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Thinking big with small stories in narrative and identity analysis

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Abstract

Narrative research is frequently described as a rich and diverse enterprise, yet the kinds of narrative data that it bases itself on present a striking consensus: they are autobiographical in kind (i.e., about non-shared, personal experience, single past events). In this paper, I put forth a case for under-represented narrative data which I collectively call (following Bamberg 2004a, b; also Georgakopoulou & Bamberg, 2005) “small stories” (partly literally, partly metaphorically). My aim is to flesh small stories out, to urge for the sort of systematic research that will establish connections between their interactional features and their sites of engagement and finally to consider the implications of their inclusion in narrative research for identity analysis (as the main agenda of much of narrative research). I will thus propose small stories research as a “new” narrative turn that can provide a needed meeting point for narrative analysis and narrative inquiry.

References

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