SYMP 240 - At the conjunction of the theory and method: A dynamic narrating approach
A dynamic narrating approach (Daiute, 2010; 2014) we present in this symposium is a methodological embodiment of a cultural-historical activity theory premise of the interdependence of the individual with the social, the material, and the historical. Dynamic narrating is dialectical in the sense that it does not study the problems while they ‘stand still’; rather, it allows us to study phenomena in movement, historically, and relationally as they develop. All research studies presented here were designed following the principle that narrating is a dynamic relational activity; that people use narrating to interact with others (actually present or implied), their environments, and themselves, in diverse ways. In order to account for this life-like diversity in narrating, each study involved participants in multiple narrating activities, employing diverse narrative genres, created for different purposes and directed toward different audiences. These diverse designs involving New York City students, war survivors from Sarajevo, international students in Italy, and students and teachers from Massachusetts, allowed for multiple perspectives within the issues explored in each respective study. Since the issues that participants mention in their narratives are likely determined by the present or implied readers and listeners of the narrative (Bakhtin, 1986; Holquist, 1990), eliciting narratives from multiple stakeholders’ perspectives gives sound to voices that would otherwise remain silent had we included only one stakeholder’s stance. Allowing for complexity and examining how individuals use narrating in relation to multiple contexts is particularly important given the diversity of the environments our study participants navigate on a daily basis.