Thursday, November 12, 2009

Narratives of the self

Sartre wrote ‘a man is always a teller of stories, he lives surrounded by his own stories and those of other people, he sees everything that happens to him in terms of these stories and he tries to live his life as if he were recounting it’ (1964). Setting aside the rather unfortunate gendering, this is a particularly rich starting point for anyone thinking about identity and self narrative and indeed it forms the central motif of Bruner’s ‘Life as Narrative’. I’ve read the Bruner piece a couple of times and I have to say I’m a big fan. There is however a strong thread of determinism in the Bruner argument. He suggests that the narratives we inhabit are culturally constructed, rather than played out in a cultural context. I would argue for a more performative account...and I guess that’s the direction that Bruner veers towards in the end of the paper when he says ‘any story one may tell about anything is better understood by considering other possible ways in which it can be told.’


Sigrid said...

Hi Guy
thanks for posting this! I hope all is well with you and your wife.

Guy Merchant said...

Thank You for your comment, Sigrid!