the social dimension of identity in Applied Linguistics, and calls for more focus on the psychologically-oriented aspects of the language leamer's identity. Drawing on the concept of possible selves (Markus and Nurius 1986) with the theories of situated learning (Lave and Wenger 1991) and imagined communities (Anderson 1991; Norton 2000) as its main frameworks, the study proposes ways to close the gap between the social and the psychological dimensions of identity construction. In particular, Dornyei's notion of ideal L2 self (2009) is employed to examine how learners in this context construct their identity in the present through imagining their future selves participating in communities of English users and how emotions are implicated in the process. The study documents the language learning experiences of six participants going through the first year of their two-year intensive English for Academic Purposes at a liberal arts college in Tokyo. A narrative-oriented approach to data collection and analysis was adopted as the stories of six focal participants were collected over a period of approximately one academic year through unstructured interviews, which were complemented by various other sources of data, such as diaries. The findings clearly indicate the emergence of three distinct patterns of learners' constructions (or the opposite) of their ideal L2 selves. They also reveal the importance of emotions in the process of identity construction. This study illustrates the transformative and developmental nature of the ideal L2 self where both positive and negative emotions can affect learners' response to and ability to negotiate their social environment.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available