Fraser, S, Constructing an Identity: A Key to Learning, What is Next in Educational Research?, Sense Publishers, S Fan, J Fielding-Wells (ed), The Netherlands, pp. 71-78. ISBN 9789463005227 (2016) [Research Book Chapter]
From a sociocultural perspective, an individual's identity is socially constructed, forming from early childhood from their interactions and relationships with others. Through our identity we come to understand our connection "to the world, how that relationship is constructed across time and space, and ... possibilities for the future" (Norton, 2000, p. 5). Our global understanding of ourselves, or our self-identity, comes as a result of a reasonably enduring combination of self-assessments (for example, awareness of physical attributes; knowledge of one's abilities/disabilities; ethnicity; spirituality) about what we consider most important about ourselves. Our identity can be thought of as a "process of becoming rather than being" (Hall, 1996, p. 4), as we renegotiate our sense of self in a dialectic and ongoing manner, through our interactions with others in our social world (Bucholtz & Hall, 2005). Hawkins argues that our identity is not fixed, core or unitary, rather it is an "everdeveloping repertoire of available characteristics, viewpoints, and ways of being that are both learned from and recruited through participation in discourses" (Hawkins, 2005, p. 61). The discourses that we each participate in over the course of our Jives are many and varied, and our identity and sense of belonging are greatly influenced as a result. Enabling individuals to feel a sense of belonging to a community increases the opportunity for them to develop their identity (Askham, 2008). The chapters in this section all contribute to our understanding of identity as they interrogate integration and belonging, learning and engagement, pedagogical practices and educational outcomes.