Emotion and Discourse in L2 Narrative Research Author: Matthew T. Prior

Hardback - 280 pages
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18 Nov 2015
Multilingual Matters
234 x 156


This book examines the interactional management of emotionality in second language autobiographical interview research. Advancing a discursive constructionist approach, it offers a timely methodological and reflexive perspective that brings into focus the dynamic and dilemmatic aspects of interviewee and interviewer identities and experiences, and it makes visible the often unexpected and unseen consequences for the research project and beyond. The author weaves together critical discussion and empirical analysis based on longitudinal, narrative-based research with adult immigrants from Southeast Asia living in the US and Canada. This interdisciplinary book will be compelling reading for students, researchers, and others interested in emotion, narrative, discourse, identity, interaction, interviews, and qualitative research.


Incisive, engaging, and thoughtful, this book deeply interrogates the role that emotions play in doing narrative research, and serves as an authoritative guide to how emotionality might be examined in interview studies. Well-illustrated with examples, it issues a strong challenge to interviewers to reflect and enact reflexivity. A pleasure to read, this book is essential reading for qualitative researchers. 

- Kathryn Roulston, University of Georgia, Athens, USA

In this thoughtful, sensitive and challenging study, Prior explores the collaborative and situated production of emotionality and identity in autobiographical research interviews with L2 migrants. Adopting a primarily ethnomethodological and conversation analytical approach, Prior is admirably dedicated to the principles of researcher reflexivity and his text sheds a powerful critical light on the often neglected interactional role of the interviewer in qualitative research and data gathering.

- Bethan Benwell, University of Stirling, UK

With an uncompromisingly meticulous micro-analysis of stories – funny, sad, poignant – from immigrants and refugees, this book delivers exactly what L2 interview-based narrative research needs (more of): a sustained critique of representational approaches to narrative and identities from a standpoint of a researcher who self-scrutinizes and does not hold back and who is equipped with a deep knowledge and rare respect for previous interactional studies of narrative. If that were not enough, the focus of inquiry is the under-represented topic of emotionality: you learn, feel, and enjoy as you embark on a journey of emotions being narrated, elicited, co-produced, reflected upon and done justice to as parts of complex, messy and so often troubled biographies.

- Alexandra Georgakopoulou, King's College London, UK

I think this book is relevant to L2 studies in the sense that the participants are all L2 speakers; however,
I see in this book an immense treasure for graduate students and researchers using qualitative methods and all related narrative inquiry fields. This book not only provides the most up-to-date theoretical explanations and frameworks in the field, it also addresses the answers to questions that surely graduate researchers were/are silently asking, but for which there was simply an ample absence of research. This book is a must for students of narrative inquiry.

- Discourse Studies 2017, Vol. 19(2) 234– 249 - Natasha Azarian-Ceccato, SKEMA Business School, France

Author Biography:

Matthew T. Prior is Assistant Professor in the Department of English at Arizona State University. His research interests include emotion and other socio-psychological dimensions of second language learning and use, multilingualism and identity, transcultural belonging, discursive constructionist approaches (narrative, conversation analysis, discursive psychology, membership categorization analysis), and qualitative methodologies.

Readership Level:

Postgraduate, Research / Professional

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