Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Studies ETDs

Publication Date



This study explores how biracial (Korean plus another racial/ethnic background) youth come to understand their ethnic sense of self in a southwestern state with low ethnolinguistic vitality of Korean language. The qualitative study using individual interviews and focus interviews captures dynamic and complex aspects of identity development in relation to social actors, social contexts and self. Vygotskys concepts of Perezhivanie and Social Situations of Development describe the ways in which biracial youth perceive, experience, and reflect on identity-related events. Furthermore, this study investigates the role of language in the identity development of biracial youth. The present study sheds light on the ways in which biracial youth negotiate the multiplicity, fluidity, and idiosyncrasy of identities despite societal dichotomous racial/ethnic labeling. This study shows that heritage language serves as an important foundation for biracial youth as they explore their choices of identities and move toward fulfilling their sense of self. The research also gives insights to the ways in which biracial youth empower themselves through adopting situational identity when they encounter linguistic and cultural boundaries at the societal and personal level. Findings will inform educators and parents about the complex factors that influence biracial adolescents' and emerging adult's identity formation. I do hope that the data and subsequent analysis may inform educators, parents, and educational researchers to meet students' needs for their positive identity formation.'


Korean Americans -- Ethnic identity, Racially mixed people - Race identity, Minority teenagers -- United States -- Social conditions, Identity (Psychology)

Document Type




Degree Name

Language, Literacy and Sociocultural Studies

Level of Degree


Department Name

Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Studies

First Committee Member (Chair)

Blum-Martinez, Rebecca

Second Committee Member

Herr, Kathryn

Third Committee Member

Mahn, Holbrook