In this paper, we explore how narrative loss may impact upon one’s sense of self and the spiritual process of meaning-making and purpose. We argue that we are narrative beings that make sense of our selves and our social, physical, and ideational worlds in and through narrative and that this process, which involves matters of purpose, truth, and values, is at one and the same time a spiritual activity, as both spirituality and narrative involve a sense of openness and indeterminacy, and the generation of meaning and purpose. As we age, however, physical, mental and social changes may disrupt how we narrativize our lives, and social and ideological (or meta-) narratives might frame what stories we can tell, and how we can tell them, in ways different from the past. We explore some of the narrative losses associated with aging and then, drawing on practices in spiritual direction, discuss some possible ways of countering such losses, in particular the development of narrative literacy, the re-ignition of narrative desire, the making of narrative connections, and the deepening of autobiographical reasoning. In this way, we hope to illustrate how narrative works in the spiritual lives of older adults.
This paper is an applied narrative analysis of social encounters and their inherent relationality. The narratives analyzed are those of German-born, Turkish-background Berliners. Although their narratives relate to the specific context of Turkish immigration into Germany, they also shed light on the broader experience of negotiating diasporic identity and belonging, which makes them significant sources for understanding the politics of the Other. The narrative analysis I outline locates the dynamics of discursive messaging within the complexity of human encounters. Narrative is envisaged as one constituent of social interactions within complex processes of othering and the politics of making claims to identity and belonging.
This is the struggle of the people who don’t fit and [don’t] belong neatly. (Leyla)
An acquired brain injury (ABI) has a huge impact on a person’s life and identity. However, identity research in connection with ABI is still sparse. The present study investigates how people with ABI reconstruct their identity in the first year post-injury. Forty-three Danish adults were interviewed (semi- structured interviews) twice: while hospitalized and one year post-injury. Discourse analysis, drawing on the concepts of positioning and agency, was applied in order to investigate developmental processes in self-narratives over time. The analysis reveals that one of the key patterns in identity construction in this cohort is that thepsychological changes and identity transitions emerge over time.
Using the frame of the artist’s in-process critique, this article presents the author’s ongoing theoretical inquiries and reflections on a narrative inquiry. Drawing on Clandinin and Connelly’s conceptions and Maxine Greene’s writings on aesthetic education, narrative inquiry is explored as a methodology where being in the midst requires wide-awakeness to ourselves and the Other— it is a space of fluidity and possibility. By considering narrative inquiry as an active, relational, and incessant process of meaning-making, the author comes to re/consider the constructivist underpinnings of her previous work with different theories that have allowed her to create new understandings of narrative practice. Through a relational and processual ontology, possibilities for narrative inquiry emerge as a productive shift in narrative inquiry toward becoming.
In October 2013, Arthur W. Frank presented the John McKendy Lecture in Narrative at St. Thomas University in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada. The annual lecture, sponsored by the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research on Narrative (CIRN), is named for John McKendy, PhD, a member of the Sociology Department at St. Thomas University and one of the founding members of CIRN, who died tragically in 2008.
Dr. Frank has kindly agreed to have the video and transcript of his lecture published in Narrative Works. In his lecture, he presented stories from Bob Dylan’s memoir, a biography of Henry VIII, Tolstoy’s novel War and Peace, and Sophocles play Philoctetes, to demonstrate “not just how we make up stories, but how stories make up us.”
On October 27, 2014, Hilde Lindemann presented the John McKendy Memorial Lecture on Narrative at St. Thomas University. The annual lecture, sponsored by the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research on Narrative (CIRN), is named for John McKendy, PhD, a member of the Sociology Department at St. Thomas University and one of the founding members of CIRN, who died tragically in 2008.
Dr. Lindemann’s lecture focused on narrative strategies that people in dominant social positions use to counter a counterstory and keep an oppressive social order in place. A counterstory is “a story that is told for the purpose of resisting a socially shared narrative that purports to justify the oppression of a social group ... The socially shared story—master narrative—enters the tissue of stories that constitute the group’s identity, damaging that identity and so constricting group members’ access to the goods on offer in their society.” In her lecture, she explored some of the difficulties that arise when a counterstory sets out to repair that identity, and why the master narratives are so difficult to uproot.
Dr. Lindemann has kindly agreed to have the video of her lecture published in Narrative Works.