Narrating transgressions in Longwood: The discourses, meanings, and paradoxes of an American socializing practice

Peggy J. Miller, Todd L. Sandel, Chung-Hui Liang, Heidi Fung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations

Abstract

The goal of this study is to deepen our understanding of a set of narrative practices in European-American families in which young children's transgressions are down-played or erased, a pattern that is cast in relief by the frequent, foregrounded narration of young children's transgressions in Taiwanese families. Evidence from the mothers' folk theories is used to illuminate these patterns, revealing that the pattern is reversed with respect to the narration of parental transgressions. The Taipei mothers treat parents' past misdeeds as undermining of adult authority and thereby not narratable to children, whereas the Longwood mothers regard parental misdeeds, including "hell-raising," as highly reportable for their humor and their power to humanize parents. These findings are discussed in relation to contrasting ideals and understandings of the dynamics of selves over time.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-186
Number of pages28
JournalEthos
Volume29
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2001

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