How Socialization Happens on the Ground
This monograph builds upon our cumulative efforts to investigate personal storytelling as a medium of socialization in two disparate cultural worlds. Drawing upon interdisciplinary fields of study that take a discourse-centered approach to socialization, we combined ethnography, longitudinal home observations, and micro-level analysis of everyday talk to study this problem in Taiwanese families in Taipei and European-American families in Longwood, Chicago. Comparative analyses of 192 hours, of video-recorded observations revealed that conversational stories of young children's past experiences occurred in both sites at remarkably similar rates and continued apace across the age span, yielding nearly 900 narrations. These and other similarities coexisted with differences in cultural salient interpretive frameworks and participant roles, forming distinct socialization pathways. The Taipei families enacted a didactic framework, prolifically and elaborately narrating and correcting children's misdeeds.
These findings open a window on how socialization operates on the ground: Socialization through personal storytelling is a highly dynamic process in which redundancy and variation are conjoined and children participate as active, creative, affectively engaged meaning makers.