• Untold stories and the construction of identity in narratives of ethnic conflict on the Polish–German border

      Galasinski, Dariusz; Galasinska, Aleksandra (Walter de Gruyter, 2005)
      In this paper we are interested in the use of ‘untold stories’: parts of narratives which are implied rather than explicitly told by speakers. More specifically, we demonstrate how Polish informants from the towns of Gubin and Zgorzelec on the Polish–German border use untold stories as a means of situating themselves or other Poles in a position of advantage in conflictual situations between Poles and Germans. We demonstrate that our informants end the explicit parts of their narratives with markedly ambiguous utterances in order to imply a further part of the story with two interrelated goals: constructing the speakers (or other Poles) as direct ‘winners’ of the conflictual situation and positioning them as having the high moral ground in it. This, furthermore, had the global aim of positive self-presentation of their ethnic group (Poles) and negative presentation of the other ethnic group (Germans). Finally, we argue that the use of the untold stories is related to the particular social and political setting in which they occur, one in which our informants consistently positioned themselves as a ‘losing’, or ‘non-elite’ group being under political and economic ‘attack’ from their German neighbours. (Walter de Gruyter)