Displacing place-identity: A discursive approach to locating self and other

John Dixon, Kevin Durrheim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

436 Citations (Scopus)


Questions of 'who we are' are often intimately related to questions of 'where we are', an idea captured in the environmental psychological concept of place-identity. The value of this concept is that it attends to the located nature of subjectivity, challenging the disembodied notions of identity preferred by social psychologists. The topic of place-identity would thus seem to be a productive point around which the sub-disciplines of social and environmental psychology might meet, answering calls for greater disciplinary cross-fertilization. This study contributes to this project by presenting a sympathetic but critical evaluation of research on place-identity. It argues that such research is valuable in that it has established the importance of place for creating and sustaining a sense of self. However, drawing on recent developments in discursive approaches to social psychology, the authors identify several limitations with existing work on place-identity. This critique is then developed through analysis of an ongoing research programme located in the changing landscapes of the new South Africa.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-44
Number of pages18
JournalBritish Journal of Social Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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