GSE Faculty Research

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version



As many scholars have noted, narrative is a primordial human tool for making sense of life experience (Brockmeier, 2000, Ochs & Capps, 2001). While often described as a mode of relating experience that organizes events along temporal dimensions, research has also shown how participants in narrative activity explore the experiential logic of events by theorizing and evaluating the causes, consequences, responses and attempts to deal with problematic or unexpected situations (Ochs et al, 1992, Stein & Glenn, 1979). This paper explores how educators and parents evaluate the moral identity of a problematic student through narrative activity in a Thai parent-teacher conference. Drawing on Taylor’s (1989) conceptualization of “the good” as a moral space of questions within which modern persons orient themselves, the paper extends Taylor’s metaphor of orienting persons in moral space to orienting them in time. Focusing in particular on the use of tense, aspect and modality in temporal perspective taking (Andersen, 1997), the analysis focuses on how narrators discursively configure an ideal moral landscape which narrated persons are temporally positioned within-- as having realized or having failed to realize "the good".


Howard, K. M. (2008). Temporal landscapes of morality in narrative: Student evaluation in a thai parent—teacher conference. Discourse & Society, 19(2), 163-186. doi:10.1177/0957926507085951


narrative, temporality, identity, morality, parent-teacher conferences, modality, aspect, Thai, Thailand, education



Date Posted: 14 May 2009

This document has been peer reviewed.