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The Narrative Dispossession of People Living with Dementia: Thinking About the Theory and Method of Narrative

Baldwin, Clive (2006) The Narrative Dispossession of People Living with Dementia: Thinking About the Theory and Method of Narrative. In: Narrative, Memory & Knowledge: Representations, Aesthetics, Contexts. University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield, pp. 101-109.

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      In the beginning …
      Once upon a time …
      This is the story of …
      That’s a good story ….
      And they all lived ….
      Let me tell you a story ….
      Narrative, it seems, is all around us. Bruner (2002) states that we are
      ‘constantly in the process of making narratives’ (p.3) and that narrative is so
      much part and parcel of life that ‘human society cannot run without it’. In
      everyday life we recount stories about ourselves and others and in so doing
      both represent and construct ourselves. We are the heroes and heroines of our
      own stories and occasionally of the stories of others. Our experience, lives and
      Selves are storied. In academia narrative has also found a place not only in the
      humanities but also the social sciences and even the natural sciences. It would
      seem there is no escape from participation in the narrative enterprise - it is a
      way of experiencing, relating, thinking and, ultimately, being in the world.
      Narrative, as Barthes (1977) said, ‘is simply there, like life itself’ (p.79).
      To be sure, the development of narrative as a theory and method has
      brought (or constructed) insights into all manner of things. Narrative, emerging
      as it did from an interest in the experience of powerlessness (MacKinnon,
      1996), was seen as a means of giving voice to those previously at the margins
      and has effectively, and prolifically, expanded our understanding of what it is
      like to be marginalised, oppressed, victimised, ignored and silenced. But even
      as this is so, it is my contention, contra Barthes, that narrative and the process
      of narration (narrativity) as we currently conceive and operationalise it
      excludes certain individuals and groups of people, creating people without
      narrative. These people are those I shall call the ‘narratively dispossessed’. In
      the first part of this paper I will seek to outline what I mean by this and work
      towards a tentative definition. In the latter part I will attempt to suggest some
      ways in which we might try to think about narrative/narrativity somewhat
      differently so as to narratively ‘re-possess’ these individuals and groups.

      Item Type: Book Chapter
      Additional Information: Copyright for chapters remain with individual authors at all times and permission should be sought from the author for any reproduction other than for personal use.
      Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
      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: Cherry Edmunds
      Date Deposited: 02 Jul 2009 09:04
      Last Modified: 30 Jul 2010 14:10


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