Developing Autonomy for Tellers, Tales, and Telling in Family Narrative Events
Abstract Dinner-table conversations are contexts in which children become socialized to local cultural rules regulating storytelling and may be able to achieve autonomy in telling stories, as tellers of stories, and in the content or tale recounted. Conversations from five American and five Israeli middle-class families and five American working-class families matched on family constellation generated 33, 40, and 15 narratives, respectively. Each of the groups demonstrated a different pattern on dimensions such as who participated in telling narratives, who initi-ated narratives, and how secondary narrators participated; Israeli family narra-tives were more collaborative but with relatively little child participation, whereas American middle-class children participated more by initiating their own narratives and American working-class children narrated in response to adult elicitation. All three groups demanded fidelity to truth and coherence in the tales children told, but many more of the narratives told in Israeli families had to do with events known to all the family members, whereas American children told stories about events unfamiliar to at least some family members. (Communication)
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