Academic journal article The Qualitative Report

A Review of Anna De Fina and Alexandra Georgakopoulou's Analyzing Narrative: Discourse and Sociolinguistic Perspectives from a Natural Storytelling Environment

Academic journal article The Qualitative Report

A Review of Anna De Fina and Alexandra Georgakopoulou's Analyzing Narrative: Discourse and Sociolinguistic Perspectives from a Natural Storytelling Environment

Article excerpt

Sitting in the hand/wrist therapy room, while reading the first couple of chapters of Anna De Fina and Alexandra Georgakopoulou's 2012 book, Analyzing Narrative: Discourse and Sociolinguistic Perspectives, I disappeared into the work and didn't pay attention to what was going on around me. The first chapter reviewed the back-story of narrative analysis, where it all started and how it has progressed. It is a must-read for any beginner or veteran looking for an account on the history of narrative research that focuses on definitions, structure, and analysis. Chapter two discussed the pros and cons of Labov's model of narrative analysis, ethnopoetics and conversation analysis. Although Labov's model is the foundation of most narrative study, I've not attempted to code a narrative using this model. After reading chapter two regarding issues with coding, I'm glad I haven't. I'm a fan of ethnopoetics and the importance of the poetic feel of a narrative, but the down side is that interpretive analysis is often subjective. Conversational analysis was highlighted for the positive stance of narrative "talk-in-interaction" and chastised for its tendency to focus on the beginning and end of the story while ignoring the middle.

The serendipitous moments became evident while reading chapter three which focused on the connections between narrative and context and the narrative in social life. While reading the section on oral storytelling and cultural variability examples played out in the room around me. At first I stopped reading, but didn't look up. Like a hunter in a blind, I remained disinterested on the surface in hopes that they wouldn't notice the researcher in the room. I suppressed the random flicker of a grin at the corner of my mouth as a patient told the animated story of what event lead to hand/wrist therapy. Stories of misfortune shared between patients of different gender, cultural, and socioeconomic groups. There were differences in ways the stories were told (by the cheerleader, sheet metal worker, IT network supervisor, and local business owner), but the common ground kept the group engaged. The examples continued to play out another day while I read chapter four on the interactional nature during the stories telling. How the story began, how it unfolded and how it concluded. …

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