Self-Representation: Life Narrative Studies in Identity and Ideology

Self-Representation: Life Narrative Studies in Identity and Ideology

Self-Representation: Life Narrative Studies in Identity and Ideology

Self-Representation: Life Narrative Studies in Identity and Ideology

Synopsis

Gregg offers a new look at self-representation that falls into both the older "study of lives" tradition in personality psychology and the newer "narrative psychology." By applying methods of symbolic analysis to the texts of life-historical interviews, he presents a generative model of self-representation. His work re-analyzes such famous case studies as Freud's "Rat Man," presents original life-narrative analyses, and draws the theories and observations together to create a compelling model of self-representation.

Excerpt

This unique contribution to the psychology of personality is the most exciting reading in the field that I have encountered in a long time. My enthusiasm about Gary Gregg's achievement is partly attributable to my surprise and delight to find him doing what I have been calling upon psychologists to do (without knowing how to do it myself), and haven't seen any of the "post-modern" critics of mainstream psychology actually doing. Surely my own mental terrain was especially ready for Gregg's contribution, which comes to me as water and nutriment to parched soil. But I am confident that other students of personality will also find in it a breath of fresh air, a source of novel, creative, intellectually challenging perspectives.

Since Gregg's theoretical chapters provide a rich diet that may sometimes be daunting to the newcomer, I want first to reassure the reader that by the end of the book, his underlying ideas will not only be clear, but their significance will have been amply displayed in context. They are developed in the course of a set of exemplary analyses of life-narratives, which comprise the main meat of the book. These will be of interest in style and substance even to readers whose reservations leave them unready to follow Gregg all the way to his final proposals.

Recent decades have seen a flood of publications in social and personality psychology, the social sciences, and the humanities on selfhood, subjectivity, and identity--a tangled literature in which there is little emerging agreement on conceptualization and terminology or on central themes. On the psychological side, the closest approximation to a major theme is the convergent focus of the mainstream on information processing, the computer . . .

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