A narrative practice approach to identities: small stories and positioning analysis in digital contexts

Giaxoglou, Korina and Georgakopoulou, Alexandra (2020). A narrative practice approach to identities: small stories and positioning analysis in digital contexts. In: Bamberg, Michael; Demuth, Carolin and Watzlawik, Meike eds. Cambridge Handbook of Identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, (In press).

URL: https://vbn.aau.dk/en/publications/cambridge-handb...

Abstract

This chapter presents small stories and positioning as epistemological and analytical tools for studying identities in narrative practices. We start by discussing the shift from views of narrative as a textual mode of communication to stories as embodied communicative practice. Then, we outline the key elements of positioning in narrative as an apparatus for capturing stable or continuous aspects of identity and more or less fragmentary, troubled, and transgressive moments of identification. We illustrate how interactionally-based positioning can be used as an empirical framework for investigating the way narrative identities are emploted and updated, reiterated and sedimented as ways of telling and as types of participation, based on the use of different linguistic and paralinguistic devices, also known as positioning cues. Drawing on our respective work on the sharing of the self in social media, where stories are being engineered as a distinct feature, we revisit the three levels of positioning analysis and propose its extension to practices of (i) reflexive positioning, focused on the researcher’s own positionality (ii) affective positioning, directed to the different levels of tellers’ affective orientations in narrative activity enacted through linguistic, paralinguistic, and embodied markers (iii) pre-positioning inflected by - and inflecting - contemporary modes of algorithmic subjectivation in social media contexts.

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