Volume 8, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1387-6740
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9935
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This study is intended as a step towards the full uncovery of the textual and contextual, cross-cultural and particularistic aspects of the contested notion of oral performances. The data comprise conversational storytelling performances from Greece. To capture the interplay between conventional resources and contextual contingencies involved in any performance, the study employs the three dimensions of narrativity, teller-tale-telling (Blum-Kulka, 1997), as the loci of performances. With respect to the tale, Greek stories range from mini-performances to full-fledged or sustained performances. The choice of one or the other is interrelated to a story's episodic structuring, topic, and purposes of telling. A constellation of devices (keys) form the hallmarks of Greek performances; these are classified as poetic or theatrical. With regard to the stories' telling, it is argued that the teller-audience interactional norms are geared towards granting strong floor-holding rights and upholding full-fledged, single-teller performances which call attention to the teller's skill and autonomy. Finally, the locus of teller is proposed as the main site for the emergent properties of performance events. It is also argued that the relationship between these properties and the teller can be best explored with reference to the concept of positioning (Bamberg, 1997). This allows us to shed light on how performance devices, in their individualized and local uses, act as indexes of personal and sociocultural identities. The study's findings point to avenues for future research and suggest analytical ways of pursuing it. Specifically, the classification of performance keys as poetic or theatrical could be useful for the exploration of cross-cultural aspects of performance styles. In addition, the "Greek" performance devices reinforce the assumption that there is a certain set of devices typical of verbal art cross-culturally; this needs to be further documented. Overall, the study aims at demonstrating the validity and necessity of exploring the pragmatic work which performance keys accomplish in interactional contexts.{Narrative performance, Emergence, Teller-tale-telling, Positioning)


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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