“instigating”: storytelling as social process



This paper investigates a particular form of storytelling, instigating, that occurs within a gossip-dispute activity called “he-said-she-said.” Through the storytelling a party is informed about another person's having committed the offense of talking about her behind her back. The larger framework of the dispute provides organization for the storytelling process in several ways: (1) it provides structure for the cited characters and their activities within the story; (2) it influences the types of analysis recipients must engage in to appropriately understand the story; (3) it makes relevant specific types of next moves by recipients: for example, evaluations of the offending party's actions during the story, pledges to future courses of action near the story's ending, and rehearsals of future events at story completion and upon subsequent retellings. [conversation analysis, social organization, narrative, gossip, situational analysis, Black English Vernacular]