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Reading Our LivesThe poetics of growing old$
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William L. Randall and Elizabeth McKim

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195306873

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195306873.001.0001

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STORYING LIFE: STORYING LIFE: THE DEVELOPMENT OF IDENTITY

STORYING LIFE: STORYING LIFE: THE DEVELOPMENT OF IDENTITY

Chapter:
(p.49) Three STORYING LIFE: THE DEVELOPMENT OF IDENTITY
Source:
Reading Our Lives
Author(s):

William L Randall

A. Elizabeth McKim

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195306873.003.0003

This chapter continues laying the conceptual groundwork for the rest of the book, where the focus is on aging, by discussing the formation of the self in explicitly narrative terms. The concept of narrative environment is introduced, to refer to the larger contexts within which our personal stories are inevitably constructed — not just our families, friendships, and communities but such broad or master narratives as gender, politics, culture, and religion. The many environments we live within exercise a powerful influence — supportive or oppressive — on the direction of our narrative development, that is, on the development of our narrative identity: the internalized, ever-evolving lifestory, the faction by which we understand who we are. Identity is no once-and-for-all achievement, but a process of continuous “storying,” even in later life, that involves the paradoxical activity of self-as-author and self-as-reader of our own lived narratives.

Keywords:   faction, identity, lifestory, master narratives, narrative development, narrative environment, narrative identity, self-as-author, self-as-reader, storying

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