• How do narrators position themselves to themselves? How is language employed to make claims that the narrator holds to be true and relevant above and beyond the local conversational situation? (p. 337)

In the specific context of first-hand literacy narratives, we have observed that individuals position themselves relationally—both positively and negatively—to parents and other family members who help establish personal literacy values; literacy sponsors who provide entrés and support for literate activities (Brandt, 1995); teachers who might employ literacy activities to punish, reward, or rank readers and writers; peers who might share and/or resist a storyteller’s literacy practices and values; and librarians who might encourage (or discourage) the reading of specific books or reading in general, among many other individuals and groups.

What these explanations have in common, we believe, is a recognition that individuals who tell autobiographical narratives, who select and order their experiences, who describe their social relationships within the landscapes of such stories, have the opportunity to foreground their own discursive identifications and to represent some of the more productive aspects of their lives and identities in ways that are satisfying to them and provide a vector for future actions as well.

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An individual emerges through the processes of social interaction, not as a relatively fixed end product but as one who is constituted and reconstituted through the various discursive practices in which they participate. Accordingly, who one is, one's identity, is always an open question with a shifting answer depending upon the positions made available within one’s own and others’ discursive practices and within those practices, the stories through which we make sense of our own and others’ lives….Human beings are characterized both by continuous personal identity and by discontinuous personal diversity.

(Davis and Harre, 1990, p. 46)