'Do we really want to be like them?': Indexing europeanness through pronominal use

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27 Scopus citations


This article is part of a larger project on language politics in the European Union (EU), with an empirical focus on questions concerning identity. Using Wortham's (1996) deictic mapping technique, I examine how EU leaders position themselves with respect to a European identity through the use of pronouns. Using this discourse analytic framework, I show how, in a panel featuring leaders from current and prospective EU member states, a participant from Turkey juxtaposes his various identity positions with those of other panel members. The analysis focuses on short discourse fragments featuring discussions about European identity. The analysis reveals three identities constructed through pronoun use: neutral, non-European, and European. While leaders from current member states emphasize their Europeanness through pronoun use, the Turkish panelist portrays an identity in opposition to this European identity, thus exhibiting how the repetition of pronoun use patterns helps to create, recreate, and make visible certain identities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)619-637
Number of pages19
JournalDiscourse and Society
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2010


  • European Union
  • Turkey
  • World Economic Forum
  • deictic mapping
  • identity
  • indexicality
  • language politics
  • political discourse
  • pronouns

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Linguistics and Language


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