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Narrative & Memory Research Group 9th Annual Conference

Narrative, Memory and Ordinary Lives


University of Huddersfield 25 April 2009

Abstracts

Contents
First author Andersdotter, Sara Baldwin, Clive Bhatti, Mark Bradby, Hannah Carless, David ermk, Ivo Douglas, Kitrina Duggan, Andrew Hammond, Ralph Harvey, Brendon Hiles, David Hiles, David Jenkins, Clare Kramer-Moore, Daniela Preser, Ruth Robinson, Oliver Sheridan, Vera Speedy, Jane Title Dj-experienc: Memory & Past-ness Considered Through a Practice-Led Research Project The narrative organisation of an organisational narrative The Hoover in the Garden? auto/biography, leisure, and gardening as resistance Narratives in health and social care: truths in context; truths in contest? Who the hell was that? Stories, bodies and actions in the world One storyteller, different interpretations, more understanding Storying my self: negotiating a relational identity in professional sport The role of personal narratives in addressing stigma & discrimination: a case study from mental health Using collective memory work to investigate the lived experience of physiotherapists Through the Glass Darkly: powerful stories of parental loss and fortitude Things that went bump in the night: tacit knowing, narrative circumspection and ordinary life Narrative Identity Positioning: First steps in NOI Relative Grief: memories and media treatment of interviews about bereavement Gender differences in the use of narrative techniques for personal growth Families we choose and those we don't: a narrative investigation of kinship transformation Page 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

A case study of pre-midlife crisis: An extraordinary transformational episode in an ordinary life


Letters of love, life and fragmentation in an age of migration Looking for Ladybirds through Helen Hobdens legs: the legendary powers of family snaps in the shaping of memory and identity. Madness: Extraordinary experiences in ordinary lives

Torn, Alison

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Dj-experienc: memory & past-ness considered through a practice-led research project


Sara Andersdotter The University of The Arts London (Wimbledon College of Art) 24 St Gabriels Road London NW2 4RY E-mail: sara@andersdotter.com / andersdotter@hotmail.co.uk

This paper is based on current research undertaken through a practice-led PhD project at the University of the Arts London (Wimbledon College of Art), concerning memory, recollection, personal/national identity and personal narratives. The motivation behind my practical and theoretical work is an inability to recognise my childhood in my family photographs, which has raised doubts regarding generally held views of a presumed, direct bond between memory and photographs, how memory is experienced and where it is found. The research project aims to critique traditional notions of memory and existing metaphors of memory, through a call for alternative, more adequate manners of speaking and thinking about experiences of memory and past-ness. This paper will entail a selection of works from my practice as an artist, as well as an outline of related theoretical concerns. My art practice deals with components of the experiential sides of memory, and looks at elements of my childhood that were never documented or reflected in my family album. My work is primarily installation based, and looks at journeys and attempted returns, loss and disconnection, movement, memory and nomadic existences. I am working on a large series of images of hunting towers in my native Sweden, representing both the undocumented and an intersection where personal and cultural memory merge. These images reflect our complex relationship to photographs and the past; an impossible return to a former state which ultimately places us in a permanent form of exile.

The narrative organisation of an organisational narrative


Clive Baldwin and Caroline Chambers University of Bradford Social Sciences and Humanities University of Bradford Richmond Building Richmond Road Bradford BD7 1DP E-mail: p.c.baldwin@bradford.ac.uk; c.chambers1@bradford.ac.uk

Large organisations seemingly have an increasing concern for the culture of the working environment. Organisational culture is seen as the arena for both failure and success of the institution and many hours and large resources are poured into identifying cultural stumbling blocks and subsequent cultural change strategies. This paper will explore a case study of the promotion of organisational change through a staff development programme in management and leadership. This programme is the latest in a series of culture change programmes in the organisation. We will argue that the need for culture change in the organisation is narratively constructed through rhetoric, genre, plot and narrative smoothing. The resulting narrative is then promoted as the basis on which to plan for culture change, a process which requires the formation of actor-networks (for example, participants in the management and leadership programme, heads of departments, Organisational Culture surveys etc) which in turn require further narratives to hold them together. Finally, we will suggest that the narrative of the need organisational change, and its potential to promote that change through the staff development programme is undermined by the very narrative process that supposedly gives it its basis.

The Hoover in the Garden? auto/biography, leisure, and gardening as resistance


Mark Bhatti School of Applied Social Science University of Brighton Falmer BN1 9PH E-mail: M.Bhatti@brighton.ac.uk

Much feminist analyses of leisure focuses on the unique possibilities within leisure with which to resist oppressive gender relations. This paper examines the significance of leisure in the home in the context of the garden as a political site. It is argued that the gendered use and meanings of the domestic garden are continually being (re) negotiated, and can act as a place for empowerment and resistance, especially for women. Gardening promises some space for freedom and it can also be a source of artful creativity and selfexpression not found elsewhere. I use Stanleys (1992) work on auto/biography as a starting point to examine the ways in which the garden represents a powerful theme in gendered home-making, and shows how the garden is politicised. The life story is drawn from the Mass Observation Archive based at the University of Sussex, UK. The term auto/biography also denotes the relationship between the researcher and researched, and to highlight that life stories are mediated, inevitably so, through our own sociologically-informed interpretative frameworks. Auto/biographies and other MO material are not then, regarded as raw and static data speaking of truth, but are recognised and valued because of their inevitable subjectivity and meaning(s) that are reshaped through re-telling. The individual stories and memories in the MO offer a rich and textured insight into the everyday lives of ordinary people as expressed in their own words. Thus the auto/biography used in this paper is of one ordinary women's story of her childhood, her family, and her acts of resistance in the making of her garden. Key words: leisure, garden, gender, resistance, gardening, home-making, auto/biography, identity.

Narratives in health and social care: truths in context; truths in contest?


Dr Hannah Bradby Department of Sociology, University of Warwick, Coventry, CV4 7AL, E-mail: hannah.bradby@gmail.com Dr. Janet Hargreaves School of Human and Health Sciences, University of Huddersfield E-mail: j.hargreaves@hud.ac.uk Mary Robson NESTA Fellow E-mail: Maryrobson@mac.com Story-telling is a peculiarly human trait and a practice through which we rehearse, invent and re-invent our humanity (Kearney 2002). Drawing upon relevant literature and two pieces of original writing, this paper briefly sets out some of the circumstances behind narrative (re-)emerging as a significant form of knowledge and the development of the imperative to attend to patients stories in health and social care settings. It goes on to problematise some of the emergent orthodoxies of patient narratives: Since attention to patient narratives seems to be so laudable, what more can there be to say on the subject? The imperative to attend to narrative has, in some respects, become a new orthodoxy, bolstered by assumptions that everyone has a story to tell and that story-telling is therapeutic. As with anything that takes on the appearance of orthodoxy, there is a critique. The remainder of this paper explores the problems with deploying patients stories or narratives in planning health and social care by raising four questions. What if telling ones story can be counter-productive to recovery? What if patients narratives are compelling but wrong? What if different narratives offer a truth that is denied by another? How should the difference be resolved? What about the stories that cannot be told?

Key Words Narrative, health and social care,

Who the hell was that? Stories, bodies and actions in the world
David Carless, PhD Leeds Metropolitan University Carnegie Research Institute Headingley Campus Leeds, LS6 3QS E-mail: d.carless@leedsmet.ac.uk

Through this autoethnography I explore what I take to be a complex two-way relationship between stories and the experiential actions of bodies in the world. To do so, I draw on my memories of a string of events which I re-present in the form of a series of interlinked story fragments. Through telling these stories I hope to evoke a feel for the ways in which stories, bodies, and actions influence and shape each other over time. Also through the telling, I hope show how ambiguous silences resulting from hard-to-share stories can come to impede the actions of bodies in the world. I offer some reflections on the experiences the stories portray from the perspective of a social constructionist conception of narrative theory and suggest that while stories exert a powerful influence on the actions of our bodies, our bodies intrude on or talk back to this process because bodies have an existence beyond stories.

One Storyteller, Different Interpretations, More Understanding


Ivo ermk, Vladimr Chrz, Tom Urbnek, Ta Fikarov Institute of Psychology, Academy of Sciences, v.v.i. Czech Republic Veveri 97 Brno Czech Republic 602 00 E-mail: cermak@psu.cas.cz

Our experience is narratively structured and is permeated through all stories we tell. We think, feel and act in terms of stories. That is why our modes of creating stories are important characteristics of personality. Story telling of Czech poet evoked by Thematic Apperception Test is analyzed. We explore the styles of narrative imagination and projections in TAT story. These two different approaches have similar outcomes and contribute to more truthworthy understanding of storyteller personality. The third more quantifying approach is mentioned.

Storying My Self: Negotiating a Relational Identity in Professional Sport


Dr Kitrina Douglas University of Bristol 8 Woodland Road Clifton Bristol E-mail: k.douglas@bristol.ac.uk

As a professional athlete I have been shocked by the singular way athletes are portrayed in much scientific literature. Across sports, scholars suggest the professional athlete has, and must have, such a narrow focus on winning it is impossible to be much else. These narrow portrayals of what it is to be an elite athlete are potentially damaging because they delegitimize alternative identities, fail to acknowledge diversity, and can sanction dangerous or unethical practices in sport. Recently, narrative scholars have shown how a dominant performance narrative within sport can have harmful effects on the identity development and psychological well-being of professional sportspeople and have highlighted alternative but silenced life stories. My purpose in this paper is to provide some insight into how an individual can resist the dominant performance narrative in sport through sustaining a relational life story. Through an autoethnographic approach which foregrounds particular moments of my own life, I hope to illuminate the narrative processes of identity construction and negotiation in the context of a successful career in professional golf. While I use my own experiences as a lens, the stories presented provide a wider backdrop to promote reflection on other areas of life outside of sport where achievement and success are promoted and valued above relational dimensions of our selves and identities.

The role of personal narratives in addressing stigma & discrimination: a case study from mental health
Andrew Duggan University of Huddersfield Health & Community Studies University Campus Oldham Cromwell Street Oldham E-mail: a.duggan@hud.ac.uk

Stories remain an integral part of our daily lives and are common in the arts and media but until recently have been marginalized from mainstream public policy and many areas of academic discourse, where rational scientific thought has dominated the agenda. Within mental health services psychiatric and psychological practice has been characterized as having symptom based, context deprived assessments, using multiple screening questionnaires, aggressive use of psychotropic medication and use of multiple prescriptions often with little information about safety or long-term effects. Kuhn (1962) defines a paradigm as an overreaching model; it guides theory, research and professional practice in a field. Within mental health care psychiatry and psychology have become the dominant paradigms in the helping professions. These professions are now abound with classifications of problems that help situate the problem within the person and not wider society and ignore context and culture. This gathering will illustrate how privileging the narratives and experiential knowledge of persons who have been given a diagnosis of mental illness, as opposed to scientific and expert ways of knowing, will help them question the dominant truths arising from this expert knowledge, and challenge not only the stigma and discrimination associated with diagnosis, but mental-illness itself.

Using collective memory work to investigate the lived experience of physiotherapists


Ralph Hammond Professional Doctorate (Physiotherapy) student, Year Three, Clinical Research Centre, School for Health Professions, University of Brighton 49 Darley Road, Eastbourne BN20 7UR E-mail: rh96@brighton.ac.uk

Background Physiotherapy is a profession that emerged to legitimize therapeutic massage. The potential for massage as a healthcare intervention was becoming hidden by the disreputable practices of the day. The current modernisation agenda and societys increasing expectations of healthcare are stimulating physiotherapists to update their role, location, and identity, requiring ingenuity, opportunism, flexibility, and evidence. This study is an exploratory investigation into the personal experiences of physiotherapists of being a physiotherapist. There are few existing theories of physiotherapy as a whole and those that do exist fail to consider personal experiences. I am concerned with how the profession can better know itself and forge its future. Research Question What does it mean to be a physiotherapist? Theoretical perspective I shall adopt a Habermasian critical theory perspective to investigate socialization into the profession. The study aims to generate insights applicable to the personal professional development of participants and themes that resonate for the wider profession, through a reconstruction of self-formative processes and real life solutions to problems of action coordination and social integration. Methodology Collective memory work involves the writing of a memory (related to a physiotherapy experience), the creation of a text, discussion of it, its reappraisal and collective theorising, to facilitate an understanding of the hidden structures and tacit cultural dynamics that mark social meanings and values. I have University ethics and governance agreement to proceed, and am now submitting for IRAS ethical permission. I hope to collect data during 2009 and submit my thesis by December 2010.

Through the Glass Darkly: powerful stories of parental loss and fortitude
Dr Brendon Harvey University of Huddersfield School of Education and Professional Development E-mail: brendon.harvey@yahoo.co.uk

This paper will explore the use and abuse of powerful stories of loss and fortitude of parents whose children have been affected by gun and gang-related behaviour. Successive government initiatives have sought to empower communities, enhance community safety and involve families in solutions to complex social problems. However, the authors recent experience of working with such families within these communities suggests that the rhetoric is not matched by the reality of lived experience. These realities are often expressed as lone voices and rich stories of life-changing personal development. This paper will have at its heart the story of a such a parent, generated by the authors recent research activity, and the ways in which her narrative illustrates the potential of such stories in encouraging participation and engagement [Ely, et al 1997]. Moreover, the story identifies the construction of a sense of self and how such narratives can prove to be instrumental in stimulating and nurturing personal development [Schratz and Walker 1995]. However, the paper will also counter such optimism with the reality of the abuse of such stories by agencies attempting to initiate policy at a local level. As a consequence such powerful narratives get lost amongst a cacophony of competing voices which exert powerful influence over what is supported and funded. In effect, this reductive notion of collating stories marginalises the story-teller, nullifies the celebration of the Other, and the potential for involvement within, and across communities, is lost [Bauman 2007, Austin1996]

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Things that went bump in the night: Tacit knowing, narrative circumspection and ordinary life
Dr David Hiles Psychology Department Hawthorn Building De Montfort University The Gateway LEICESTER LE1 9BH.

One of the conundrums of the conference theme, narrative, memory and ordinary lives, is that the focus inevitably is on attempting to make explicit what is for ordinary life largely tacit. In this paper I report a follow-up study of how people use contingent narratives (Hiles, 2005) to account for their experience of an earthquake near Leicester, last year. One of the features of this data is the ease with which people seem to use a narrative circumspection in making sense of their experience. I will place this within a broad framework for understanding the role of narrative thinking in everyday life, and will reexamine Bruners (1985) distinction between paradigmatic and narrative thinking, arguing that human knowing has two fundamentally inseparable features: the explicit and the tacit. This explicit/tacit distinction is usually attributed to Michael Polanyi, but it is an idea that dates back to at least the Ancient Greeks. Strangely ignored by much of modern epistemology, it is a theme that more recently runs through the work of Helmholtz, James, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, Russell, Ryle, Searle, etc. The importance of tacit knowledge is that it is a participatory, embodied knowing that crucially underpins human know-how and everyday practice. Moreover, it is knowledge that is available without conscious effort, easily adaptable to new contexts, and particularly good at handling the unexpected. It is a matter of note that in the field of knowledge management it is generally agreed that tacit knowledge is especially difficult to communicate and make explicit. But this overlooks the somewhat obvious fact that humans have evolved a particularly efficient way of sharing the tacit through narrative thinking, communicating it through narrative cultural practices. My point is that tacit knowing and narrative thinking offer a key to understanding our experience of ordinary life.

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Narrative Identity Positioning: First steps in NOI


Dr David Hiles, Prof Ivo ermk & Dr Vladimr Chrz Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, De Montfort University, Leicester, UK and Institute of Psychology, Academy of Sciences, CZ

At last years conference (see Hiles, ermk & Chrz, 2009), we outlined an approach to narrative research which we call Narrative Oriented Inquiry (NOI). We see this as a dynamic framework for good practice, i.e. a psychological approach developed with respect to research on personal narratives which offers a distinctive and critical approach to data analysis. In this paper we want to explore how our approach can be used to explore the narrative intelligence that is at work in our everyday lives (Ricoeur, 1987). We argue that the first steps in narrative data analysis are crucial to later critical analysis (see Emerson & Frosh, 2004). Indeed, a relatively straightforward distinction between fabula and sjuzet can be shown to expedite the identification of the identity positioning at play in the narrators constructions. An example of an elderly man (NK), who is outlining his life journey with particular emphasis on the life events that influenced and changed the course of his career, is presented. This material especially focuses upon the subtle ways in which NK participates in his own construction of self.

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Relative Grief: memories and media treatment of interviews about bereavement


Clare Jenkins Centre for Oral History Research University of Huddersfield Queensgate Huddersfield HD1 3DH E-mail address: c.jenkins@hud.ac.uk

How do people remember bereavement and how do the media use interviews with bereaved people? Clare Jenkins is Visiting Research Fellow in Oral History at COHR. She is also a broadcaster, contributing to programmes such as Woman's Hour on Radio 4, and with her own independent radio company, Pennine Productions; and the co-author of Relative Grief, a book about people's experiences of bereavement. This paper will look at the experience of interviewing people about death and bereavement, their feelings about the bereavement and about the recollection/interview process, and the use made of such material. What are some of the ethical issues involved? Some of the people interviewed for that book had been bereaved by suicide, which led to The Minute When Your Life Stops, a drama-documentary broadcast on Radio 4 in January 2008. For this, Clare interviewed half a dozen people bereaved by suicide. Again, what impact does such a death have on an individual and on a family; how do they come to terms with it; why do they decide to speak out about it and for a medium that will add fiction to their raw fact? What is the process of interviewing people about such a sensitive subject, the impact upon the interviewer and their responsibilities? Finally, Clare talks about her own experience of suicide, and the book of tributes that she compiled as a result. How does this differ from personal testimony interviews?

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Gender differences in the use of narrative techniques for personal growth


Dr Daniela Kramer-Moore Oranim College Israel E-mail: d.kramer-moore@warwick.ac.uk

Eighty students read an unfinished folktale, completed it, related their ending to their life, and shared their stories in small groups. Written narratives and feedback about the activity were content-analysed: A far larger proportion of females found the ending they had written related to their life, and the insights as very meaningful. Far more women found a religious aspect in the story. More males mentioned teamwork in the ending they provided. Several participants commented on the activitys projective nature. About 75% of the feedbacks were extremely positive, and found writing the narrative insightful to their life. Sharing brought on a feeling of intimacy, and diminished feelings of isolation. A few liked the activity and the sharing, but couldnt see how it related to their life. Three male students disliked the activity. One male student felt the activity was too revealing. Students found the activity interesting, engaging, challenging, insightful, involving; enjoyed hearing others interpretations; appreciated the change from just listening in a course to actually "experiencing a hands on psychological process". Many expressed their interest in participating in additional activities. Conclusions: Projective techniques promote insight for individuals in educational settings. Such techniques promote insight and group cohesiveness. Talking about personal experience and listening to others create closeness and understanding among group members. Women seem to enjoy and benefit more from this activity than men. Gaining insight and sharing with others empowers the participants.

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Families we choose and those we don't: a narrative investigation of kinship transformation


Ruth Preser Gender Studies Program Bar-Ilan University Phone # +972 4 826-1934 E-mail: ruthpreser@hotmail.com

Married women who choose to live as lesbians are expected to perform a transition. In a culture that maintains a system of binaries and classifies heterosexuality as opposed to lesbianism, it is expected to 'cross' discursive borders of identity and kinship structure, and to maintain firmly situated systems of belief that do not confuse the 'old' position with the 'new' one. This paper explores life stories of ten once married women who chose to live as lesbians, all members of the Jewish community in Israel, a community that is characterized by the centrality of the normative family in the private and public life. The theoretical and empirical discourse that investigates coming out of married women and men resides almost completely in the domain of human sexuality, family practice and community health. It investigates clinical and therapeutic aspects of coming out and the role of the community, health services and practitioners in supporting the newly-born gay person and her family, leaving kinship position of women who perform the 'transition' unexplored. Following the notion of a life story as cultural device for structuring experience into socially shareable narrative, and post-structural notion of performativity of identity, I discuss the responses of the narrators, as embedded in their life stories, to the expectation of constructing a polarized and coherent story of transition in the field of kinship. The paper discusses the ambivalent responses while mapping the sites in which this ambivalence is being narrated.

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A Case Study of Pre-Midlife Crisis: An Extraordinary Transformational Episode in an Ordinary Life Dr Oliver Robinson Senior Lecturer Dept of Psychology and Counselling University of Greenwich Southwood Site Avery Hill Road Eltham SE9 2UG E-mail: o.c.robinson@gre.ac.uk

This case study explored a single in-depth narrative of an episode of crisis. The participant, an English Jewish man in his late thirties (Guy), was selected using a random purposeful design from a sample who had previously participated in a study on the experience of crisis in pre-midlife adulthood. From a subgroup of participants chosen for giving full accounts of both inner and outer dimensions of crisis, the individual was selected randomly. Data collection comprised two interviews followed by an email discussion. The crisis occurred in Guys late thirties, just before the midlife transition, and so can be considered a pre-midlife crisis. It subsumed the period surrounding leaving a high-profile banking career and a dysfunctional marriage, and the ensuing attempts to rebuild life after this difficult and emotional period. Qualitative analysis found four trajectories of personal transformation over the course of the episode: Firstly there was a shift away from the use of a conventional persona to a more spontaneous and authentic expression of self; secondly there was a move away from materialistic values toward relational values; thirdly a developing capacity to reflect on himself and his actions; fourthly an emerging feminine component of his personality. The case study portrays an extraordinary event in the life of an ordinary man approaching middle age. It illustrates the transformative nature of crisis in ordinary lives, the dramatic nature of narrative surrounding crisis, and also illustrates existing theory about the nature of adult crises.

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Letters of love, life and fragmentation in an age of migration


Dr Vera Sheridan Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences Dublin City University DUBLIN 9 Ireland E-mail: vera.sheridan@dcu.ie

As Stanley (2004) notes, letters are by their very nature fragments of a lived life which contain both the mundane details of life recorded by the writer for the reader/s but also contain the extraordinary aspects of an individuals life. This paper examines how aspects of the extraordinary are recorded and passed between family members in the form of letters following revolution and the dispersal of family across Europe. These are texts written in fear or are about love and resignation to changes in personal circumstances. Communication is also as a hidden message whose meanings may never be fully discovered when such fragments are read by others and not the official recipient. In what way does the discovery of such letters and the moments created by the reading of these texts impinge on the understanding of a familys fragmented life, on individual memory and the story of the family? Is the dissection of such texts voyeurism; is it an indulgence in autobiography which reveals nothing new or contributes so little to our understanding of human experience of extraordinary events that such inquiry should not be conducted or promoted. Finally, what are the implications for family relations as such texts are written in languages which are no longer in the second generation of family: the heirs to these texts. Will total attrition of the heritage language prevail or is there a greater chance for the languages of letters to flourish in an age of globalisation and transnational movement.

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Looking for Ladybirds through Helen Hobdens legs: the legendary powers of family snaps in the shaping of memory and identity
Jane Speedy Graduate School of Education University of Bristol 8-10 Berkeley Square Bristol BS8 1HH E-mail: jane.speedy@bristol.ac.uk

This auto/ethnographic presentation explores the extra(ordinary) family narratives, shared memories and available spaces that are captured by and constructed through family snaps . I revisit the ladybird photograph of myself and my brother, which sat on my mothers dressing table throughout our lives and now rests on my own mantelpiece, as a defining family text. I juxtapose the possible space(s) and dimensions that now seem available within this photograph with those inhabited by my brother, myself, my parents and the elusive Helen Hobden throughout our family life. I draw upon the work of Doreen Massey (2005:9) and others in their conceptualisations of space as a simultaneity of stories so far in this exploration of the construction of family narratives, memories and identity claims in relation to space, place and time. I draw upon a multiplicity of imagined possible other lives, identities and futures as I experiment with different ways of seeing and versions of remembering and forgetting. I discover that, over time, the images that I grew up with can be shifted to one side, overlain with new meanings, extended and contradicted, but also that they cannot be replaced. When I catch an inadvertent glimpse of the ladybird photograph in the mantelpiece mirror, or in a moment of reverie or abstraction I can still see the original legendary image. In fact, I can always see it, but these days, I no longer see it first.

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Madness: Extraordinary experiences in ordinary lives

Dr Alison Torn Department of Psychology Leeds Trinity and All Saints College Brownberrie Lane Leeds LS18 5HD E-mail: a.torn@leedstrinity.ac.uk

Madness has been a formative part of human experience since the writings of Socrates. Yet these extraordinary experiences in the many ordinary lives are seldom heard. One of the many possible reasons behind this absence of voice is that traditional temporally linear forms of narrative are often not available to those experiencing psychological distress. Thus there is the risk that such individuals become narratively dispossessed by both medicine and the Western insistence of linear, coherent storytelling (Baldwin, 2005). This raises fundamental questions for narrative researchers. First, how can such experiences be articulated during what are often unspeakable experiences, when language eludes the self? Second, can narrative and selfhood still be present within incoherence and silence? Third, how does the researcher find meaning in what can often be incoherent and inchoate narratives? One way of addressing these questions is to be open to the idea that not all narratives are recognisably chronological. Bakhtins chronotope, which juxtaposes the temporal and spatial position of the narrator with the cultural and social times, provides a means of capturing the multiple temporalities within a single narrative. Using examples from my research on medieval and modernist firsthand narratives of madness I argue that it is not that people suffer narrative loss in diagnosed conditions such as schizophrenia, but more that their narrative is inaccessible to others, either through a failure of words to articulate the experience or through a failure to listen to the rich complexity of subjective experience. Narratives of oppressed groups, such as the mad, challenge not only the dominant voice of science and reason, but also the universality of the developmental, linear narrative (Roberts, 2001: 88). Research on narratives of madness should strive to access peoples incoherent, atemporal narratives, and endeavour to access those spaces where such narratives may be heard. References Baldwin, C. (2005) Narrative, Ethics and People with Severe Mental Illness. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 39, pp. 1022-1029. Roberts, B. (2001) Biographical Research. Buckingham: Open University Press.

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