‘Troubling Narratives: Identity Matters’ Conference

'Troubling Narratives: Identity Matters' Conference

Wed, 09 Jul 2014 12:40:00 BST

“...how narratives and story-telling are central to how we understand and establish social reality, our identities and our communities...”

The University’s long held tradition of hosting conferences on narrative research was recently reinstated as the Troubling Narratives: Identity Matters conference took place in June.  

The conference attracted over a 120 attendees and papers were presented by over 70 speakers from both the UK and abroad.  

Narrative research, which traces how narratives and story-telling are central to how we understand and establish social reality, our identities and our communities, is used in a broad range of disciplines including sociology, psychology and education.  

Following the conference theme of identity matters, speakers addressed a variety of topics such as sexuality, gender, work, consumption, ethnicity, youth, ageing and religion.

Key discussions included how ‘troubles’ surrounding contemporary narratives of identity involve various interconnections between heard, misheard, unheard and silenced narratives.  Many of the papers also focused on issues of narrative methodologies in changing social contexts and the relationship between large social narratives surrounding identities and smaller individual narratives that may change across different social contexts.  

This latter focus was explicitly addressed by the two keynote speakers for the event, Professor Ken Plummer, from the University of Essex, and Professor Ann Phoenix, from the University of London.  Both speakers provided an overview of what they saw to be current challenges within narrative research and each highlighted the significance of large and small stories, and their relationship, to the ongoing development of the field.

Several of the conference organisers presented their research at the conference.  Dr Tracey Yeadon-Lee presented findings from her new research project concerning non-binary identities and discussed non-binary identity narratives within internet blogs.  Dr Gráinne McMahon explored the narratives of a group of ‘persistent and serious young offenders’ as they moved through the youth justice process and Dr Jo Woodiwiss presented her work on the role of dominant narratives and narrative frameworks in women’s accounts of childhood sexual abuse.

The conference was organised by Dr Tracey Yeadon-Lee, Dr Gráinne McMahon, Dr Abigail Locke, Dr Jo Woodiwiss and Dr Sharon Wray from the Institute for Research in Citizenship and Applied Human Sciences and by Dr Yvonne Downs from the Financial Ethics and Governance Research Group.  

  • The Troubling Narratives conference is held every two years at the University of Huddersfield.

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