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‘On MSN with buff boys’: Self- and other-identity claims in the context of small stories

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This is a study of self- and other-identity claims such as ascriptions, assessments and categorizations in the classroom interactional data of female adolescent students of a London comprehensive school. The study follows an identities-in-interaction approach and attends to the occurrence of identity claims in stories of recent mediated interactions (e.g. on MSN, by text) between tellers and male suitors, which I collectively call small stories. In a narrative-interactional analysis of such claims in two small stories, I postulate a distinction between taleworld and telling identity claims that allows me to show how the sequential context of the claims has implications for their interactional uptake. I specifically focus on the relational organization of the identity claims in contrastive pairs of positive and negative attributes and on their contribution to the stories' tellership rights and tellability. My main aim is to show how identity claims can be intimately linked with and discursively invoke solidified roles (cf. known, habitual) that hold above and beyond the local context. I argue that the three interactional features of iterativity, narrativity and stylization hold the key to uncovering the links between identity claims with solidified roles.

Keywords: Identity claims; breaking news; small stories; solidified roles; taleworld-telling

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: King's College London

Publication date: 2008-11-01

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