“Don’t Be a Son of a Bitch, Stand Up and Get What You Need”: Understanding Italian Young Adults’ Identity through Insults

Eleonora Colzani


This qualitative study, grounded in the ethnography of communication, aims to describe how Italian young adults construct their individual and group identity through the use of insults. The existing literature has extensively investigated the communicative practice of insults, but no research has been done so far on insults in relation to the construction of identity in Italy. Therefore, this study enriches the literature, taking a linguistic, communicative, and pragmatic approach to the topic. In order to collect data, I conducted participant observation, one focus group, and three individual interviews. I applied thematic analysis to analyze the data. By interpreting members’ meanings, I identified four main functions of insults: construction of identity through gender; construction of identity depending on social context; construction of identity through the light use of insults; and construction of identity through the offensive use of insults.


insults; individual identity; group identity; gender; role identity; contextual identity; ethnography of communication

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.15273/jue.v9i2.9381


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