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"Who am I?": Identity, Self and Narrative within Organizational Contexts
Unformatted Document Text:  “Who am I?”- 20 PIN jc19265 joke, invite, blame, etc. and that attempts at self-construction, as a result of identity threats, are managed at the local level of talk. These findings point to a contradiction with Goffman’s claim that identity and identity concerns are always relevant within interaction. However, by focusing on the intricacies within talk, the complexity between what is happening within talk and larger discourses that exist “in the common repertoire” (Gergen & Gergen, 1997, p. 172), and how individuals relate their current experience to those that came before is obscured. Narratives are “nested” in that they not only refer to metanarratives, but to past and present narratives and to future narrative possibilities for individuals to organize their experiences and construct meaning (Gergen & Gergen, 1997; Langellier, 1989). Mandelbaum (1987, 1996) notes that through constructing narratives, relational work gets accomplished through co-narration, but relationships, constructed through roles, norms and rules, can constrain what gets talked about in talk. Also, the embeddedness of narratives as temporally constructed is important to consider when developing theory about the ongoing process of identity construction. From some scholars’ perspective (Hedge, 1996, 1998; Morkos & Deetz, 1996; Mumby, 1988, 1993; Weedon, 1987), understanding narrative as constructed through discourse assumes that narrative functions as a mechanism for (re)producing power and control through multiple dominant and subordinate positions. However, similar to a modernistic understanding of corporations as stable entities, in today’s postmodern world, the notion of metanarratives needs to be expanded to account for the tensions within multiple contested and contestable discursive spaces. Telling personal narratives may legitimate or resist dominant meanings by transforming them (Langellier, 1989). While narratives do have a positional stance in that they require the

Authors: Cattafesta, Joanne.
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“Who am I?”- 20
PIN jc19265
joke, invite, blame, etc. and that attempts at self-construction, as a result of identity threats, are
managed at the local level of talk. These findings point to a contradiction with Goffman’s claim
that identity and identity concerns are always relevant within interaction.
However, by focusing on the intricacies within talk, the complexity between what is
happening within talk and larger discourses that exist “in the common repertoire” (Gergen &
Gergen, 1997, p. 172), and how individuals relate their current experience to those that came
before is obscured. Narratives are “nested” in that they not only refer to metanarratives, but to
past and present narratives and to future narrative possibilities for individuals to organize their
experiences and construct meaning (Gergen & Gergen, 1997; Langellier, 1989). Mandelbaum
(1987, 1996) notes that through constructing narratives, relational work gets accomplished
through co-narration, but relationships, constructed through roles, norms and rules, can constrain
what gets talked about in talk. Also, the embeddedness of narratives as temporally constructed is
important to consider when developing theory about the ongoing process of identity
construction.
From some scholars’ perspective (Hedge, 1996, 1998; Morkos & Deetz, 1996; Mumby,
1988, 1993; Weedon, 1987), understanding narrative as constructed through discourse assumes
that narrative functions as a mechanism for (re)producing power and control through multiple
dominant and subordinate positions. However, similar to a modernistic understanding of
corporations as stable entities, in today’s postmodern world, the notion of metanarratives needs
to be expanded to account for the tensions within multiple contested and contestable discursive
spaces. Telling personal narratives may legitimate or resist dominant meanings by transforming
them (Langellier, 1989). While narratives do have a positional stance in that they require the


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