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

Giaxoglou, Korina and Georgakopoulou, Alexandra (2021). 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 This chapter discusses small stories and positioning as epistemological and analytical tools for the study of identities and affect in digital contexts. We start by discussing the shift from views of narrative as a textual mode of communication to stories as embodied communicative practice associated with identity positioning at different levels. We then move on to illustrate positioning analysis as an empirical framework for investigating how narrative identities are emploted and updated, reiterated and sedimented as ways of telling and as types of participation. Drawing on our respective work on sharing emotion and the self in social media, we call for the extension of identity positioning analysis to the study of affective positioning practices in light of their heightened importance in the performance of ‘authentic’ identities in digital contexts. We show how a YouTube vlogger enacts her affective positioning through specific sets of linguistic, paralinguistic, and embodied markers that cue her affective orientations at different levels of her vlogging narrative activity. We conclude by foregrounding the continued relevance of positioning analysis for the study of identities in digital contexts and the need to keep updating it in response to ‘new’ tensions and dilemmas arising from emerging narrative and identity modes.

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