Stereotypes and chronotopes: The peasant and the cosmopolitan in narratives about migration



Creese A & Blackledge A (2020) Stereotypes and chronotopes: The peasant and the cosmopolitan in narratives about migration. Journal of Sociolinguistics, 24 (4), pp. 419-440.

Stereotypes are chronotopic (Bakhtin, 1994) in the sense that they make good use of character types in time and space to utter identifiable speech forms and make evident other semiotic displays. This paper argues for sociolinguistics to expand its interpretation of the chronotope to encompass the relationship between “character” and “author” in identity texts. It suggests that conflating author and character in identity scholarship, as is the case in much sociolinguistic research, risks losing an opportunity to understand how people author characters in their narratives to project sets of values and beliefs. Using linguistic ethnography, we report on two migrant women and their interactions among colleagues to illustrate their authoring of two characters, namely the peasant and the cosmopolitan. We show how these specific women mobilize these characters in narrative production to refute harmful traditions and ethnolinguistic stereotypes in favour of cosmopolitan identities which draw on broader geographical and social scales associated with the city.

chronotope; identity; migration; narrative; stereotype

Journal of Sociolinguistics: Volume 24, Issue 4

FundersArts and Humanities Research Council
Publication date30/09/2020
Publication date online16/12/2019
Date accepted by journal16/12/2019

People (2)


Professor Adrian Blackledge
Professor Adrian Blackledge

Professor in Education, Education

Professor Angela Creese
Professor Angela Creese

Professor in Education, Education