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Identity in Communicative Contexts


Kamila Ciepiela

The central focus of the book is the identification of the ways people engage in communicative encounters to (re)constitute personal and social identities. Its aim is to identify some principal themes that have emerged from the ample research on identity in a variety of contexts. A common thread of the articles is the role of language in the construction and performance of identities. It embraces an exploration of the sociocultural environments in which human communication takes place, the interplay between these environments, and the construction and display of identities through our communicative performances. Research located in a range of literary, sociological, psychological and linguistic perspectives is used to illustrate the potential of communication in establishing a sense of identity.

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Emotion-identity management through talk: Anger talk in young Israeli men’s accounts on a negative experience


Abstract The nexus between emotions and identities has long been accepted. Moving away from macro categories of group-identity, the present study takes a micro-sociologist perspective in focusing on individuals’ emotion management as related to accomplishing identity tasks in interaction. Using natural talk in conversation, we propose a micro-analysis of the unfolding of different emotion-identity strategies throughout a specific encounter. In a previous study we examined the verbal performance of young Israeli men during an offensive bargaining-episode. The present study focuses on 12 of these subjects’ retrospective accounts of this negative experience during an unstructured interview. Assuming that the interview setting imposes on interviewees certain interactional rules, notably the expectation to perform emotion-exposure, we ask how these speakers abide such expectations in accordance with their broader cultural models of self. Analysis shows that without being asked specifically about emotions, all our interviewees invoked anger in their narratives, however differently: 1. their accounts of the aggressive bargaining-episode divided between stories of Emotion & Relations – where anger works as a moral justification to one’s action – and Control & Strategy stories – where anger talk is avoided. 2. Solicited to reminisce other negative past events in their life, most of the interviewees invoked anger, but split between extensive anger talk and anger attenuation. These differences are explained by different framings of the offence to their self-image, on the personal vs. social levels, in terms of different models of self – individualist-centered vs. collectivist-oriented. These findings provide insights on the emotional versatility of individuals sharing...

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