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The Discursive Construction of Gender Identity in Context

Bi, Xiaoyi (2020) The Discursive Construction of Gender Identity in Context. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

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The focus of this thesis is the identities projected by female contestants on TV dating shows in China. The more particular focus is the gender identity which emerges through their practices of face-attacking behaviours. In addition, the thesis examines the evaluations of these practices by other participants in the shows. The results indicate that female contestants’ positioning of their gender identities is channelled through the language and the usage of it in the context, including the format the show, its immediate co-text. The identities projected are not only the result of their behaviour with the person they are talking with, but also the person being talked about. In these ways, gender identities are discursively constructed in the specific interactional context.

The evaluations of these identities can be detected both in the reactions of other participants to the contestants’ behaviour and in online meta-comments on discussion boards. They almost always rate the identities as appropriate, despite the negative effect of the face-attacking behaviours. The details of the reactions and comments show that this is largely because the contestants generally make use of the strategies in response to the context and the dominant social norms. This thesis seeks to contribute a perspective that females can freely make use of any linguistic strategies which they see as compatible with the immediate context, because the identification of a gender identity and its evaluation are not necessarily informed by the compositional content of their words alone, but also their and others’ detection of the local meanings of their expressions through the lens of the immediate context or sometimes its association with the broader conventional ideologies of gender, and sociocultural expectations.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: (Im)politeness, gender, metacomments, appropriate, acceptable, Chinese
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Schools: School of Music, Humanities and Media
Depositing User: Christine Morelli
Date Deposited: 17 Nov 2020 15:22
Last Modified: 17 Nov 2020 15:22


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