How Facebook users select identity categories for self-presentation

Gwen Bouvier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper focuses on the display of identity on Facebook, and more specifically on how undergraduate students inCardiff,Wales, say they express identity on their profiles. The theoretical context of this study is observed processes of change in the way we play out identity through what have been described as globalisation, deterritorialisation and the rise of lifestyle consumer society. The paper is based on an analysis of responses from a questionnaire and interviews with 100 students from Media and Communication degrees at theUniversityofGlamorgan. The data collection is designed to indicate what kinds of self-categorisation are used. These data are analysed using Social Actor Analysis developed by Machin and Van Leeuwen. The paper shows that we find a range of identity categories, some that are based around a biological model of national identity, while others focus on a belonging to a territory, others on national cultural activities and yet others link to lifestyle identity. What is most notable in this Welsh sample is the high use of nationalist identity categories and biological ethnic classification alongside other lifestyle identities
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37 - 57
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Multicultural Discourses
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 24 Feb 2012


  • discourse
  • identity
  • facebook
  • small nations
  • nationalism


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