Storylines: Craftartists' Narratives of Identity

Storylines: Craftartists' Narratives of Identity

by Elliot G. Mishler

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Overview

What do we mean when we refer to our "identity," and how do we represent it in the stories we tell about our lives? Is "identity" a sustained private core, or does it change as circumstances and relationships shift? In this thoughtful and learned book, a recognized master of research interviewing explores these questions through analyses of in-depth interviews with five craftartists, who reflect on their lives and their efforts to sustain their form of work as committed artists in a world of mass production and standardization.

The artists describe their families of origin and the families they have created, and the conscious decisions, chance events, and life experiences that entered into the ways they achieved their adult artistic identities. Exploring these continuities, discontinuities, and unresolvable tensions in an analysis that brings new sophistication to a much-used term, Elliot Mishler suggests that "identity" is always dialogic and relational, a complex of partial subidentities rather than a unitary monad. More a verb than a noun, it reflects an individual's modes of adaptation, appropriation, and resistance to sociocultural plots and roles.

With its critical review of narrative research methods, model of analysis for the systematic study of life stories and identity, and vision of how narrative studies may contribute to theory and research in the social sciences, Storylines is an eloquent and important book for narrative psychology and lifespan development.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674015869
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 09/01/2004
Pages: 208
Product dimensions: 6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Elliot G. Mishler is Professor of Social Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

Table of Contents

Preface

1. Studying the Lives and Work of Craftartists: Identity and Narrative

2. Sources and Routes: Variable Pathways in Identity Formation

3. Contingencies and Turning Points: Discontinuities in the Life Course

4. Tensions and Contradictions: Revisiting Claims for Coherence in Life Stories

5. Identities in/as Relationships within the Family and at Work

6. Narrative Studies of Identity: A Forward Look

Notes

References

What People are Saying About This

In the last two decades, there has been a significant shift in the study of persons and social life, away from counted-data methods to a focus on the life-story or narrative. Much of this shift has been a result of Elliot Mishler's pioneering contributions. In this newest book, Mishler explores the meaning of the 'hand-made' for artisans devoting their lives to crafts, and in the process, enlarges both theory and method of human science study. This is truly a fascinating, sophisticated, and important study and one unique in showing the significance of taking seriously a reflexive and dialogic perspective in the study of identity.

Bertram J. Cohler

In the last two decades, there has been a significant shift in the study of persons and social life, away from counted-data methods to a focus on the life-story or narrative. Much of this shift has been a result of Elliot Mishler's pioneering contributions. In this newest book, Mishler explores the meaning of the 'hand-made' for artisans devoting their lives to crafts, and in the process, enlarges both theory and method of human science study. This is truly a fascinating, sophisticated, and important study and one unique in showing the significance of taking seriously a reflexive and dialogic perspective in the study of identity.
Bertram J. Cohler, University of Chicago

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