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Storytelling Sociology: Narrative as Social Inquiry

Ronald J. Berger and Richard Quinney, editors
Storytelling Sociology: Narrative as Social Inquiry
ISBN: 978-1-58826-295-0
ISBN: 978-1-58826-271-4
ISBN: 978-1-62637-854-4
2004/307 pages/LC: 2004007780

"Readers will be fascinated by Storytelling Sociology. Framing narrative as social inquiry, offering a fresh, inviting slant on the sociological enterprise, it could become a staple for introductory courses."—James A. Holstein, Marquette University

"This is an important book. I found myself completely engaged with the subject matter—and delighted to read a collection of narratives sensitive to the social and cultural nuances that in the end shape the narratives that we are able to tell."—Amy Best, San Jose State University


This exciting new book is about the narrative turn in sociology, an approach that views lived experience as constructed, at least in part, by the stories that people tell about it.

The book is organized around four themes—family and place, the body, education and work, and the passage of time—that tell a story about the life course and touch on a wide range of enduring sociological topics. The first chapter explores some of the theories of narrative that mark contemporary social analysis. Introductions to the four sections identify the sociological themes that the essays reflect. The heart of the book, however, is not about narrative but of narrative: scholars who have been involved in class, racial/ethnic, gender, sexual orientation, and disability studies compellingly write about their own life experiences.

Storytelling Sociology is essential reading for all those who want to learn about narrative inquiry, teach about it, or develop a "storied" approach in their own work.


Ronald J. Berger is professor emeritus of sociology at the University of Wisconsin–Whitewater. His previous publications include Wheelchair Warrior (with Melvin Juette) and Juvenile Delinquency and Justice (with Paul Gregory). Richard Quinney is professor emeritus of sociology at Northern Illinois University. Author of such classics as The Social Reality of Crime and Class, State, and Crime: On the Theory and Practice of Criminal Justice, his recent publications include For the Time Being: Ethnography of Everyday Life.


  • The Narrative Turn in Social Inquiry—the Editors.
  • Introduction—the Editors.
  • Searching for Yellowstone—N.K. Denzin.
  • Twin Towers—N. Olivencia.
  • Remembering George Washington on the Rio Grande—A.J. Trevino.
  • My Ain Folk: Scottish Oral History and the Sociological Imagination—J.H. Faley.
  • Everyone Else: Becoming Jewish—T. Platt.
  • Walking with Lao Tzu at Auschwitz—D. Clinton.
  • Introduction—the Editors.
  • Becoming Quasimodo: The Shaping of a Life—W.E. Powell.
  • No Body is Exempt: Beauty Compulsion and Resistance in Japan—L. Miller.
  • Mama's Always on Stage: The Absuridity of the Pregnant Academic—D. Vandegrift.
  • Sexual Boundaries: Trespasses into Chaos—M. Ryersbach.
  • The Razor's Edge: Narcotics and the Embodiment of Trauma—D. Schaefer.
  • Hoop Dreams on Wheels—R.J. Berger.
  • Introduction—the Editors.
  • How I Started My Life in Crime--S. Balkan.
  • Born Illegal—S.C. Richards.
  • Telling Tales: Journey of an Itinerant Storyteller—R.A. Mello.
  • Silence of the Lambs: The Architecture of the Abattoir—C. Corroto.
  • Working Class Heroes: Rinaldo Cappellini and the Anthracite Mineworkers—R.P. Wolensky.
  • A Road Less Traveled—J. Horton.
  • It Means Something: The Ghosts of War—W.B. Brown.
  • Introduction—the Editors.
  • The Glowing of Such Fire—R. Quinney.