A Postpositivist Realist Theory of Identity: Expanding Notions of Gender in Teacher Education


  • Tonda Liggett


In this essay, I conceptualize the potential of a postpositivist realist theory of identity for teacher candidates as a way to expand notions of gender identity. I argue that by engaging in a postpositivist realist theory of identity, teacher educators create a venue for students to explore individual, situated factors that influence identity construction as well as the social, historical, and political contexts that inform these constructions. Such analysis lends itself to a complex inquiry that more accurately reflects the lived experiences of immigrant women and girls as they navigate new social settings and American conceptualizations of gender norms. The influence of culture on individual notions of women's roles and the ways in which these change in a (new) American context are also considered.

Author Biography

Tonda Liggett

Tonda Liggett is an Assistant Professor of English Language Learning at Washington State University Vancouver. Her research examines intersections of race, language, culture, and gender. She is currently studying gender role shift for immigrant women and girls in the context of the United States.