Who am I? Narration and its contribution to self and identity
This article critically examines the recent turn to narratives as tools for identity construction and identity analysis. While self and sense of self will be used largely as synonyms, the attempt is made to draw up a distinction between self (sense of self) on one hand and identity on the other. Rather than starting with a definition of features and functions of self and identity, I propose to start from the identification of three practical challenges that self and identity formation processes are facing. These three challenges will be explicated in terms of dilemmatic spaces within which identity activities—and at their center: narrating—are “navigated.” They consist of: (i) a successful diachronic navigation between constancy and change, (ii) the establishment of a synchronic connection between sameness and difference (between self and other), and (iii) the management of agency between the double-arrow of a person-to-world versus a world-to-person direction of fit. While biographical approaches (big story research) have contributed in valuable ways to identity research by exploring the links between narrative and life, they have traditionally confined themselves to the analysis of lives as texts. A narrative practice approach (small story research) is suggested to solve a number of problems and shortcomings of traditional approaches. © 2011, SAGE Publications. All rights reserved.
Theory & Psychology
Bamberg, Michael, "Who am I? Narration and its contribution to self and identity" (2011). Psychology. 147.