Why narrative is here to stay
The main purpose of the present chapter is to return to some of the intellectual movements and motives that gave rise to the “narrative turn” and, in so doing, provide a substantive rationale for why narrative inquiry is nothing short of a necessity in exploring the human realm. Acknowledging that there were many such movements and motives, spanning both the humanities and the social sciences, I suggest herein that the seminal work of Paul Ricoeur provides the most thorough, philosophically compelling, account of why narrative is here to stay. Following discussion of Ricoeur’s work, I explore the story of an elderly woman with dementia, demonstrating that as the narrative self increasingly becomes diminished, so too does one’s connection to reality. This suggests that even if we do not quite live narratives, as some have argued, truly moving beyond them can be devastating. It also suggests that narrative knowing, rather than being seen as the “imposition” it is sometimes seen to be, should instead be seen as an integral to fully functioning human life.