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The Integration of Narrative Identity in Self-Inflicted Socially Regressive Experience

Pulkkinen, Minna-Leena (2002) The Integration of Narrative Identity in Self-Inflicted Socially Regressive Experience. In: Narrative, Memory and Life Transitions. University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield, pp. 65-73.

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      Research on narrative identity has mainly focused on progressive adaptation
      and survival narratives of life-change in cases in which the change in the
      individual’s situation has been brought about by factors outside his/her control.
      The present study, however, is concerned to examine the way in which a selfinflicted
      socially regressive experience is integrated into an identity narrative.
      The study was carried out in the Department of Psychology, University of
      Jyväskylä, Finland. The material was collected from voluntary five-hour
      counseling sessions included as a part of the community service required of
      convicted drunk-drivers. The theoretical starting-point is the theory of narrative
      flow, which is based on the idea that the foundation of identity is an inner
      narrative, a process through which experiences are interpreted. The inner
      narrative constructs and manifests itself both in action and in the stories told
      about acted-out life. From the perspective of this dynamic, a person driving
      under the influence of alcohol can be seen as indicating a conflict between an
      inner narrative and a socially legitimate story. Regardless of offender’s own
      attitudes towards the offence, (s)he is confronted with personal choice and
      responsibility when (s)he faces social reality (legal and social sanctions). In
      order to understand self-inflicted, socially regressive experiences the approach
      used has to be sensitive to both social reality and personal choices. Here the
      integration of an experience is studied from the viewpoint of sense of agency,
      ie. a person’s ability to understand his/her responsibility as an agent in relation
      to his/her motives, impulses, and social reality. As the integration of experience
      is considered within the framework of the theory of narrative flow, the sense of
      agency is examined in stories of acted out life, in the social stock of stories and
      in ways of interpreting circumstantial conditions. In this presentation, the
      integration of experience is examined through agency only by concentrating on
      talk about narrator’s own drunken driving. The following questions are asked:
      1) how does the narrator understand his/her drunken driving and what meaning
      does s(he) give to it, and 2) how does the narrator convey his/her responsibility
      in relation to his/her motives and impulses for driving under the influence of

      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: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (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: 16 Jul 2009 09:42
      Last Modified: 30 Jul 2010 14:19


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