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The socially minded linguistic study of storytelling in everyday life has been rapidly expanding. This book provides a critical engagement with this dynamic field of narrative studies, addressing long-standing questions such as definitions of narrative and views of narrative structure but also more recent preoccupations such as narrative discourse and identities, narrative language, power and ideologies. It also offers an overview of a wide range of methodologies, analytical modes and perspectives on narrative from conversation analysis to critical discourse analysis, to linguistic anthropology and ethnography of communication. The discussion engages with studies of narrative in multiple situational and cultural settings, from informal-intimate to institutional. It also demonstrates how recent trends in narrative analysis, such as small stories research, positioning analysis and sociocultural orientations, have contributed to a new paradigm that approaches narratives not simply as texts, but rather as complex communicative practices intimately linked with the production of social life.
The relationship between language, discourse and identity has always been a major area of sociolinguistic investigation. In more recent times, the field has been revolutionized as previous models - which assumed our identities to be based on stable relationships between linguistic and social variables - have been challenged by pioneering new approaches to the topic. This volume brings together a team of leading experts to explore discourse in a range of social contexts. By applying a variety of analytical tools and concepts, the contributors show how we build images of ourselves through language, how society moulds us into different categories, and how we negotiate our membership of those categories. Drawing on numerous interactional settings (the workplace; medical interviews; education), in a variety of genres (narrative; conversation; interviews), and amongst different communities (immigrants; patients; adolescents; teachers), this revealing volume sheds new light on how our social practices can help to shape our identities.
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