Volume 22, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1387-6740
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9935
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This article refocuses the discussion of identity in narrative and practice by looking at structuring-in-practice and beyond to the discourse functions of identity. The narrative of an Ethiopian Israeli female college student is analyzed, wherein she tells about changing elementary schools — a context mirroring the immediate situation in her new academic setting. The analysis identifies and labels the partial, microgenetic elicitation of identity-attributable imagery in each utterance and then consolidates the accumulation of those images into the various groupings relevant in the narrative. In the particular narrative studied here all consolidated images contrast against the one identity-attributable image that is interactionally advantageous. This result, found in all 28 prototypical narratives in my corpus of 46, is evidence of a poetic identity structuring of narrative serving two discourse functions: (1) metasemantic- the contrastive identity work creates and indexes the narrative’s Complication and its subsequent Resolution; (2) metapragmatic- the contrastive identity work creates and indexes the identity for impression management. The contrastive basis of the poetic identity structure of narrative is indicative of much Western identity and narrative construction. Thus, identity and narrative are shown to stand in reflexive relation one to the other, where identity is an ‘indexical icon’, a map of itself drawn in the very narrative from which it emerges.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): identity; imagery; metapragmatics; narrative; poetics; structure
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