Parallel Worlds: ‘This is How I Remember it … This is How it Was. It Could Have Happened to Anyone’

Part of book or chapter of book English OPEN
Dilks, Helen (2005)
  • Publisher: University of Huddersfield
  • Subject: BF | HD

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).
  • References (6)

    Abma, T.A. (1999) 'Powerful Stories: The Role of Stories in Sustaining and Transforming Professional Practice Within a Mental Hospital', in R. Josselson and A. Lieblich (eds), Making Meaning of Narratives, pp.169- 196, Sage Publications, USA.

    Dilks, H.M. (2003) 'Parallel Worlds: Narrative 'Versions' and Cultural Exchange in an Occupational Environment', in D. Robinson, C. Horrocks, N. Kelly and B. Roberts (2004) (eds) Narrative, Memory & Identity: Theoretical and Methodological Issues, University of Huddersfield Press.

    Farr, J. (2000) Artisans in Europe 1300-1914, Cambridge University Press.

    Giddens, A. (1991, reproduced 1996) Modernity and Self-Identity: Self and Society in the Late Modern Age, Cambridge Polity Press.

    Penn, (1986) 'Socialization into Skilled Identities: An Analysis of a Neglected Phenomenon', unpublished paper, Labour Process conference, April.

    Sahlins, (1989) cited in Farr, J. (2000)

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