KEYNOTE: Analyzing narrative or narrative practices? – Identities as in-the-making
In this plenary, I briefly touch on the original debate between big and small story proponents, and relate and ground this debate in the larger question of how a discursive narrative analytic framework can become the centerpiece for empirical identity analysis – holding for institutional, global, national, ethnic, or personal-individual identity domains. I will lay out three identity territories (formerly termed: dilemmas) that are relevant for identity formation and the way they can be explored empirically for the purpose of identity analysis: Starting off from the assumption that narratives serve the purpose to construct characters in a there-and-then (typically a past), narrators have (at least) the following three choices: (1) they position characters (let’s refer to them as protagonists) in relation to others—others, who can be marked off as same, similar, or different in respect to the protagonist; (2) they position characters (prot- and antagonists; selves and others) as targets and (passive) undergoers (low in agency) due to the actions of others, or as highly agentive characters who affect and leave their mark on others and the world (high in agency); and (3) narrators can construe characters (prot- and antagonists; selves and others) as constant across time (remaining more-or-less unchanged) or as changing (e.g., developing, maturing, deteriorating…). I will explore these three identity territories – as locations in which identities play themselves out – and exemplify them with a brief illustration.
WORKSHOP: Narrative practices — Contextualizing a sense of who we are (identities)
In the workshop, I intend to exemplify and dig deeper into the coordination of linguistic and non-linguistic (including bodily) cues when narratives are employed to perform identity work (narrative practices). I will revisit the three identity territories (dilemmas – as discussed in the plenary) which then will serve as foci for how identity work is performed and how we can analytically approach identities as in-the-making. These three identity territories then will serve as the backdrop for analyzing identity work in the context of apologizing, i.e., doing and showing regret. The first apology stems from HK-based actor and entrepreneur Edison Chen (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KTHM_LvjcgY) , the second from former Governor of South Carolina (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uLUTvOo5vR8); both available on YouTube. We will leave time to discuss how the analysis of narrative practices, conceived as identity work across the three identity territories, can be extended into other speech activities.