Volume 27, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1387-6740
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9935
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Trials are touchstones, which highlight rationalities of narrative identity construction. This study seeks to explore these rationalities from the perspective of young defendants. Predicated on narrative interviews before and after trials as well as on participant observations of the respective trials, we reconstruct identity-related categorizations of young defendants. Based on “Membership Categorization Analysis”, our focus is on the young defendants’ narrative depiction of their biographical criminal history and their self-presentation as subjects that have been (un)fairly treated and sentenced by penal professionals. Empirically, we use a case study to elaborate on the intricate challenge of identity construction when a severe punishment is imminent. Our results indicate a strategic form of narration, which mirrors the complexities and uncertainties of a trial.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): defendants; Membership Categorization Analysis; trials; youth crime
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