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Narrative as a Vehicle of Culture

Monday, April 16th, 2007 @ 4:35 pm
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Posted in  Literature, Methodology

I have looked at the book borrowed by W.W. titled The Handbook of Narrative and Psychotherapy by Angus.L.E. & McLeod J. (2004, London:Sage)

There is a chapter in there by Michal White (Folk Psychology and Narrative Practice), in which the authors discusses narrative as a cultural vehicle that provokes my thinking around methodology etc. He writes:

“It is my understanding that the narratives of people’s lives are not radically constructed – not derived as a social, cultural and political vacuum – but are shaped by these knowledges that are cultural and historical. It is also my understanding that that these narratives are knowledges of life that sponson particular ways of living, and that are associated with specific practices of relationship and techniques of self formation.

This understanding of narrative as a cultural vehicle is featured in therapeutic convesations that are unpacking of the stories of people’s lives and identities […]These therapeutic practices bring the world into therapy in the sense that many routine and unquestioned understandings about life and ways of living become visible as cultural and historical products, and these are no longer accepted as certainties about life or truths about human nature and identity. In this way, what might be termed ‘the politics of people’s experiences’ are made visible and contestable” (p.43)

These are useful points to bear in mind in relation to conducting research interviews. Allowing the story of the participant to unfold is very important and the ‘blending’ with my own stories is something that i shall keep into awareness so that i can facilitate the process. Recording my own responses in this blog or elsewhere is crucial and i have also noticed that the process of transcribing and having the participant’s story…in front of me (instead of inside me), on paper is a good way of maintaining the necessary boundaries and space.

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