"Arabic, Self, and Identity" uses autoethnography, autobiography, and a
detailed study of names to investigate the links between conflict and
displacement, and between the Self and group identity. In the process it
raises questions about trauma and globalization, underscoring the complex
roles of language and identity in society.
Yasir Suleiman frames his findings against a far-reaching critique of the
dominant, correlational approach in Arabic sociolinguitics. He argues that this
approach does not sufficiently explore the link between language and the
major narratives of identity and conflict in the Middle East. Instead he
advocates for combining this approach with qualitative studies that are
nevertheless aware of the limits of interpretation and the positionality of the
researcher. This combined endeavor, Suleiman says, can generate a richer
understanding of the sociopolitical underpinnings of language, and help to
bridge the gaps between the various disciplines that converge on language as
a field of investigation and analysis.