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"Who am I?": Identity, Self and Narrative within Organizational Contexts
Unformatted Document Text:  “Who am I?”- 12 PIN jc19265 of studying identity at the localized level in moment-by-moment talk grounds this approach in the communication discipline and deals with the complexity of understanding self through the sequencing in talk within naturally occurring conversation. Narrative as social process. In conceptualizing narrative as a social process, this approach focuses on the use of narrative within particular speech communities and seeks to explain the relevance of social and cultural contexts for the uses of narrative (Langellier, 1989). Unlike the conversational interaction approach, which concerns the localized level of interaction while eschewing context, narrative as a social process is concerns the larger processes that constitute a speech community. Philipsen’s (1975) work on “speaking like a man” in Teamsterville highlights this approach. In this particular speech community, talk was socially sanctioned according to one’s social identity with regard to others. For example, it was socially acceptable for males, who were similar in terms of age, sex, ethnicity, occupational status and location of residence, to engage in talk; however, a large amount of speaking was considered inappropriate in situations in which individuals were not matched according to their social identity (Philipsen, 1975). As Philipsen (1975) notes, self-presentation rested on their ability to understand which social situation required talk and which relied on another form of social activity (i.e. physical confrontation/blows). While Philipsen (1975) doesn’t refer to narrative specifically, his study can be used to address how “…the place in speaking in male role enactment reveals much in general about the community’s valuation of talk, and cultural interpretations of the value of speaking…” (p. 14). Philipsen’s (1975) observation raises the issue of storytelling rights. As Langellier (1989) points out, “storytelling rights are social rules, tacitly understood, and are subject to constant misunderstanding among people who operate according to different rule systems” (p.

Authors: Cattafesta, Joanne.
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“Who am I?”- 12
PIN jc19265
of studying identity at the localized level in moment-by-moment talk grounds this approach in
the communication discipline and deals with the complexity of understanding self through the
sequencing in talk within naturally occurring conversation.
Narrative as social process. In conceptualizing narrative as a social process, this
approach focuses on the use of narrative within particular speech communities and seeks to
explain the relevance of social and cultural contexts for the uses of narrative (Langellier, 1989).
Unlike the conversational interaction approach, which concerns the localized level of interaction
while eschewing context, narrative as a social process is concerns the larger processes that
constitute a speech community. Philipsen’s (1975) work on “speaking like a man” in
Teamsterville highlights this approach. In this particular speech community, talk was socially
sanctioned according to one’s social identity with regard to others. For example, it was socially
acceptable for males, who were similar in terms of age, sex, ethnicity, occupational status and
location of residence, to engage in talk; however, a large amount of speaking was considered
inappropriate in situations in which individuals were not matched according to their social
identity (Philipsen, 1975). As Philipsen (1975) notes, self-presentation rested on their ability to
understand which social situation required talk and which relied on another form of social
activity (i.e. physical confrontation/blows). While Philipsen (1975) doesn’t refer to narrative
specifically, his study can be used to address how “…the place in speaking in male role
enactment reveals much in general about the community’s valuation of talk, and cultural
interpretations of the value of speaking…” (p. 14).
Philipsen’s (1975) observation raises the issue of storytelling rights. As Langellier
(1989) points out, “storytelling rights are social rules, tacitly understood, and are subject to
constant misunderstanding among people who operate according to different rule systems” (p.


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