The role of evaluation in telling and reading the “real-life stories” of asylum seekers

Rachel Hanna

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

Abstract

In the UK asylum process, asylum seekers are denied the right to tell their story in their own words as the “substantive interview” limits the applicants’ freedom to construct an authentic experiential narrative in their own words. Thus, the institutional report often fails to reflect the applicant’s experiences and feelings (Maryns and Blommaert, 2002). As institutional reports are primary evidence for credibility judgments in the asylum process, the authentic representation of an applicant’s story is often a matter of life and death. This paper argues that the absence of evaluation in institutional reports not only inhibits the speaker from producing experiential narratives, but also constrains a reader’s ability to empathise with the speaker, who may appear to be flouting culturally defined perceptions of cooperativeness and coherence.
The collected data from semi-structured interviews with asylum seekers will be presented as “real-life stories” in reading group discussions. The uniqueness of each text will provide a stimulus for examining the function of evaluation as a resource for identification and empathy, allowing readers access to the cognitive world of the narrator. The stories and readers’ responses to them will be analysed using the appraisal model for evaluation in texts (Martin and White, 2005) and contextualised further by integrating aspects of Text World Theory (Werth, 1999) and Interactional Sociolinguistics (Gumperz, 1999). Preliminary analyses have indicated that a higher proportion of evaluative language in narratives invokes positive evaluation from readers, demonstrating an increased capacity for empathetic responses.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 05 Jan 2017
EventPoetics and Linguistics Association Annual Conference 2016: In/Authentic Styles: Language, Discourse and Contexts - University of Cagliari, Cagliari, Italy
Duration: 26 Jul 201629 Jul 2016
http://convegni.unica.it/pala2016/

Conference

ConferencePoetics and Linguistics Association Annual Conference 2016
Abbreviated titlePALA 2016
CountryItaly
CityCagliari
Period26/07/201629/07/2016
Internet address

Fingerprint

Evaluation
Life Story
Real Life
Asylum Seekers
Reader
Uniqueness
Empathy
Evaluative Language
Flouting
Interactional Sociolinguistics
Stimulus
Resources
Reader Response
Proportion
Cooperativeness
Group Discussion
Narrator
Credibility

Keywords

  • narrative
  • asylum seekers
  • reader response
  • appraisal theory
  • stylistics

Cite this

Hanna, R. (2017). The role of evaluation in telling and reading the “real-life stories” of asylum seekers. Paper presented at Poetics and Linguistics Association Annual Conference 2016, Cagliari, Italy.
Hanna, Rachel. / The role of evaluation in telling and reading the “real-life stories” of asylum seekers. Paper presented at Poetics and Linguistics Association Annual Conference 2016, Cagliari, Italy.13 p.
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Hanna, R 2017, 'The role of evaluation in telling and reading the “real-life stories” of asylum seekers', Paper presented at Poetics and Linguistics Association Annual Conference 2016, Cagliari, Italy, 26/07/2016 - 29/07/2016.

The role of evaluation in telling and reading the “real-life stories” of asylum seekers. / Hanna, Rachel.

2017. Paper presented at Poetics and Linguistics Association Annual Conference 2016, Cagliari, Italy.

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

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Hanna R. The role of evaluation in telling and reading the “real-life stories” of asylum seekers. 2017. Paper presented at Poetics and Linguistics Association Annual Conference 2016, Cagliari, Italy.