Edited by Allyssa McCabe and Dorien Van De Mieroop
[Narrative Inquiry 31:1] 2021
► pp. 72–96
Humans are prone to tell stories when they interact with each other. Knowing how many stories we tell in a day could be a difficult endeavor, especially because what counts as “a story” varies across disciplines and cultures. Narratives have always been primary modes in human communication and engagement across cultures, however, and have been used as key analytical tools across numerous disciplines in the social sciences and beyond. While defining narratives has been a daunting task in narratological studies, it is important to appreciate that narratives have also been studied for their pragmatic effects in the here-and-now of speech participants’ interactions and across various spatiotemporal configurations. Through an analysis of a set of narrative practices that I collected in Senegal (West Africa) and in Northern Italy in interview settings, I demonstrate that narratives are also performative interactional events in which their sociocultural surrounding is always fluid and can influence the story in unpredictable ways as it unfolds in interaction.