Document Type


Date of Degree

Summer 2018

Access Restrictions

Access restricted until 08/31/2020

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In


First Advisor

Johnson, David Cassels

First Committee Member

Shohamy, Elana

Second Committee Member

Graham, Laura R.

Third Committee Member

Schrier, Leslie

Fourth Committee Member

Thein, Amanda

Fifth Committee Member

Plakans, Lia


This study traces the relationship between language policy activity and multilingual social identity development through schools and homes in a public school district implementing an English Language Learner (ELL) program. The social impacts of language policies cannot be fully understood without consideration of how they impact social identities and opportunity for the populations they affect (Johnson, 2013; Shohamy, 2006; Tollefson, 1991). Power in language policy processes is seen as multi-layered (Ricento & Hornberger, 1996), with teachers at the heart. However, there has been little attention to the powerful role of those whose language practices policy is meant to regulate: students and parents. Using data gathered in the schools, homes, and communities of multilingual students over the course of two years, this critical ethnographic study provides ethnographic understanding of language policy, language use, literacy learning, and policy negotiation on the part of parents as they relate to social identity development. Ultimately, the work extends exploration of the layers of policy activity to the homes and communities of multilingual students and their families, uncovering implications about the role of language policies in shaping equitable educational opportunity. Findings show how multilingual parents can and should be positioned as powerful negotiators in language policy processes, leading to implications for transformation in theory and practice.


ESL, Language Policy, Linguistic Anthropology, Multilingual Education, Social Identity


xi, 306 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 294-306).


Copyright © 2018 Crissa Lee Stephens

Available for download on Monday, August 31, 2020

Included in

Education Commons