An Indonesian businessman and government representative’s identity construction at Investment Conferences, A Discourse Analysis Approach.

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This study investigates identity construction through language use of Chairul Tanjung (CT), a leading Indonesian businessman who is also the chairman of Indonesian Economic Committee (Komite Ekonomi Nasional, KEN). The study contributes to current research efforts in English discourse in business contexts in an influential Asian country like Indonesia by looking at CT’s use of English as a foreign language and a lingua franca in business to present and represent the Indonesian economy. The discourse analytic approach for investigating identity construction proposed by Gee (2011a; 2011b) is employed. CT was one of the keynote speakers at the Credit Suisse Asian Investment Conference in 2013. The analysis of CT’s discourse during a question/answer period at the conference, which is a prominent international business conference showcasing specific economic issues, developments, and opportunities in Asia, shows that: (1) CT’s language use produces multiple identities as a social being, businessman, government representative, business advisor, economic analyst, and an individual who supports Western values in economy and Islamic views; (2) CT's identities represent the Indonesian economy including the country’s business environment, government view on business matters, and people; and (3) English as a foreign language and lingua franca in international business interaction is a medium of communication at the conference to explain Indonesian business and economy to foreigners. These identity constructions represent a big picture of the Indonesian economy. CT can influen! ce foreig ners’ business decisions at the conference about doing business in Indonesia. The implications of the study on Discourse Analysis’ methodology on identity construction and English as the lingua franca in business contexts, particularly in Indonesia, are also discussed.
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