1st Edition

Small Stories Research Tales, Tellings, and Tellers Across Contexts

    332 Pages 24 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This collection showcases the diversity and disciplinary breadth of small stories research, highlighting the growing critical mass of scholarship on small stories and its reach beyond discourse and sociolinguistic perspectives.

    The volume both takes stock of and seeks to advance the development of small stories research by Alexandra Georgakopoulou and Michael Bamberg, as a counterpoint to conventional models in narrative studies, one which has accounted for "atypical" yet salient activities in everyday life, such as fragmentation and open-endedness, anchoring onto the present, and co-constructive dimensions in stories and identities. With data from different languages and contexts, emphasis is placed on the analytical aspects of the paradigm toward producing models for the analysis of structures, textual and interactional choices, and genres of small stories. Chapters on the role and commodification of small stories in digital environments reflect on the paradigm’s recent extension to the analysis of social media communication.

    This book will appeal to scholars interested in narrative inquiry and narrative analysis, in such fields as sociolinguistics, literary studies, communication studies, and biographical studies.


    List of Figures

    List of Tables

    List of Contributors



    Part I Small stories and big stories: Beyond binaries 

    1. The narrative structure of small stories

    3. Dialogue, Small Stories, and Exile Identities in Mario Benedetti's Historias de París

    5. Valérie Mréjen: Small stories ‘out of order’

    7. Are small stories another category of narrating?

    9. Reimagining personal stories on social media
    10. ANA GARNER

      Part II Ways of telling: Genres and resources 

    11. World attending in the urban landscape: noticings as small stories
    12. LEOR COHEN

    13. Moving through a moving (storied) world: small stories and their contribution to ethnographic studies of place

    15. "That was rude": metapragmatic impoliteness evaluations in breaking news small stories

    17. Storying taken-for-granted futureworlds in hair-salon ‘future busy stories’

    19. Projective small stories invoking policy paths in parliamentary debates: Narrating
    20. outcome, performance, and responsibilities


      Part III: Participation & Positioning 

    21. Small Stories in mass media: Coalescent themes and tactics in Trump’s Twitter presidency

    23. Telling the small, fragmented and "in-complete" about experiences with sexual violations: Narrative stancetaking in feminist hashtag storytelling practices on Twitter in Sweden

    25. Small Stories in Oral Histories: Multimodal Analyses of Narratives about Extreme Sensory Experiences

    27. Stories (not) to be told: a glimpse at resistance toward ‘hot topics’ in psychotherapy

    29. Telling-by-doing life as a mother in YouTube vlogs



    Contributor Information


    Leor COHEN is Current Head of the English Unit at The Open University, Israel and Chair of H-INET (Higher Education in Israel Network of English Teachers). Previous posts include Head of the English Unit at Afeka, College of Engineering in Tel Aviv-Yafo. Completed doctorate at Bar-Ilan University in 2011 and Postdoctoral Visiting Research Fellowship at the Language Discourse & Communication Research Centre in King's College, London in 2015. Research interests include narrative, identity (Ethiopian Israeli youth), noticings, spatialization and mobility, as well as competitive talk within local interactional projects. Further research interests include classroom talk, the CEFR, and the relationship between the two.

    Cécile DE BARY is associate professor at the University Paris Cité. She published in 2014 Une nouvelle pratique littéraire en France. Le groupe Oulipo de 1960 à nos jours. She has also edited issue 9 of Cahiers Georges Perec and an issue of Itinéraires devoted to the fiction today (La Fiction aujourd’hui). After her thesis on Perec, she published numerous articles on this subject, on the novel of the 20th and 21st centuries, and on the Oulipo. She co-directs with Alain Schaffner the seminar Formes, contraintes, potentialités. In this context, she directed some colloquiums, on Anne Garréta in 2019, or about Oulipo and the knowledge (L’Oulipo et les Savoirs, published in the journal Formules).

    Fredrik EKLUND has a bachelor degree in Peace and Conflict studies from Umeå University (2011) and a Master’s degree in Gender studies from Lund university (2017). From 2018 and onwards he has been a PhD researcher and member of the 1767 Graduate school of Factual and Fictional Narration at Freiburg University. His PhD project is located in the triad of sociology, narrative analysis and media studies, in which investigates the hashtag feminist storytelling practices using the #metoo hashtag on Twitter in Sweden. He specializes in the multifaceted expressions of gender and violence, with particular focus on masculinity, militarized violence and gender dynamics within armed forces. Outside of academia he has gather a range of experiences and diverse perspectives through employments within social sector, Swedish penal system and Swedish armed forces, as well as commitments with anti-militarist and feminist organisation.

    Monika FLUDERNIK is Professor of English Literature at the University of Freiburg/Germany and the director of the graduate school "Factual and Fictional Narration" (GRK 1767) funded by the German Research Foundation. She studied English, Indo-European Philology, Mathematics and History at the University of Graz, Austria and did her PhD under the supervision of F. K. Stanzel on "Narrator's and Characters' Voices in Ulysses". Her habilitation book was published as The Fictions of Language and the Languages of Fiction (Routledge, 1993). She is the author of An Introduction to Narratology (Routledge, 2009) and of the award-winning Towards a ‘Natural’ Narratology (Routledge, 1996). Her book on Gabriel Josipovici, the British postmodernist novelist, Echoes and Mirrorings: Gabriel Josipovici’s Creative Oeuvre (2000), is the first monograph on this major contemporary writer.

    Philipp FREYBURGER studied History as well as French and Italian linguistics, and is currently a research assistant at the chair of Romance Linguistics in Freiburg, Germany (Prof. Dr. Stefan Pfänder). Philipp Freyburger has recently completed his thesis as part of the research project "Emergent Memories: Fragmented Syntax and Textual Construction in Contemporary Literature and Oral History". Following a comparative approach, this group of scholars from Freiburg and Zurich studied the production of autobiographical memories in literature and interviews. Objects of investigation were memory narratives in French, Italian and German, while focusing on the period of World War II. In association with this project group, Philipp Freyburger has published several peer reviewed articles on multimodal aspects of memory narratives.

    Ana Oliveira GARNER is a media lecturer and video maker, whose work focuses on the intersection of communication and education. In her doctoral thesis, she used participatory research to produce a critical analysis of personal narratives on social media. She has taught in universities in Hong Kong and her native Brazil. Currently, working as a learning designer in the United Kingdom, she uses active learning and storytelling techniques to create engaging and applied learning experiences.

    Mari HATAVARA is Professor of Finnish Literature and director of Narrare. Centre for Interdisciplinary Narrative Studies at Tampere University, Finland. Her research interests include interdisciplinary narrative theory and analysis, fictionality studies, intermediality and the poetics of historical fiction and metafiction. She specializes in the analysis of narrative voices across fictional and non-fictional narrative environments. During her professorship at Tampere University (since 2009), Hatavara has worked at Ohio State University Project Narrative (2019), York University Interdisciplinary Centre for Narrative Studies (2017), Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies (2016) and The Swedish Collegium for Advanced Studies (2011). Hatavara is coeditor of The Travelling Concepts of Narrative (2013), Narrative Theory, Literature, and New Media (2015), and special issues on Narrating Selves in Everyday Contexts (Style 2017), Narrating Selves from the Bible to Social Media (Partial Answers 2019) and Real Fictions. Fictionality, Factuality and Narrative Strategies in Contemporary Storytelling (Narrative Inquiry 2019).

    Rachel HEINRICHSMEIER is a Visiting Research Fellow at King’s College London. Her research and publications focus on identity construction in interaction, particularly older-age, gender and institutional identities, and combines a conversation analytic-informed discourse analysis with ethnographic methods. Her monograph, Ageing Identities and Women's Everyday Talk in a Hair Salon, was published by Routledge in Spring 2020.

    Michael HUMPHREY is an Assistant Professor of digital storytelling at Colorado State University. His research examines how narratives emerge on social media. He teaches narrative theory, ethics, analytics, audience analysis, and communication theory in the Department of Journalism and Media Communication. His journalistic work includes 10 years as a contributor at Forbes, where he covered the intersection of entertainment and digital media. He is also affiliated with the Oxford Centre for Life Writing, where he was selected a Visiting Scholar in 2019.

    Matti HYVÄRINEN, PhD, is a Research Director at the Tampere University in Finland. As a sociologist and political scientist by education, he has studied the conceptual history of narrative, master and counter narratives, and the narrative turns. He is the co-editor of the volumes The Travelling Concepts of Narrative (Benjamins 2013), and Beyond Narrative Coherence, (Benjamins 2010). He serves as the vice-director in the interdisciplinary research centre Narrare, at the Tampere University, and as an Editorial Board member in Narrative Inquiry and Narrative works and has been the PI in the Academy of Finland Research Project Voices of Democracy.

    William KELLEHER is Maître de Conférences with the LIDILE laboratory (Linguistic Engineering and Language Didactics) at the University of Rennes 2, France, attached to the department of Applied English Language Studies. He is also Research Associate with the Unit for Academic Literacy of the University of Pretoria, South Africa. He completed his doctoral and postdoctoral projects as ‘Innovation’ fellow with the South African National Research Foundation. Before studying for his doctorate, he was a teacher in the inner city in Johannesburg and Marseille. His research interests are linguistic ethnography and the links between narrative and place.

    Christopher KOPPERMANN studied psychology at Saarland University, Saarbrücken and Université René Descartes, Paris. During his studies, his research focused on cognitive psychology and organisational psychology. Specifically, on memory and the discrimination and impact of auditory primes, as well as the linguistic foundations of human-machine interaction. In 2009-2010, he worked as a research assistant at the German Research Centre for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI). In his diploma thesis, Mr Koppermann developed organizational bad news training in the layoff context. In 2015-2016, he assisted on the evaluation of a training study for doctor-patient conversations at the University Clinic for Psychosomatic Medicine in Freiburg. In 2021 he received his licence as a psychodynamic therapist (Psychoanalysis). As such he is practicing in a mental health clinic near Freiburg (Germany). His PhD-research at Freiburg University establishes a systematics for the analysis of agency in the psychotherapeutic conversation (forthcoming).

    Sylvie PATRON is an Associate Professor and Research Supervisor, and Head of the Paris Centre for Narrative Matters at Université Paris Cité, France. A specialist in the history and epistemology of literary narrative theory, she is the author of three books: Le Narrateur. Introduction à la théorie narrative (Paris: Armand Colin, 2009, reprinted as Le Narrateur. Un problème de théorie narrative, Limoges: Lambert-Lucas, 2016), forthcoming in English; La Mort du narrateur et autres essais (Lambert-Lucas, 2015), recently published in French; Trois études sur les Histoires de Paris de Mario Benedetti (Lambert-Lucas, 2020). She has edited or coedited six collections, among which Small stories: un nouveau paradigme pour les recherches sur le récit (Paris: Hermann, 2020) and Optional-Narrator Theory: Principles, Perspectives, Proposals (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2021), forthcoming in French. She was vice-president, then president of the International Society for the Study of Narrative from 2017 to 2020.

    Mikka Lene PERS has a background in social and clinical psychology from the University of Copenhagen. Mikka's doctoral research focuses on multimodal storytelling practices on social media. It is motivated by her interest in biographical and narrative interactional research on identity construction. Mikka's PhD research identifies narrative strategies adopted by social media influencers to promote themselves online. It shows how mummy vloggers construct branded influencer identities by managing multi-participatory, cross-platform activities that narrate how their family lives unfold. Mikka's research points to gains and risks faced by social media users who navigate commercialised, algorithmically regulated and increasingly directive social media environments. Mikka teaches, lectures, and supervises students in the fields of social and personality psychology, digital culture and communities, digital communication, narrative identity, and patient experiences.

    Hanna RAUTAJOKi works as a university lecture and researcher at Tampere University, Finland, in the Faculty of Social Sciences. Rautajoki is specialized in fine-grained etnomethodological analysis of social interaction in institutional settings. Her research focuses on discursive strategies actors deploy to further purposeful action in talk, specifically in political context. She has studied the rhetorics of conversational storytelling, argumentative and performative means of political address, and the use narrative positioning and identifications in political persuasion, publishing e.g. in Narrative Inquiry, Semiotica, and Journal of Language and Politics. Rautajoki has collaborated widely across interdisciplinary research settings, ranging from media studies, to political research, health sciences, psychology and literature research.

    Vasiliki SALOUSTROU is a PhD candidate in the Centre for Language, Discourse and Communication at King's College London, and an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (King’s College London). Her academic interests lie in the fields of im/politeness theory, narrative and identity analysis, and conversation analysis, while her thesis explores lay impoliteness evaluations in ongoing interaction and in narrative in Greek face-to-face naturally-occurring interactions. She has published her work in international journals (e.g. Text & Talk, Narrative Inquiry) and presented her research work in various national and international conferences.

    Brian SCHIFF is the Esmond Nissim Professor of Psychology and Director of the George and Irina Schaeffer Center for the Study of Genocide, Human Rights and Conflict Prevention at The American University of Paris.


    Alex Georgakopoulou is Professor of Discourse Analysis & Sociolinguistics, and Co-Director of the Centre for Language, Discourse & Communication, King’s College London. In joint (with Michael Bamberg) and solo work that stretches back to mid-2000s, she developed small stories research as a paradigm for the analysis of everyday life stories and identities.

    Korina Giaxoglou is Senior Lecturer in Applied Linguistics & English Language at The Open University, UK. She is the author of the research monograph A Narrative Approach to Social Media Mourning: Small Stories and Affective Positioning by Routledge.

    Sylvie Patron is Associate Professor and Research Supervisor, and Head of the Paris Centre for Narrative Matters, Université Paris Cité, France. She was Vice-President, then President of the International Society for the Study of Narrative from 2017 to 2020.