Narrative identity construction as a goal-oriented endeavor: Reframing the issue of “big vs. small” story research

  • Schachter E
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In this paper I propose reframing the study of all narrative construction-big or small-as a goal-oriented value-laden intentional process. Narrative construction of identity serves various purposes at different times. Both situational and trans-situational factors present a host of competing viable alternatives, attractive possibilities, and multiple constraints with regards to identity construction. The individual must navigate these and exercise choice in order to construct a particular manifestation of identity with narrative means. While Bamberg's suggestion to focus research on identity performance in interaction with the help of micro-analytic study can contribute to identity research in valuable ways, I alternatively argue that research in this field would benefit more by focusing on uncovering narrators' explicit and implicit intentions in constructing identities through stories, revealing the goals, constraints, and values guiding identity construction.

Author-supplied keywords

  • autobiography
  • goal-oriented psychology
  • identity
  • narrative identity
  • small stories

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  • Elli P. Schachter

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