In this paper, depression is described as a disintegration of meaning within the context of attempting to narrate one’s life. The difficulties of autobiographical narrative are explored, as are the shortcomings of language in conveying existential pain. A common societal response to attempts at narrative is to turn away, to silence the individual, and this leads to further difficulties in mourning and recovery. Clinical cases are used to elucidate the characteristics of depressive experience and the importance of narrative in the healing process. In addition, ethical issues regarding qualitative narrative research are discussed.
In her novel A Southern Family (1987), Gail Godwin fictionalized a real-life incident concerning a suicide-murder in her family. Interweaving narrative theory and literary analysis, this paper asks “why fiction?” for the telling of this story. In the context of narrative’s capacity to “make present” our experiences (Schiff, 2012, p.36), the paper explores some of the ways in which Godwin makes this fictional work an effective narrative tool for shaping meaning, and it suggests that the novel’s narrativity transforms this traumatic background story into both a work of art and a form of “story repair” (Howard, 1991, p. 149).
Special Section: Narratives of Translation within Research Practice
This paper draws on two points about the difficulties of conducting research between two languages and cultures which are scant in social science research: one is reflecting on the notion of “making sense” and how prevalent it has become to make sense for a western audience. This process is complicated and leads to more meanings lost in translation, so it is important to unpack it specifically during the research process. The second point I discuss in this paper is the notion of “situated auto/biography” that is not specific to an author or a researcher, but deals with all parties involved in the process of knowledge production. I argue that translation acts as a creative space for thinking and not just conveying meanings, but that through a dialogical and transversal act, it can help in creating new meanings.
Three authors, from different cultural contexts and research fields, engage in a trialogue, interrogating three stages of research—formulation of research protocol, field work, and data analysis—in order to explore some of the complexities of translating meaning across cultures. The voices merge into three conclusions regarding narratives in/of translation. First, narratives as translations are always in a process of being translated and re-constructed. Second, researchers have to be aware of power issues through the whole research process. Third, reflexivity needs to be incorporated in all stages of the research practice.
This paper is my “story” about the dilemmas I encountered and choices I made whilst carrying out narrative research in higher education in England and Romania, and the role languages played in the study. The research is rooted in my own life events, characterised by transitions and translations within/between languages and cultures, in much the same way as in the lives of the students I researched.
This paper is a narrative inquiry into a series of interviews conducted by the author, uncovering an aspect of her family's oral history. The interviews revolved around her grandmother's experience with her son's kidnapping and permanent disappearance in 1976, during the Lebanese civil war. From a post-modern perspective, the author assesses her place as an active participant in the conversations. Within this framework, she reflects on how language and culture came in the way of her conversations; on the power she held in translating and presenting her grandmother's words; and on translating silences and non-verbal messages.