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"Who am I?": Identity, Self and Narrative within Organizational Contexts
Unformatted Document Text:  “Who am I?”- 10 PIN jc19265 the different vantage point each of these terms assumes. “Her evolved self-referent system thus reflects an evolved representation of herself as an actor within a complex social world” (Nelson, 1989b, p. 290). Using Bruner’s (1990) concept of folk psychology to ground us in the importance of understanding narrative for self and identity, we are able to explore narrative as conversational interaction, social processes and discourse. Narrative as conversational interaction. Taking the position that narrative is situated within naturally occurring talk assumes that narrative cannot be separated from the surrounding discourse in which participants “do” their talk and relationships in everyday life (Langellier, 1989, Mandelbaum, 1987, 1993). As both Langellier (1989) and Mandelbaum (in press) note, this approach is a move away from literary and performance perspectives which assume a more Labovian (1967, 1972) stance, in which language and narrative are thought of as representative of reality, and focus is on the importance of narrative skill in oral storytelling and performance. Personal narratives are understood as being co-constructed by participants according to shared knowledge and interaction guidelines. Mandelbaum’s (1987, in press) work on narrative and storytelling is particularly relevant here, as she explicitly focuses on how stories are co-constructed through interaction and how individuals learn to “do things” in accordance with social rules (Mandelbaum, in press, p. 1). Grounded in Garfinkel’s (1967) ethnomethodological tradition, which was interested in the relationship between practical activities and reflexivity (how accounts are embedded within settings), and largely influenced by the work of Sacks (1974, 1984, 1992) and Schegloff (1982, 1991), Mandelbaum (1987, in press) uses conversation analysis to demonstrate how structured turn-taking weaves personal narratives into the ongoing stream of talk. Aware of Berger and Luckmann’s claim (1966) that because certain bodies of knowledge become established as

Authors: Cattafesta, Joanne.
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“Who am I?”- 10
PIN jc19265
the different vantage point each of these terms assumes. “Her evolved self-referent system thus
reflects an evolved representation of herself as an actor within a complex social world” (Nelson,
1989b, p. 290). Using Bruner’s (1990) concept of folk psychology to ground us in the
importance of understanding narrative for self and identity, we are able to explore narrative as
conversational interaction, social processes and discourse.
Narrative as conversational interaction. Taking the position that narrative is situated
within naturally occurring talk assumes that narrative cannot be separated from the surrounding
discourse in which participants “do” their talk and relationships in everyday life (Langellier,
1989, Mandelbaum, 1987, 1993). As both Langellier (1989) and Mandelbaum (in press) note,
this approach is a move away from literary and performance perspectives which assume a more
Labovian (1967, 1972) stance, in which language and narrative are thought of as representative
of reality, and focus is on the importance of narrative skill in oral storytelling and performance.
Personal narratives are understood as being co-constructed by participants according to shared
knowledge and interaction guidelines.
Mandelbaum’s (1987, in press) work on narrative and storytelling is particularly relevant
here, as she explicitly focuses on how stories are co-constructed through interaction and how
individuals learn to “do things” in accordance with social rules (Mandelbaum, in press, p. 1).
Grounded in Garfinkel’s (1967) ethnomethodological tradition, which was interested in the
relationship between practical activities and reflexivity (how accounts are embedded within
settings), and largely influenced by the work of Sacks (1974, 1984, 1992) and Schegloff (1982,
1991), Mandelbaum (1987, in press) uses conversation analysis to demonstrate how structured
turn-taking weaves personal narratives into the ongoing stream of talk. Aware of Berger and
Luckmann’s claim (1966) that because certain bodies of knowledge become established as


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