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Record Type: Review   ID: 1018

Exploring Identity and Gender (The Narrative Study of Lives, Vol. 2)

Lieblich, Amia, & Josselson, Ruthellen (Eds.).

 Lieblich points out that this second volume "samples and demonstrates different uses of the narrative concept and methodology in the study of women’s and men’s lives in society" (p. xiv). She observes that although psychologists are overrepresented, "their work seems to include the thinking of other disciplines, merging into issues in history, philosophy, sociology, literature, and anthropology. Narrative work has a universalist core and embraces a wide range of activities" (p. xiv). [Exceptional human experience represents one area of experience/activity that is ready-made for a narrative approach and that interfaces on all the disciplines Lieblich mentions.] She points out that although it is premature to precisely define narrative, yet in the essays published in the first two volumes, a common denominator is emerging that concerns "the contributors’ awareness of subjectivity and reflexivity in their means of knowing" (p. xi). Again, I would point out that narratives of exceptional human experience are ideal microlaboratories for studying reflexivity and knowing because each one is constructed around an anomalous experience, an alternate way of knowing, and reflexivity and narrative are the primary means available to experiencer and investigator alike in trying to make sense of the experience because traditional "answers" generally do not meet the experiencer’s need to understand and incorporate the experience in his or her life. One essay in this volume is especially applicable to narrative and EHEs. It is "Life Stories and Storied Lives" by Richard L. Ochberg. He argues that people do not simply tell stories of life experiences after the fact. Rather, people live their lives in patterns that are like story plots. Recognizing the importance of this, Lieblich observes that "‘storied life’ probably will become a core idea in the evolving field of narrative study" (p. xiii).
Publisher Information:Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 1997. Pp. ix + 246. Chapnotes; Chaprefs; 1 fig; Ind: 235-242; 2 tables
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