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Identity Construction in Hymn Book Editorial Meetings

image of Journal of Empirical Theology

Even before they started the editorial board of the new Dutch hymnal was blamed for being too elitist. The fact that they had been selected on the basis of their expertise made them vulnerable for such criticism. Subsequently the position of the editors has been a point of continuous reflection. In this contribution, we will argue that this image of editors as dissociated from users of the hymn book is only one among several available identity repertoires. In order to answer the question which ‘identities-in-relation-to-users’ do the editors construct in the meetings of the board and how do they value these identities?, we will use a broad definition of identity and focus on positions performed in social interaction. The interaction in question concerns seven selected meetings of the editorial board, all of which were audio-taped and transcribed. Looking closely at the identities that were constructed during those meetings, we distinguish six positions, ranging from a great to no distance between editors and users: editors, professionals, experienced, vanguard, pleasers and equals.

Affiliations: 1: Protestant Theological University (Amsterdam)P.O. Box 71611007 MC; 2: Tilburg University; 3: Protestant Theological University (Amsterdam)VU University (Amsterdam)University of Stellenbosch (South Africa)


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