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October 2021

Narrative psychology, trauma and the study of self/identity

Journal/Book: Theor Psychol. 2000; 10: 2455 Teller Rd, Thousand Oaks, CA 91320, USA. Sage Publications Inc. 527-546.

Abstract: This paper aims to provide an overview of a narrative psychological approach towards the study of self and identity. The narrative psychological approach can be classified as broadly social constructionist insofar as it attempts to examine the cultural structuration of individual experience. However, building on recent criticism of certain social constructionist approaches (such as discourse analysis), it is argued that these approaches tend to lose touch with the phenomenological and experiential realities of everyday, practical life. Accordingly, they overplay the disorderly, chaotic, variable and flux-like nature of self-experience. Drawing on recent research on traumatizing experiences such as living with serious illness, this paper argues that the disruption and fragmentation manifest in such experiences serves as a useful means of highlighting the sense of unity, meaning and coherence (the 'narrative configuration') more commonly experienced on an everyday level. Moreover, when disorder and incoherence prevail, as in the case of trauma, narratives are used to rebuild the individual's shattered sense of identity and meaning.

Note: Article Crossley ML, Univ Manchester, Turner Dent Sch, Higher Cambridge St, Manchester M15 6FH, Lancs, ENGLAND

Keyword(s): HIV positive; narrative; self/identity; social constructionist; time; trauma; HIV-POSITIVE DIAGNOSIS; ILLNESS EXPERIENCE; CULTURAL MODELS; CONSTRUCTION; EMPOWERMENT; STORIES; PEOPLE; LIFE

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