Negotiating multiple identities between school and the outside world: A critical discourse analysis

Mary Ryan*, Greer Johnson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


This article examines interview talk of three students in an Australian high school to show how they negotiate their young adult identities between school and the outside world. It draws on Bakhtin's concepts of dialogism and heteroglossia to argue that identities are linguistically and corporeally constituted. A critical discourse analysis of segments of transcribed interviews and student-related public documents finds a mismatch between a social justice curriculum at school and its transfer into students' accounts of outside school lived realities. The article concludes that a productive social justice pedagogy must use its key principles of (con)textual interrogation to engage students in reflexive practice about their positioning within and against discourses of social justice in their student and civic lives. An impending national curriculum must decide whether or not it negotiates the discursive divide any better.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)247-260
Number of pages14
JournalCritical Studies in Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Civic participation
  • Critical discourse analysis
  • Intersubjectivity
  • Social justice curriculum


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