The promise (and challenge) of an innovative narrative psychology

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In this article, I outline what are, in my view, the major conceptual and institutional weaknesses of narrative psychology. However, because my objective is to legitimatize narrative as an alternative vision of psychology, I frame these criticisms as challenges for narrative psychologists to overcome. I argue that narrative psychology has not clearly defined the meaning, scope and basic principles of a narrative approach. I ask: What does narrative mean? Is narrative ethnocentric? Is narrative a science? Can narrative reconcile with the mainstream without losing its critical spirit? Can narrative survive in the academy? Although the challenges are significant, I argue that narrative psychology offers the promise of a systematic form of inquiry that explores meaning and intention in human lives. Narrative research promises to bring us closer to the real subject matter of psychological investigation, that of human intention and meaning, in its appropriate interpretive context.


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