The Relevance of the Interplay between Positioning and Narratives in the Study of Cultural Identity Negotiation in Classroom Interactions.

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 16:15
Oral Presentation
Sara AMADASI, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy, Department of Studies on Language and Culture, Italy
In the last decade, in the field of linguistic and sociological studies, positioning theory has been adopted to investigate classrooms interactions (e.g. Menard-Warwick 2008; Katz,DaSilva Iddings, 2009; Yamakawa et al. 2005)

Against this backdrop, this paper aims to focus on the operational interplay between positionings and narratives in interactions in intercultural classrooms.

In particular, the interest is directed on how the dynamism of these two concepts allows to study the construction and negotiation of cultural identity inside classroom groups in an institutional context.

By analyzing empirical data collected in workshops with children with migration backgrounds and experiencing frequent international journeys, I will focus on how participants engages at an interactional level and play with different available positionings and stories.

In particular, the interplay between positionings and narratives in communicative processes where multiple choices related to belonging and cultural affiliation are available, is relevant to reflect upon what children choose to reveal about their own personal experiences, their negotiations, and how they decide to employ these narrative choices in relation to the context and the interactional environment to show certain aspects of their cultural identity.

In this sense, observing identities’ negotiation from this point of view, offers an insight into participants' agency and choice possibilities in contexts that present multiple but also conflicting and ambivalent opportunities. Culture, identity and belonging are therefore here observed as products of linguistic and interactional processes. This approach avoids and criticizes an essentialist understanding of these concepts which look at participants to a social event through the lens of pre-existent cultural features merely based on a specific national affiliation.