Identity Trouble and Opportunity in Women’s Narratives of Residence

Taylor, Stephanie (2005). Identity Trouble and Opportunity in Women’s Narratives of Residence. Auto/Biography, 13(3) pp. 249–265.



This article employs a narrative and discursive approach to investigate contemporary identities of place and meanings of place for identity. Transcribed interview extracts are analysed to illustrate how speakers discursively construct a place of residence and a new residential identity, and how this identity work in relation to place conforms to the individualized contemporary identities discussed by Rose, Walkerdine and others. A construction of a place of residence in terms of opportunity enables a speaker to take up a residential identity corresponding to a 'choosing self' and also to present her life course in terms of choices she has made. A claim to a new residential identity can offer an alternative positioning, for example, for people positioned outside the conventional born-and-bred narrative. However, this claim to a more individualized and agentic identity of place is not necessarily unproblematic, and presents particular issues for women speakers.

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