Negotiating Identity and Power during a Crisis: An Analysis of ‘Small Stories’ Told by Australian Christian Priests during the COVID-19 Health Crisis

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Abstract

The COVID-19 outbreak in 2020 and localised government responses have led to fundamental changes in the conditions in which organisations operate. This article draws on a social constructionist understanding of identity as multiple and performed (Angouri 2016; Butler 1990) to explore the experiences of a group of six Australian Christian priests during this crisis period. Drawing on in-depth interview data, the article presents a narrative analysis of the storying of identities and power relations within church communities whose everyday activities were suddenly curtailed. In contrast to linguistic studies of narrative which often focus on structural features of canonical discourse ‘events’, this article takes up Bamberg and Georgakopoulou’s (2008) extension of narrative analysis to focus on ‘small stories’ which reflect the everyday, situated practices in which identities and power relations are negotiated and performed. This article contributes unique insights into the operation and practices of religious organisations in a crisis context.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberhttps://doi.org/10.1163/15700682-12341534
Pages (from-to)25-43
Number of pages18
JournalMethod and Theory in the Study of Religion
Volume34
Issue number1-2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 Dec 2021

Keywords

  • Crisis, narrative, small stories, identity, power, Christian, priests

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