Sociolinguistics Lunch: Sarah Muir (City College, CUNY)

FEB 22, 2019 | 2:00 PM TO 4:00 PM



The Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue




February 22, 2019: 2:00 PM-4:00 PM




Sarah Muir (City College, CUNY) presents:

The “I”s of Poverty: 

Grace, Grammar, and the Production of Narratological Inequality

In this presentation, I examine middle-class narratives of ethical awakening in the aftermath of Argentina’s 2001-2002 financial crisis. Treating them as a genre of conversion narrative, I explore the role their played in calibrating the ethical stances of new volunteers in civic organizations dedicated to combatting poverty. Through this calibration, middle-class people sought to counteract the dynamics of inequality inherent in providing material aid to the poor. Attending to the unfolding relationship between the narrated and narrating “I”s of these narratives, I show how people paradoxically reproduced patterns of racialized and classed inequality in the very act of committing themselves to their eradication. In so doing, I theorize a relation of “narratological inequality,” in which the demands of the genre bar certain people from a regime of ethical and epistemological value.