We used ethnographic methods to examine the ways that adolescent girls (n=9) defined and understood themselves as individuals and in relation to cultural identities. We utilized Cook-Sather’s (2002, 2006, 2007) theory of translation to make sense of their identification as an unfixed process of negotiation by centering their voices and revelations. While the girls struggled to articulate cultural identities in relation to themselves, they had clear notions of those identities and the social expectations associated to them. They noted the ways cultural identities could be both empowering and constricting. Moreover, we found that they understood and discussed cultural identities in relation to themselves and others in ways that both resisted and maintained social categories.
Walton is with the School of Foundations, Leadership and Administration, Kent State University, Kent, OH. Fisette is with Teaching, Learning and Curriculum Studies, Kent State University, Kent, OH.