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Identity Positioning: Narrative Analysis of Sjuzet and Fabula

Hiles, David (2007) Identity Positioning: Narrative Analysis of Sjuzet and Fabula. In: Narrative and Memory. University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield, pp. 33-41.

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      In this paper I will argue that identity is the product of at least two processes –
      subject positioning and identity positioning. While the focus of much of the
      previous research in this field has largely been on subject positioning, it would
      seem clear that we can also participate to a greater or lesser extent in the
      construction of our own identities. I propose that we achieve these identity
      positions primarily through narrative – through the stories we construct of the
      person we are. Crucial to understanding the role that narrative plays in the
      construction of identity is the distinction between sjuzet – the way in which a
      story is being re-told, and fabula – the content of that story. The analysis of
      these features is particularly supported by Herman and Vervaeck’s (2001)
      distinction between “unbounded” and “bounded” motifs in narrative. In
      exploring this distinction, it turns out that the sjuzet (the unbounded motifs) is
      especially important in understanding the construction of identity positions.
      This approach is applied to the analysis of holocaust narratives collected by the
      Imperial War Museum Sound Archive. These testimonies offer a constant
      theme of the struggle for identity in the face of overwhelming atrocities, horror
      and suffering.

      Item Type: Book Chapter
      Additional Information: Dave is principal lecturer in psychology at De Montfort University, and has also trained as a transpersonal psychotherapist. His research interests are concerned with psychology as a human science, most recently focussing on narrative approaches to understanding media culture, the construction of self-identity and counselling practice.
      Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
      Schools: School of Human and Health Sciences > Narrative and Memory Research Group > Narrative and Memory Research Group Annual Conference
      School of Human and Health Sciences
      Related URLs:
      Depositing User: Graham Stone
      Date Deposited: 29 May 2009 14:51
      Last Modified: 30 Jul 2010 14:01


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