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This study examines the use of e-mail as a tool for long term discussion between teachers and grade six students. E-mail messages between grade six students and teachers were collected over the course of one academic year. Methods of conversation analysis within a framework of social practice are used to examine the data. While identity is more readily constructed and more fully developed in contexts which allow for physical embodiment such as face-to-face discussion, this analysis found that identity can be constructed in a context that does not provide for the physical embodiment of identity: Identity was constructed using the social, cultural, and technological tools provided and supported by e-mail to develop social practices germane to the e-mail discussion. This study has implications for further understanding the relation between identity, goals, constraints and affordances, and the collaborative creation of social practices in asynchronous computer mediated communication. © 2008 FQS.


© the authors, originally published in Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung. Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 International