The opportunity for this research was provided by my links through\ud employment within the shopfitting industry over a period of approximately ten\ud years, during which time I have investigated the relationship between formal\ud employment law and the practical application in the lives of the workers. In the\ud process I have learned a great deal about the industry through the ‘stories’ told\ud by the workers themselves concerning their occupational experiences. The\ud stories often involve disputes between those who perceive others to be\ud ‘outsiders’ to their own group. I employ the concept of embodying agency\ud when referring to the activity and experience of shopfitters within their own\ud ‘insider’ world, and introduce the term structuring agency to identify outsider\ud groups according to the narrative presentations of the respondents. These\ud descriptions are contingent upon the relationship between the narrator and\ud listener group in the present, and also upon ‘remembered’ associations from the\ud historical and recent past, which may be skilfully combined to produce a\ud coherent narrative. The narrative itself then forms part of the ‘remembered’\ud history of the group, and serves to consolidate a person’s position as an insider\ud or outsider according to his accrual of shopfitting capital, earned through\ud storytelling expertise (Dilks, 2003)
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