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The Sociolinguistics of Narrative


The study of narrative is no longer a literary preserve, but has emerged as an object of enquiry in a whole range of disciplinary contexts, from sociolinguistics to social anthropology, social psychology and beyond. This is because narrative does not exist only between the covers of books; on the contrary, stories have a pervasive role in our everyday life. From the proliferation of data that sociolinguists and others have gathered from many different contexts, we have ample evidence of just how central narrative discourse is to the fabric of social interaction – whether this is in casual conversations, in legal and medical settings, in the media, in family interactions or at school. So there is no longer much need, at the turn of this new century, to argue the case for the increasing importance of narrative within the social sciences.

Table of contents


The Sociolinguistics of Narrative: Identity, performance, culture
Joanna Thornborrow and Jennifer Coates
Narrative as a resource in accounts of the experience of illness
Jenny Cheshire and Sue Ziebland
Storying East-German pasts: Memory discourses and narratives of readjustment on the German/Polish and former German/German border
Heidi Armbruster and Ulrike H. Meinhof
Narrative demands, cultural performance and evaluation: Teenage boys’ stories for their age-peers
Nikolas Coupland, Peter Garrett and Angie Williams
Masculinity, collaborative narration and the heterosexual couple
Jennifer Coates
Contextualizing and recontextualizing interlaced stories in conversation
Neal R. Norrick
Hearing Voices: Evasion and self-disclosure in a man’s narratives of alcohol addiction
Dick Leith
Modes of meaning making in young children’s conversational storytelling
Shoshana Blum-Kulka
Two systems of mutual engagement: The co-construction of gendered narrative styles by American preschoolers
Amy Sheldon and Heidi Engstrom
Narrative and the construction of professional identity in the workplace
Janet Holmes and Meredith Marra
Telling stories and giving evidence: The hybridisation of narrative and non-narrative modes of discourse in a sexual assault trial
Sandra J. Harris
Television news and narrative: How relevant are narrative models for explaining the coherence of television news?
Martin Montgomery
Performing theories of narrative: Theorising narrative performance
Terry Threadgold

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Tags: narrative, social, between, covers, exist