Narrative Control and Governmentality: Coherence Production in Identity Narratives. The Case of Young Adult Professionals Working under Flexible Employability in Chile

Vicente Sisto, Carla Fardella


In this paper we analyse the narrative control mechanisms which generate coherence in the elaboration of personal stories presented by professional individuals working under flexible employment conditions. We also examine how these personal stories function to articulate constructions of self in relation to attributes demanded by the conditions associated with patterns of flexible working. A discourse analysis of 32 job interviews with male and female young adult professionals in flexible employment in Chile was undertaken. One of the main aspects of the narratives is a general tendency to present oneself as a successful and enterprising individual. However, the coherence of the image constructed in the account tends to show certain fissures that may refute that constitution. When the narrator realizes the latter, he/she quickly tries to repair the account in order to maintain this coherence. Focusing our attention on this narrative coherence mechanism, and drawing on BAKHTIN's dialogical theory and discursive psychology, we demonstrate how these self narrative constructions involve certain control practices that connect the different forms people use to refer to themselves with the governmental strategies of contemporary societies. Through this analysis we intend to contribute to current discussions of how to empirically deal with the complex relation observed among narrative, identity and social organization.
URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0902292


identity; biographical narratives; narrative coherence; work; discourse analysis


Copyright (c) 2009 Vicente Sisto, Carla Fardella

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