GSE Publications

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version



This article describes how categories from the curriculum can play a central role in the interactional construction of students’ identities. Drawing on data from one ninth-grade English and history class across an academic year, the article describes an adolescent who was assigned and came to enact the identity of a disruptive outcast from the classroom community. It then describes how this student’s identity development was facilitated by discussions of a curricular theme. The article traces the student’s trajectory across the year and then analyzes one classroom discussion in detail, showing the interactional construction of her alienation from school and how this construction was mediated through curricular categories.


Suggested Citation:
Wortham, S.E.F. (2003). "Curriculum as a Resource for the Development of Social Identity." Sociology of Education. Vol. 76. p. 229-247.

© 2003 American Sociological Association

Included in

Education Commons



Date Posted: 20 January 2011

This document has been peer reviewed.