Three case studies of Mexican-American female adolescents: Identity exploration through multiple sign systems
AuthorTaylor, Monica, 1968-
KeywordsEducation, Language and Literature.
Education, Bilingual and Multicultural.
Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies.
AdvisorFox, Dana L.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe purpose of this study is to create rich, descriptive portraits of the identity perceptions of three female, Mexican American adolescents, as revealed through selected texts of multiple sign systems. These portraits support the concept that identity is a continuum which is complex, dynamic, and multi-faceted. The identities of the participants encompass elements which were derived from each participant individually as well as from their relationships of connection to or opposition of others. Discussing concepts of identity with the participants exemplified that one's identity is a process which is continually evolving and transforming. This transformative process involves experiences of tension, observation, reflection, and action which encourage an individual to adjust, add, or discard particular elements of one's identity. Each participant's integrated self identity entails their individual and relational elements as well as the changes made through tension, observation, reflection, and action. The ethnographic case study design of the research facilitated an exploration of the complexities of constructing one's identity as an adolescent who must reconcile aspects of culture, gender, and class. Data collection methods included in-depth interviews, participant and non-participant observation in various data collection sites including school, home, and work, and the gathering of written, visual, and auditory artifacts such as poetry, personal writing, photographs, drawings, and music. Data were analyzed inductively and compared, and case studies reported the findings. The portraits of these three young women illustrate the importance of providing our adolescent students with classroom opportunities to explore and construct their identities through texts of multiple sign systems. By expanding the concept of text to include multiple ways of knowing, educators invite students to express themselves through a variety of sign systems with which they may feel more comfortable. They may use "conventional" literacy, such as reading and writing, and "unconventional" literacies, including music, art, and movement. The portraits of the three female adolescents emphasize the necessity to embrace and seek to understand the multiple identities of our adolescent students, rather than judging them on assumptions made based on their race, class, or gender.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Language, Reading & Culture