Identity Construction in Europe: A Discursive Approach

IES Working Paper 2/2010

38 Pages Posted: 8 Apr 2010

Date Written: March 1, 2010


Proposing a discursive approach to studying identity, this paper presents Positioning Theory as a theoretical framework for conceptualizing the construction of identity in discourse. The Positioning Diamond is employed to analyse the discourse surrounding the Danish Euro referendum. The analysis reveals how identities are constructed in discourse that promotes a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ vote in the referendum, highlighting the generally implicit allocation of rights and duties to actors within a specific narrative context. The penultimate section discusses appropriate criteria for evaluating discursive accounts, distinguishing between cases in which truth, normative and ethical criteria are applicable. Finally, the paper concludes with a discussion of policy considerations and recommendations.

Suggested Citation

Slocum-Bradley, Nikki, Identity Construction in Europe: A Discursive Approach (March 1, 2010). IES Working Paper 2/2010. Available at SSRN: or

Nikki Slocum-Bradley (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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