Researching identity through narrative approaches.

Higgins, C., & Sandhu, P. (2015). Researching identity through narrative approaches. In M. Bigelow and J. Enser-Kananen (Eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Educational Linguistics (pp. 50-61). London and New York: Routledge.

This chapter discusses the development of narrative approaches in the study of identity formation and change in educational linguistics. Narrative approaches are promising for examining identity because they allow researchers to study how people position themselves in relation to larger societal structures and macrolevel discourses. Narratives can be analyzed to study identities as they relate to ideological topics such as beliefs and attitudes, and they are especially well suited for identifying the discursive positions that individuals take up in the stories they tell when making sense of their own and others’ lives. In educational linguistics, narratives have become increasingly used to understand how people negotiate their identities in classrooms and in their everyday life. The analysis of narrative encompasses both life history autobiographic narratives as well as more interactionally contextualized narratives that take place in educational contexts. Those who are interested in developing an understanding of how people view their own and others’ experiences will find narrative analysis a worthwhile undertaking. Researchers who want to investigate the role of narratives in co-constructing experience through collaborative storytelling will also find narrative analysis to be a very useful approach.

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