Arabic, Self and Identity: A Study in Conflict and Displacement

Synopsis

Arabic, Self, and Identityuses autoethnography, autobiography, and a detailed study of names to investigate the links between conflict and displacement, and between the Self and group identity. In the process it raises questions about trauma and globalization, underscoring the complex roles of language and identity in society.

Yasir Suleiman frames his findings against a far-reaching critique of the dominant, correlational approach in Arabic sociolinguitics. He argues that this approach does not sufficiently explore the link between language and the major narratives of identity and conflict in the Middle East. Instead he advocates for combining this approach with qualitative studies that are nevertheless aware of the limits of interpretation and the positionality of the researcher. This combined endeavor, Suleiman says, can generate a richer understanding of the sociopolitical underpinnings of language, and help to bridge the gaps between the various disciplines that converge on language as a field of investigation and analysis.

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