Evaluating place in orientations of narratives of internal migration: 'Mississippi is just like a boring place to me'


This study examines the evaluation of place in orientation sequences of narratives of internal migration to the Southern United States. Unlike other narratives of displacement, narratives of internal migration foreground talk about the here and now in which tellers evaluate place as an important aspect of narrative meaning-making. The current study draws on five narratives of internal migration told during research interviews about growing up bilingual in the South to examine how the South (and other places) are evaluated by young bilingual adults in the region. This study demonstrates how evaluations of place provide a resource for constructing narrators' authority, moral positions, and belonging in relation to two main stereotypical narratives of the South, i.e. as a racialized and racist place or as a moral and hospitable place. The study has implications for understanding the construction of place and self identity in narrative as well as processes of migration of immigrant families within the U.S.

Publication Title

Narrative Inquiry