Molly Andrews, Jens Brockmeier, Michael Erben, Cigdem Esin, Mark Freeman, Alexandra Georgakopoulou, Margareta Hydén, Matti Hyvärinen, Margaretta Jolly, Michael Rustin, Olivia Sagan, Corinne Squire and Maria Tamboukou
The Centre for Narrative Research was founded at the turn of the millenium. To commemorate its tenth anniversary, we organised an event which took place on November 10, 2010, at the Marx Memorial Library in London. The day had a very flexible format. We began with a few opening words from the three co-directors (Molly Andrews, Corinne Squire, and Maria Tamboukou) and the Research Fellow (Cigdem Esin) of CNR. This was followed by contributions from six leading narrative scholars (Jens Brockmeier, Michael Erben, Mark Freeman, Margareta Hydén, Margaretta Jolly, and Olivia Sagan) to which Alexandra Georgakopoulou and Matti Hyvärinen then responded. Following lunch, the sixty participants were broken up into smaller groups, where they discussed issues raised in the morning session. The day concluded with a final discussion piece offered by Mike Rustin. The six presenters were faced with a formidable challenge. We invited them to write pieces of approximately 500 words on "the promise and challenges for future narrative research, including critiques of and hopes for our own scholarship." These were prepared in advance of the event, and sent to the discussants, who were asked not only to comment upon the set of issues raised, but also to provide a framework for looking at the problems as a whole set. Not only did the contributors and discussants come from a range of different backgrounds and geographical locations, but the range of intellectual interests represented by those who attended the day was very marked: poets, writers of fiction, policy makers, psychoanalysts, sociologists, psychologists, political scientists, social workers, and others. Perhaps the most outstanding feature of the day was the conversations which happened across boundaries, characterised by both a search for common ground as well as a recognition of the different intellectual standpoints represented by the people there. What follows are written versions of the prepared, spoken contributions, which helped to frame the discussion for the day. It is our hope that the stimulating thought pieces prepared for this event can be used as a launch pad for further discussion into the realm of our shared endeavors in narrative scholarship.
This paper examines the dilemmas in narrative research created by the gaps between the authority of experience (the participant’s understanding of his or her life) and the authority of expertise (the researcher’s interpretive analysis of that life). It raises the question of who, at various levels, "owns" the narrative. Using a detailed case example, the paper explores the relationship between authority and authorship as it contrasts the researcher’s intention and the participant’s reactions to what is presented. Ethical dilemmas that ensue are not easily managed, but a suggestion is offered. The dynamics of narcissism that underlie the interpersonal stress of telling another’s life are also considered.
Intercultural communication is typically conceptualized in terms of business-oriented models that focus on the binary differences between cultural groups. Beginning with Edward Hall, the foundational premise is that the basis of effective communication with people of cultures other than our own is a thorough understanding of the disparities between cultural groups. This paper argues that intercultural communication should entail not merely the business-like, efficient exchange of information with different others but the crucial development of a feeling of connection and an appreciation for diverse ways of being in the world. Building upon the work of Jerome Bruner, it further suggests that the focus on dissimilarities which traditional models enforce obscures a true understanding of how intercultural communications can be enabled by a fundamental similarity: the human impulse to make sense of the world through narrative.
In this paper, we share stories of coming to narrative self-study research in graduate studies, and the impact this choice has had on personal and professional directions in ways we could not have imagined when graduate studies were initially embarked upon. Central to self-study narrative inquiry is a focus on life experience as a tool for connection with our own storied pasts. There we find the roots of our present-day perspectives and actions that we can incorporate into our everyday meaning-making, using our emergent understanding to choose present and future possibilities in our relationships.
In this paper, I use two exemplary narrative case studies to illustrate the multiple ways caring functioned for students in their urban high school context. One case study illustrates how different frames of caring can provide different interpretations of a situation. Another case study shows how caring processes can act in synergistic ways. I conclude by arguing that we should widen our conception of educational care to be inclusive of the complex and overlapping ways that students engage in processes of caring for and caring about.
Research on narrative is more than simply listening to (more or less) nice stories. There are stories that are hidden between the lines; these need to be noticed and retrieved. There are stories that can be toxic to be exposed to; these need to be coped with and conceived. But there may be stories that have a healing quality, too—stories that can contribute to peace and reconciliation. These three possible qualities of narratives are the focus of the following paper, which was delivered in October 2008, at the launch of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research on Narrative at St. Thomas University in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada. The lecture was based on his interdisciplinary research project "Geschichte und Erinnerung" [History and Memory, www.geschichte-erinnerung.de] in which interviews with Nazi followers, bystanders, and perpetrators were conducted and analysed. Marks presented one of the key findings of this research—shame—and its effect on what the interviewees recounted, as well as its relevance for National Socialism and present-day German society.