Dilks, Helen (2005) Parallel Worlds: ‘This is How I Remember it … This is How it Was. It Could Have Happened to Anyone’. In: Narrative, Memory & Everyday Life. University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield, pp. 211-222.

The opportunity for this research was provided by my links through
employment within the shopfitting industry over a period of approximately ten
years, during which time I have investigated the relationship between formal
employment law and the practical application in the lives of the workers. In the
process I have learned a great deal about the industry through the ‘stories’ told
by the workers themselves concerning their occupational experiences. The
stories often involve disputes between those who perceive others to be
‘outsiders’ to their own group. I employ the concept of embodying agency
when referring to the activity and experience of shopfitters within their own
‘insider’ world, and introduce the term structuring agency to identify outsider
groups according to the narrative presentations of the respondents. These
descriptions are contingent upon the relationship between the narrator and
listener group in the present, and also upon ‘remembered’ associations from the
historical and recent past, which may be skilfully combined to produce a
coherent narrative. The narrative itself then forms part of the ‘remembered’
history of the group, and serves to consolidate a person’s position as an insider
or outsider according to his accrual of shopfitting capital, earned through
storytelling expertise (Dilks, 2003).

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