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Beyond Yellow EnglishToward a Linguistic Anthropology of Asian Pacific America$
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Angela Reyes and Adrienne Lo

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195327359

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195327359.001.0001

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Communities and Identities

Communities and Identities

Fraught Categories and Anchoring Resources: A Commentary

(p.167) 10 Communities and Identities
Beyond Yellow English

Niko Besnier

Oxford University Press

While commonsense attributes unproblematic and positive meaning to concepts of identity and community, a critical approach to these concepts uncovers their contingency, instability, and awkward relationship to structures of inclusion and exclusion. The four chapters commented on here foreground this critical approach in different ways: by demonstrating how agents can develop life narratives replete with discontinuity and unpredictability; by analyzing how one visible marker of ethnic identity (e.g., a piece of clothing) can become the object of conflicting perspectives for those who sport it; by exploring the complexities of seemingly simple performatives like “I am an X”; and by showing how particular markers of identity carry different meanings in multi‐ethnic contexts. The chapters develop a model for the exploration of ethnicity and identity as discursively achieved categories.

Keywords:   community, identity, ethnicity, performativity, discourse, inclusion, exclusion

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