Dilks, Helen (2004) Parallel Worlds: Narrative ‘Versions’ and Cultural Exchange in an Occupational Environment. In: Narrative, Memory & Identity: Theoretical and Methodological Issues. University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield, pp. 223-232.

The concept of ‘narrativity’ has emerged as a powerful communicative device
employed by workers for the creation and maintenance of group identity in
transient occupational situations. This paper explores the negotiation of
identity and practice by workers in the shopfitting industry as they move
between ‘parallel worlds’ according to differentiation by gender, ethnicity and
age. The nature and authenticity of narrativity as a research device is examined,
and the most prominent narrative themes are discussed in terms of their
usefulness as boundary ‘markers’. It is argued that narratives serve a dual
purpose by providing the means for capital accrual within the occupational
environment, and for the dissemination of collective knowledge within and
between parallel worlds. The substantive relation of ‘truth’ to the ‘event’
described in narratives depends to an extent upon the actual, or the perceived’
nature of the relationship between the narrator and the listener. The
presentation of different ‘versions’ is considered as a means of achieving
temporary rapport between groups and individuals whose identities are
constantly changing, and the ability of various agents to adapt their
presentation in order to negotiate a balance of power is examined.

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