Blank check for biography?: Openness and ingenuity in the management of the "Who-Am-I Question" and what life stories actually may not be good for
In recent publications, Alexandra Georgakopoulou and I (Bamberg 2007; Bamberg and Georgakopoulou 2008; Georgakopoulou 2007a, 2007b) have put forth the argument that life stories-that is, stories in which tellers cover their personal past from early on, leading up to the "here and now" of the telling situation-are extremely rare. People never really tell the true details of their lives, unless for very particular circumstance-as, for example, in life story interviews, and occasionally in therapeutic interviews. Of course, this is not entirely true. There indeed are occasions, although these cannot be characterized as typical everyday and mundane situations either, in which people opt for something like a life story in an attempt to do damage control to their (public) image.1 Here I use one such incident to show how life stories provide a welcomed repertoire that on one hand seemingly opens up the narrator's subjectivity, displaying genuinely personal information, but on the other hand does exactly the opposite: counteracting and undermining its goal of displaying openness and ingenuity. © 2010 by The Georgetown University Press. All rights reserved.
Bamberg, Michael, "Blank check for biography?: Openness and ingenuity in the management of the "Who-Am-I Question" and what life stories actually may not be good for" (2010). Psychology. 148.