|Author(s)||Ann-Carita Evaldsson, Helen Melander Bowden|
|Title||Co-constructing a child as disorderly: Moral character work in narrative accounts of upsetting experiences|
|Tag(s)||EMCA, Narrative, Accounts, Affect, Stance, Morality, Accountability, Character work, Adult-child interaction, Disorderly, In press|
|Journal||Text & Talk|
This study explores how displays of strong emotions in narrative accounts of emotional experiences provide a context for invoking moral accountabilities, including the shaping of the teller’s character. We use a dialogical approach (i.e., ethnomethodology, linguistic anthropology) to emotions to explore how affective stances are performed, responded to and accounted for in episodes of narrative accounts. The analysis is based on a case study that centers on how a child’s walkout from a peer dispute is managed retrospectively in narrative constructions in teacher-child interaction. It is found that the targeted child uses heightened affect displays (crying, sobbing, and prosodic marking), to amplify feelings of distress and stance claims (incorporating reported speech and extreme case formulations) of being badly treated. The heightened stance claims work to justify an oppositional moral stance towards the reported events while projecting accountability to others. The child’s escalated resistance provides a ground for the teacher’s negative uptakes (negative person ascriptions, counter narratives, and third-party reports). The findings shed light on how narrative renderings of upsetting experiences easily become indexical of the teller’s moral character and adds to dispositional features of being over-reactive and disorderly, in ways that undermine a child’s social position.