Developing Narrative Theory: Life Histories and Personal Representation

Overview

Narrative analysis has grown in interest and use across many areas of research in recent years. Up until now however this rapidly developing approach has lacked a firm theoretical underpinning that would allow researchers both to approach such research in a reliably structured way and to interpret the results more effectively.

Developing Narrative Theory represents a timely assessment of the current narrative trends in research. It shows in detail how life story interviews are ...

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Developing Narrative Theory: Life Histories and Personal Representation

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Overview

Narrative analysis has grown in interest and use across many areas of research in recent years. Up until now however this rapidly developing approach has lacked a firm theoretical underpinning that would allow researchers both to approach such research in a reliably structured way and to interpret the results more effectively.

Developing Narrative Theory represents a timely assessment of the current narrative trends in research. It shows in detail how life story interviews are conducted and demonstrates how the process often begins with relatively unstructured life story collection but moves to a more collaborative exchange where sociological themes and historical patterns are scrutinised and mutually explored.

At the core of this book however the author shows that far from there being a singular form of narrative or an infinite range of unique and idiosyncratic narratives in fact there were clusters of narrativity, clusters of particular types of narrative style that can be grouped into four main areas:

  • Focussed Elaborators,
  • Scripted Describers,
  • Armchair Elaborators, and
  • Focussed Describers.

The differentiation turns on the relationship between styles of narrativity and the use to which such narratives are put — especially their relationship to lifelong learning and the development of courses of action.

Drawing on data from several large-scale studies from countries across the world, this book details how theories of narrativity and life story analysis can combine to inform learning potential and it will be of use to anyone researching or developing learning strategies and resources, as well as those interested in lifelong learning and professional and self-development practices.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This book is invaluable reading for those engaged in or interested in narrative methodology. It provides an in-depth discussion of the development of narrative portrayals and the significance of different patterns of narrative. The process of narrative portrayal is also exemplified through examples drawn from the repertoire of Goodson’s various life history projects, which he uses to provide the reader with insights into how people employ different patterns and forms of narrativity and action to ‘provide an anchor, a sense of stability, continuity and coherence in a world of fast and often bemusing change’ (p.115). But Goodson is not positing a utopian vision here, rather he suggests that the meta-narratives of modern life will pose ‘seismic challenges for people’s identity projects and life politics’ (p.120) and perhaps most acutely for the youngest generations coming through. The final chapters of this book will leave readers in no doubt of the significance of narrative in modern life, and provide a fitting antithesis to critics of narrative methodologies tempted to discard them as ‘just stories.’" — Keith Turvey, Research in Education
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415603614
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 10/17/2012
  • Pages: 160

Meet the Author

Ivor F. Goodson is Professor of Learning Theory in the School of Education at the University of Brighton, UK.
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Table of Contents

1. Studying Life Stories and Life Histories 2. The Growth of Individual Life Stories in Contemporary Life 3. The Time of Our Lives: Historical Contexts and Life Stories 4. Contemporary Patterns in Life Stories 5. The Move to Life Histories 6. Studying our Storylines 7. Focussed Elaborators 8. Scripted Descibers 9. Armchair Elaborators 10. Focussed Describers 11. Narrativity, Hybridity and Flexibility 12. Conclusions and Complexities
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