Reflections on 'idle chitchat' or chitchat-as-discourse

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This paper focuses on the process and insights attained via the co-constructed production of stories told by participants in a multicultural group of Israeli women educators engaged in narrative research. We examine an episode in the life of the group centering on the notion of 'chitchat' as it emerged in the group's face-toface and email communications, mutually constructed as 'living research'. Drawing on the Bakhtinian concepts of authoritative and internally persuasive discourse, we elaborated a view of 'chitchat-as-discourse' to describe the group's developing process. The notion of 'chitchat' led us on a journey into 'Aggadah' and 'Midrash' - narrative approaches well known in biblical hermeneutics, which we reframed as a means to further illuminate the complexities of educational discourse.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-196
Number of pages12
JournalReflective Practice
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This paper is based on a presentation given at the Fourth International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry 2008, Urbana-Champaign, 14–17 May 2008. The participants in the women’s circle are Shosh Klein (z″l), Hiam Nasseraldin, Idit Avni, Iman Awadiyeh, Dina David, Aviva Ben Hefer, Chana Morag, Tova Shaul, Fany Shimoni and the authors. Hiam Nasseraldin documented the meetings of the group. The circle was formed as part of a research project funded by the Israel Science Foundation, Grant No. 1038/04, 2004-2007. The authors wish to thank the members of the women’s circle for the shared experience and insights on which this paper is based.


  • Aggadah and Midrash
  • Chitchat as a mode of knowledge
  • Co-construction of meaning
  • Dialogic process
  • Living research
  • Multi-voicedness
  • Narrative inquiry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy


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