'You son of a perverse rebellious woman': Mobilizing the storytelling event for self-empowerment

Yael Zilberman Friedmann*, Hadar Netz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The current study investigates the discursive strategies used by Jewish Israeli women when telling stories of self-empowerment involving interpersonal tension with authority figures. Our corpus is based on in-depth interviews with thirty women aged fifty to ninety-three from the southern city of Beer Sheva, Israel. We identified forty-two narratives manifesting interpersonal tension, mostly with authority figures. Drawing on the theoretical framework of narrative analysis, we conduct a performance-based, pragmatic microanalysis of four stories through which we demonstrate an ensemble of strategies paramount in shaping and contesting power relations, including use of direct reported speech, address and reference terms, and code-switching. By telling their stories, our storytellers mobilized the storytelling event as an occasion to perform a self-empowering move through which they subverted the frameworks of authority not only on a local level in the narrated and storytelling events but potentially also on a broader societal level, disrupting hegemonic asymmetries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)433-457
Number of pages25
JournalLanguage in Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - 7 Jun 2023


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