Analyzing Narrative Reality

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SAGE, 2009 - Social Science - 248 pages
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“At a time when more and more researchers are collecting and reproducing personal narratives, there is a pressing need for clear, sound methodological guidance. We owe a debt of gratitude to Gubrium and Holstein for the scope and rigour of their analysis.”
—Paul Atkinson, Cardiff University, U.K.

“Analyzing Narrative Reality is a finely crafted and compelling argument for thinking about narratives not only as meaningful stories that help us make sense of the world, but as dynamic, ubiquitous, and profoundly important features of the social world. By subtly linking the meaning and structural integrity of narratives to the myriad social practices through which they are contingently accomplished, Gubrium and Holstein have provided a brilliant and exciting new analytic frame for the conduct of narrative research. A major contribution to a burgeoning field!”
—Darin Weinberg, University of Cambridge, U.K.

Analyzing Narrative Reality offers a comprehensive framework for analyzing the construction and use of stories in society. This centers on the interplay of narrative work and narrative environments, viewed as reflexively related. Topics dealing with narrative work include activation, linkage, composition, performance, collaboration, and control. Those dealing with narrative environments include close relationships, local culture, status, jobs, organizations, and intertextuality. Both the texts and everyday contexts of the storying process are considered, with accompanying guidelines for analysis and illustrations from empirical material. Methodological procedures feature interviewing, ethnographic fieldwork, and conversational and textual analysis. The conclusion raises the issue of narrative adequacy, addressing the questions of what is a good story and who is a good storyteller.

Analyzing Narrative Reality is truly multidisciplinary and should appeal to researchers working across the social and behavioral sciences and humanities, as well as to narratively focused researchers in nursing, education, allied and public health, social work, law, counseling, and management/organization studies.

  

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About the author (2009)

Jaber F. Gubrium is professor and chair of sociology at the University of Missouri. He has an extensive record of research on the social organization of care in human service institutions. His publications include numerous books and articles on aging, family, the life course, medicalization, and representational practice in therapeutic context.

James A. Holstein is professor of sociology in the Department of Social and Cultural Sciences at Marquette University. His research and writing projects have addressed social problems, deviance and social control, mental health and illness, family, and the self, all approached from an ethnomethodologically- informed, constructionist perspective.

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