Research Overview


This page is currently under construction:

Each bullet will have a link to a separate page

(with a few words of elaboration and links to articles/chapters)


The Areas of my research interests span across four topics:

Ø    Language Acquisition/Narrative Development

Ø    Pre-Adolescence: Gender/Masculinity

Ø    Student Identities

Ø    Confessions

Theoretically, there are the following six clusters that are at the center of my work:

Ø    Developmental Theory

Ø    Interactionist/Discursive Approach

Ø    Identity Dilemmata (Dilemmas)

Ø    Narrative Theory and Analysis

Ø    Positioning Theory and Analysis

Ø    Qualitative Inquiry


OLD research platform (from 2001)

(Discourse <<masculinity>> and Gender)

BACKGROUND: The research that followed my dissertation work (published in 1987 as Bamberg, "The Acquisition of Narratives"), and the continuing collaboration with Ruth Berman and Dan Slobin (resulting in the 1994 edition of Berman & Slobin, "Different Ways of Relating Events in Narrative") can best be summarized as an investigation into the referential ordering of the temporal, spatial, and character organization of narrative discourse in children across different ages and different languages. Central to that work were developmental issues of the structural organization of plots, and my work focused primarily onto children's tellings of pictured material (see "Actions, Events, Scenes, Plots and the Drama. Language and the Constitution of Part- Whole Relationships", from 1994).

The investigation of children's ability to do 'evaluations' (published in 1991 in "Journal of Child Language" with R. Damrad-Frye) and the investigation of 'perspective taking’ (published in 1991 in "Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy") was a turning point and took me into a new direction: With the support of a two-year NAE-Spencer Fellowship, I turned to the investigation of children's evaluative perspectives in emotionally charged situations - where they themselves were personally invested in a variety of ways, and equally, where others had different things at stake. These investigations were no longer centrally concerned with the linguistic organization of plots, but much more with the narrator's choice of linguistic forms in order to index his/her personal viewpoint. Though at first ‘viewpoint’ or ‘perspective analysis’ was taken more literally to index the orientation from which the activity of telling was organized, it quickly shifted to the exploration of how speakers themselves want to be understood. Thus, what became the foreground in my investigations was the genuinely developmental concern of how speakers organize themselves by way of narrating and account giving, opening up the territory of identity development and identity transformations in childhood, adolescence, in adults, and in old age (summarized in two articles from 1997 "Language, Concepts, and Emotion: The Role of Language in the Construction of Emotion," and "Positioning Between Structure and Performance", and elaborated in more recent papers on positioning).

My current line of investigation pursues this issue of identity formation in (male) adolescents in the age-bracket between 10-15 years. In recent years, I presented a number of papers on pilot data that were collected since September 2000, when we began following 25 boys for a five-year period with the aim to focus on the gradual but qualitative transition from childhood to becoming a (male) adolescent. The theoretical concept of 'positioning', and the methodological tools of narrative and focus-group interviewing are the guidelines in this work. Since then, a number of conferences have been conducted and a number of conference panels* (as well as three dissertation projects)** to prepare for a number of major grants to turn this pilot project into a large-scale investigation linking the investigation of identity formation practices in families, with identity formation practices in school and peer activities.

click BELOW for LINK to

Transformation from Childhood to Adolescence

The Development of Masculinity in Different Cultures

* see for list of conferences and recent panels:               <recent grant preparation activities>

interview with michael bamberg

**recent dissertation projects