Annual Symbolic Interaction Conference

Whose side are we on? Power, Stigma, Transgression and Exclusion in Everyday Life

4,5,6 July 2018

University of Lancaster

For more info:

Ken Plummer:

“Whose Side Are We On?” Revisited: On Narrative Power, Inequality and Hope

‘To have values or not to have values: the question is always with us’. And so Howard S. Becker opened his celebrated Presidential Address, Whose Side are we on? at the American Society for the Study of Social Problems in 1967. Today, a half-century later, this conference returns to this puzzle – and Becker, with his key idea of the ‘hierarchy of credibility’.  My talk will briefly review Becker and some key developments since that time, before introducing some current thinking about narrative power, narrative inequalities and narrative injustice, sketching out a basic model of intersectional and locational power which highlights Domination, Exclusion, Negotiation and Resistance. I will look at a wide range of examples where these processes are featured and suggest many of us tacitly work with this in our studies.  I end with a discussion of narrative hope – built up from five key positive political practices: narrative recognition, narrative dialogic belonging, narrative justice, narrative citizenship and narrative flourishing.

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