Call for Papers: Stories in social organization

Guest Editor: Alexandra Georgakopoulou-Nunes, King’s College London

Extended deadline for manuscript submission: March 15th, 2014

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Social organization relies, among others, on accounts of action, involving the use of social categories and vocabularies of motive (Mills, 1940) to portray meaningful characters engaged in intelligible missions. Stories are often used in accounts, offering a valuable form for rendering experience intelligible.

We invite contributions that explore the use of stories for social organization, at multiple levels and in various settings (De Fina & Georgakopoulou, 2012).

Some of the research questions that may guide reflections include, without being limited to, the following:

-               How are stories produced in conversation? How do speakers organize talk sequentially to mark the delivery of stories (Jefferson, 1978; Stokoe & Edwards, 2006), and how do they respond to storytelling?

-               What types of actions can be accomplished through story formatted sequences and what are their affordances compared to other formatting options (Sidnell, 2010)?

-               How can we analyze stories by taking into account the social interaction in which their authors are involved (Norrick, 2007)? How are ‘small stories’ (Georgakopoulou, 2006, 2007) designed for situated exchanges, and what are their interactional effects?

-               How are stories used in organizational settings (Blazkova, 2011)? How are stories resources for concerted action in organizations, portraying types of members, or actions that are possible, impossible, Quixotescue, or heroic?

-               How is storytelling learned, and how is it adapted to various stages and settings of life (Bruner, 1990)? How do adults tell stories to children, and how do children tell stories to adults? How is storytelling institutionally organized – in courtrooms, in hospitals, in schools, at workplaces?

-               How are selves sustained through storytelling (Dennett, 1992)?

-               How are stories used for identity making (Schwalbe & Mason-Schrock, 1996)  and display, including gender or age performances (West & Zimmerman, 1987; Laz, 1998) ?


Blazkova, H. (2011). Telling Tales of Professional Competence: Narrative in 60-Second Business Networking Speeches. Journal of Business Communication, 48(4), 446–463.

Bruner, J. S. (1990). Acts of Meaning. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

De Fina, A., & Georgakopoulou, A. (2012). Analyzing Narrative. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Dennett, D. (1992). The self as a center of narrative gravity. In F. Kessel, P. Cole, & D. Johnson (Eds.), Self and Consciousness: Multiple Perspectives (pp. 103–115). Hillsdale: Erlbaum.

Georgakopoulou, A. (2006). Thinking big with small stories in narrative and identity analysis. Narrative Inquiry, 16(1), 122–130.

Georgakopoulou, A. (2007). Small Stories, Interaction and Identities. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Jefferson, G. (1978). Sequential aspects of storytelling in conversation. In J. Schenkein (Ed.), Studies in the Organisation of Conversational Interaction (pp. 219–248). New York: Academic Press.

Laz, C. (1998). Act Your Age. Sociological Forum, 13(1), 85–113. doi:10.1023/A:1022160015408

Mills, C. W. (1940). Situated Actions and Vocabularies of Motive. American Sociological Review, 5(6), 904–913.

Norrick, N. (2007). Conversational storytelling. In D. Herman (Ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Narrative (pp. 127–141). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Schwalbe, M. L., & Mason-Schrock, D. (1996). Identity work as group process. Advances in Group Processes, 13, 113–147.

Sidnell, J. (2010). Conversation Analysis: An Introduction. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

Stokoe, E. H., & Edwards, D. (2006). Story formulations in talk-in-interaction. Narrative Inquiry, 16(1), 56–65.

West, C., & Zimmerman, D. H. (1987). Doing gender. Gender & Society, 1(2), 125–151.

This Call for Papers is supported by the research project “Sociological imagination and disciplinary orientation in applied social research”, with the financial support of ANCS / UEFISCDI with grant no. PN-II-RU-TE-2011-3-0143, contract 14/28.10.2011.