Through Thick and Thin: How Views of Identity Affect Listening for a Story in Portraiture

Laurie R. Matthias, Emery Petchauer


This article illustrates how different conceptions of narrative identity shape the ways that researchers listen for stories in the research approach of portraiture. To do so, we explore the methodological details of two portraiture studies, one on the integration of religious faith and learning among college professors and another on college student participation in hip-hop culture. In this exploration, we illustrate how psychosocial and storied resource perspectives of identity in each study shape the positioning of participant voices as resonant, dissonant, or excluded altogether. Overall, we look beyond issues of researcher reflexivity to elucidate one of the distinguishing features of portraiture and call for coherency between key constructs such as narrative identity and the different elements of qualitative research processes more generally.

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