Introducing Narrative Psychology: Self, Trauma, and the Construction of Meaning

By Michele L. Crossley | Go to book overview

2
Discursive methods and the study of self


Introduction

In the last chapter we used the term 'social constructivist' to characterize the distinction between newer approaches towards the study of self and identity, which recognize and prioritize the inextricable relationship between self and language, and more traditional approaches, which allegedly adopt more realist conceptions in which the self is assumed to exist independently of language in some mysterious 'inner' domain (as in the case of humanist/ psychodynamic approaches) or in 'external' behaviour (as in the case of experimental, sometimes also referred to as behaviouristic, approaches). In this chapter our aim is to examine in more detail the various research approaches that are frequently brought together under the umbrella of 'social constructivism', sometimes also referred to as 'discursive' or 'language-based' approaches. In particular, we shall address the relationship between narrative and other discursive approaches towards the study of self and identity. These include postmodernism, discourse analysis, rhetorical analysis, interpretive phenomenological analysis and critical feminist psychological analysis. As will become clear, there are many confusions and contradictions in this debate and it will be suggested that the distinctions between the old and new paradigms are not nearly as clear-cut as they are often made out to be. It will be argued that, on a philosophical level, the

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Introducing Narrative Psychology: Self, Trauma, and the Construction of Meaning
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Contents v
  • Preface vi
  • Acknowledgements vii
  • Explanatory Note on 'Further Reading' viii
  • Section I - Theories and Methods 1
  • 1: Theories of Self and Identity 3
  • 2: Discursive Methods and the Study of Self 24
  • 3: Narrative 45
  • Section II - Applying Methods 65
  • 4: Doing a Narrative Analysis 67
  • 5: Analysis and Writing Up the Project 87
  • Section III - Contemporary Applications 109
  • 6: Surviving Childhood Sexual Abuse 113
  • 7: Terminal Illness 135
  • 8: Contemporary Ways of Making Meaning 159
  • Concluding Synopsis 179
  • Bibliography 181
  • Index 193
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