‘ You tell all the stories ’: Using narrative

  • Moore E
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Recent discussion of the Community of Practice (CofP) (Davies 2005) has suggested that there are certain limitations to the approach with regard to how it accounts for internal hierarchy and community membership. Eckert andWenger (2005: 588) have suggested that the onlyway to evaluate such criticism (and avoid building an inappropriately rigid conception of power into CofP theory) is to explore how hierarchies operate within CofPs. This paper offers such an exploration. Using data from a long-termethnographic study of a high school in the north-west of England, this paper will use narrative analysis (drawing upon the work of Labov and Waletsky [1967] 1997 amongst others) to explore the interactional space in which speakers actively negotiate their personal and community behaviour. The analysis focuses upon the role individuals play as narrators of community practice and illustrates that status inequalities between individual CofP members do not necessarily result in inequitable allocation of control within the CofP.

Author-supplied keywords

  • community of practice
  • hierarchy
  • identity
  • narrative
  • sociolinguistic icons

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  • Emma Moore

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