Agency, identity and ideology in L2 writing

Insights from the EAP classroom


  • Subrata Kumar Bhowmik University of Calgary



Agency, Identity, Ideology, L2 Writing


This study reports on how agency, identity and ideology played out in an L2 writing classroom. It investigated 31 L2 writers’ agency, identity and ideology as they accomplished their writing assignments in a required first-year composition class at a large North American university. The data for the study were collected from four different sources: (a) interviews with each participant; (b) process logs kept by each participant for the entire duration of the assignment; (c) class materials; and (d) classroom observation notes. Findings suggest that L2 writers’ portrayal of selves is not static and that it evolves during the course of the writing assignment. L2 writers’ agency leads them to use various writing strategies; perceive different writing activities to be difficult or easy; and adopt various lived experiences in composing. Their identity and ideology, on the other hand, help writers align with the writing tasks; influence their task perceptions; and mediate writing choices that are both rewarding and self-incriminating. Various implications for pedagogy and research are discussed.

Author Biography

Subrata Kumar Bhowmik, University of Calgary

Subrata Kumar Bhowmik is a member of the EAP Program, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.


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How to Cite

Bhowmik, S. K. (2016). Agency, identity and ideology in L2 writing: Insights from the EAP classroom. Writing and Pedagogy, 8(2), 275–308.



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