The Grammar of Autobiography: A Developmental Account

Synopsis

This is the first book to bring together four distinct literatures--functional linguistics, child language, narrative development, and discursive psychology. It is an outgrowth of the historical relationship between psychology and linguistics, especially the post-Wittgensteinian "turn to language." Relevant issues are situated at that interface in a way that should prove accessible to both linguists with little or no psychological knowledge and to psychologists with no linguistics background are addressed. Previously, there have been volumes on the theses of discursive psychology and social constructionism and volumes on the workings and theories of functional linguistics, but none have attempted to link the two as natural bedfellows in this way. While clearly situated within the spirit of the Berkeley school, it goes beyond it by virtue of linking functional linguistics and discursive psychology, and by doing this ontogenetically. Overall, this book is an investigation of the psycholinguistic thesis of the social construction of selfhood and the psychology of everyday life. Featuring the only book-length studies of the use of grammatical analysis as a research strategy in psychology, it integrates issues of human development and child language in a new way. It deals in careful linguistic analyses, examining the role of grammatical forms in constituting context which involves an examination of their functions that are then used to highlight fundamental aspects of development. The linguistic analyses are treated as a testing ground for the ideas and claims made in discursive psychology. The discussion deals with many of the current issues in psychology and related disciplines, including narrative, morality, agency, and responsibility, in order to show the central role of language in human functioning.

Additional information

Contributors:
Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Mahwah, NJ
Publication year:
  • 2000