Stylizing L2 and Performing Masculinity: An Immigrant Adolescent Boy’s Identity Negotiation and Language Learning in One U.S. ESL Classroom

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Abstract

Immigrant adolescent male students and their identity negotiation remain under-examined in the field of language and literacy education research. This paper reports a classroom discourse study examining the relationship between masculinity performances and language learning of one immigrant boy, Tiger, in one English as a second language (ESL) classroom. Using discourse analysis of classroom interactions, field notes and documents, I illustrate that Tiger stylized his L2 speech and appropriated the classroom language practice to perform a funny and “laddish” masculinity. I theorize his L2 stylization as “doing funny,” a discursive practice of performing a dominant form of masculinity to gain hegemonic power and an act of subverting the routinized and non-engaging language instruction for identity performance. His masculinity performances, deeply intertwined with the interactional process of teaching and learning of language, conflicted with the instructional goals set by the teacher, ultimately leading to him being identified as a “problem” student. This study underscores the need for teachers to be cognizant of the complexity in multilingual young men’s masculinity negotiation, to recognize the interdependence of identity performances and language learning, to disrupt boys’ internalized notions of masculinity, and to decenter the power and control between the student, the teacher and the school.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalResearch in the Teaching of English
Volume52
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2018

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Keywords

  • immigrant adolescents
  • identity negotiation
  • masculinity performances
  • L2 stylization
  • discourse analysis

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