Learning to be a psychologist: the construction of identity in an online forum

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The paper reports a study that investigated the construction of a common identity in an online Italian forum of psychologists based on asynchronous CMC. Discourse analysis was carried out on 20 discussions, and three Interpretative Repertoires were identified: (i) Professional Boundaries, (ii) disempowered psychology and (iii) psychology and health, which refer to three recurrent modalities of constructing the psychological profession. The study suggests that a framework drawing on social constructionism and Bourdieu's critical theory can help understand some aspects of identity in, and across, communities of practice. The main conclusion is that analysing critically how identities are constructed in learning environments, virtual or not, allows reconsidering the role of the cultural context in the production of those identities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)456-466
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Computer Assisted Learning
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes

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