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Parallel Worlds: Narrative ‘Versions’ and Cultural Exchange in an Occupational Environment

By Helen Dilks


The concept of ‘narrativity’ has emerged as a powerful communicative device\ud employed by workers for the creation and maintenance of group identity in\ud transient occupational situations. This paper explores the negotiation of\ud identity and practice by workers in the shopfitting industry as they move\ud between ‘parallel worlds’ according to differentiation by gender, ethnicity and\ud age. The nature and authenticity of narrativity as a research device is examined,\ud and the most prominent narrative themes are discussed in terms of their\ud usefulness as boundary ‘markers’. It is argued that narratives serve a dual\ud purpose by providing the means for capital accrual within the occupational\ud environment, and for the dissemination of collective knowledge within and\ud between parallel worlds. The substantive relation of ‘truth’ to the ‘event’\ud described in narratives depends to an extent upon the actual, or the perceived’\ud nature of the relationship between the narrator and the listener. The\ud presentation of different ‘versions’ is considered as a means of achieving\ud temporary rapport between groups and individuals whose identities are\ud constantly changing, and the ability of various agents to adapt their\ud presentation in order to negotiate a balance of power is examined

Topics: H1
Publisher: University of Huddersfield
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.hud.ac.uk:5031

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