Situational, Cultural and Societal Identities: Analysing Subject Positions as Classifications, Participant Roles, Viewpoints and Interactive Positions



In this article I develop tools for analyzing the identities that emerge in qualitative material. I approach identities as historically, socially and culturally produced subject positions, as processes that are in a constant state of becoming and that receive their temporary stability and meaning in concrete contexts and circumstances. I suggest that the identities and subject positions that materialize in qualitative material can be analyzed from four different perspectives. They can be approached by focusing on (1) classifications that define the boundary lines between ‘us’ and ‘them’, as (2) participant roles that refer to the temporal aspect of subject positions and outline their meaning for action, as (3) structures of viewpoint and focalization that frame meaning and order to opinions and experiences of the world, and as (4) interactive positions that articulate the roles and identities taken by the participants of communication.