“Too Much Cream on the Tacos”: Narrative and Moral Personhood in Transfronterizo Experience

Brendan H. O'Connor


Building on prior analyses of storytelling in migrant and transnational contexts (e.g. Baynham, 2014; De Fina, 2003; Haviland, 2005; Warriner, 2013), this article draws on research with transfronterizo (border-crossing) university students in South Texas to explore how transnational speakers use narrative to craft moral arguments in trying times. The article focuses on a single, lengthy narrative from a transfronteriza undergraduate named Araís in order to demonstrate how her narrative practice contributes to her “ideological becoming” (Bakhtin, 1981). That is, the analysis shows that the structural, textual, and dialogic features of Araís’s narrative are connected both to her emergent, dialogic understanding of her self and to value projects, or efforts to (re)shape the social world, implied in her narrative (Agha, 2015). The analysis illuminates the ethical affordances of transfronterizo narrative—i.e., the opportunities that storytelling offered transfronterizo students to evaluate their own and others’ actions in moral terms. Based on this analysis, I suggest implications for our understanding of narrative and moral personhood among transfronterizo students and other migrant and transnational subjects.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.24974/amae.12.2.398


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