Bruner – life as narrative (love his work)


“… life narratives obviously reflect the prevailing theories about “possible lives” that are part of one’s culture. Indeed, one important way of characterizing a culture is by the narrative models it makes available for describing the course of life.  And the tool kit of any culture is replete not only with a stock of canonical life narratives (heroes, Marthas, tricksters, etc.) but with combinable formal constituents from which its members can construct their own life narratives: canonical stances and circumstances as it were.”

“…eventually the culturally shaped cognitive and linguistic processes that guide the self-telling of life narratives achieve the power to structure perceptual experience, to organize memory, to segment and purpose-build the very “events” of a life.  In the end, we become the autobiographical narratives by which we “tell about” our lives.  And given the cultural shaping to which I referred, we also become variants of the culture’s canonical forms.” … “… how our way of telling about ourselves changes …”[1]

[1] 15 Life as narrative – jerome bruner


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