Publication details [#63535]

Donehue, Tracey E. 2017. Displacement identity in transit. A Nauru case study. Australian Review of Applied Linguistics 40 (3) : 218–246.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Place, Publisher
John Benjamins
Journal DOI


Based on Darvin and Norton’s (2015) reconceptualization of identity theory highlighting the recursive relationship between identity, capital, and ideology, this study posits that refugee and asylum seeker adolescents and adults in transit on Nauru are ascribed a ‘displacement identity’ through externally imposed normative ideologies. In addressing the issue of normative ideologies, this article draws on the author's experience as an English as an Additional Language (EAL) teacher at the Nauru Regional [refugee] Processing Centre and employs KhosraviNik’s (2010a) systematic model of Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) to explore the representations of ‘displacement’ inherent in a corpus of texts accessed by those displaced on Nauru. This analysis suggests that an externally ascribed displacement identity is evident in normative ideologies. As Darvin and Norton’s identity theory situates language learning investment at the dynamic intersection of identity, capital, and ideology, further qualitative research on internally inhabited displacement identity formation and symbolic capital affordances is now required. Such research would aid in the development of pedagogical approaches to enable education in sites of transitory settlement to be a re-humanising and transformative experience that engages marginalized language learners, promotes positive identities and thus optimizes language learning investment.