Hiles, David (2007) Identity Positioning: Narrative Analysis of Sjuzet and Fabula. In: Narrative and Memory. University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield, pp. 33-41.

In this paper I will argue that identity is the product of at least two processes –
subject positioning and identity positioning. While the focus of much of the
previous research in this field has largely been on subject positioning, it would
seem clear that we can also participate to a greater or lesser extent in the
construction of our own identities. I propose that we achieve these identity
positions primarily through narrative – through the stories we construct of the
person we are. Crucial to understanding the role that narrative plays in the
construction of identity is the distinction between sjuzet – the way in which a
story is being re-told, and fabula – the content of that story. The analysis of
these features is particularly supported by Herman and Vervaeck’s (2001)
distinction between “unbounded” and “bounded” motifs in narrative. In
exploring this distinction, it turns out that the sjuzet (the unbounded motifs) is
especially important in understanding the construction of identity positions.
This approach is applied to the analysis of holocaust narratives collected by the
Imperial War Museum Sound Archive. These testimonies offer a constant
theme of the struggle for identity in the face of overwhelming atrocities, horror
and suffering.

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