University of Surrey

Test tubes in the lab Research in the ATI Dance Research

Language and perceptions of identity threat

Jaspal, R and Coyle, A (2009) Language and perceptions of identity threat Psychology & Society, 2 (2). pp. 150-167.

Coyle 2009 Language and ID threat REVISED.pdf
Available under License : See the attached licence file.

Download (523kB)
Text (licence)

Download (33kB)


This study explores how a group of British South Asians (BSA) understood, defined and evaluated languages associated with their ethnic and religious identities, focusing upon the role of language in the negotiation and construction of these identities and particularly upon strategies employed for coping with identity threat. Twelve BSA were interviewed using a semi‐structured interview schedule. Transcripts were subjected to qualitative thematic analysis. Participants’ accounts were explored through the interpretive lens of identity process theory. Four superordinate themes are reported: “Maintaining a sense of distinctiveness through language use”, “Exclusion of others and personal claims of belonging”, “Deriving a sense of self‐esteem from the knowledge of one’s threatening position” and “Two identities, two languages. Searching for psychological coherence”. While identity principles may be cross‐culturally universal, coping strategies are fluid and dynamic. Individuals will act strategically to minimise identity threat. Some of the coping strategies manifested by participants are discussed. /?id=13

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences > School of Psychology
Authors :
Jaspal, R
Coyle, A
Date : 2009
Related URLs :
Additional Information : This is an electronic version of an article published as Jaspal, R., & Coyle, A. (2009). Language and perceptions of identity threat. Psychology & Society, 2, 150-167. Available online at:
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 29 Jun 2012 15:35
Last Modified : 31 Oct 2017 14:37

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

Information about this web site

© The University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey, GU2 7XH, United Kingdom.
+44 (0)1483 300800