Cermák, Ivo (2004) “Genres” of Life-Stories. In: Narrative, Memory & Identity: Theoretical and Methodological Issues. University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield, pp. 211-221.

Based on a life story telling, this paper explores a subjective sense of a passing
life. A life line technique was used to elicit the life story telling. A subject was
asked to draw a line of his/her life and mark the point of the present moment.
Then he/she was encouraged to label subjectively important events of his/her
life and reconstruct the life story. Fifty-two adult respondents (20 men and 32
women aged from 38 to 42 years) were involved in the research. A narrative
holistic formal analysis of life line shapes (or life trajectories) was carried out.
The life events and the life story content detected by the life line technique
were also taken into account. The following categories were identified: life
crisis - small loss and early recovery; life crisis - fall and dash; slow ascent;
planned gain with an appreciated risk; moratorium; permanent descent; spiral;
permanently shattering life line; and metanoia. Further, these categories were
submitted to a general narrative thematic analysis to reach a more profound
understanding of the “genres” of the life stories.

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