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Journal of Narrative and Life History

image of Journal of Narrative and Life History
ISSN 1053-6981
E-ISSN 2405-9374

The Journal of Narrative and Life History was originally published by Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. It was originally a multi-disciplinary journal for work on and with narrative in different disciplines, establishing narrative inquiry as a trans-disciplinary new field.

In 1998 it was continued under the title Narrative Inquiry by John Benjamins Publishing Company.

As of April 2015, John Benjamins also distributes the back volumes of JNLH.


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  • Models of Narrative Analysis: A Typology
    • Author: Elliot G. Mishler
    • Source: Journal of Narrative and Life History, Volume 5, Issue 2, 1995, pages: 87 –123
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    • AbstractThe recent increase in the number of narrative studies in the human sciences is marked by great diversity in methods and theoretical perspectives. Researchers offer different answers to many questions, from what constitutes a narrative and how different genres may be specified to the aims and functions of storytell-ing. To clarify differences among approaches, a typology of models is proposed that focuses on which of three alternative problems are defined as the central task for narrative research: reference and the relation between temporal order-ings of events and their narrative representation; textual coherence and struc-ture, and how these are achieved through narrative strategies; and psychological, cultural, and social contexts and functions of narratives. Within each of these general categories, subclasses are distinguished in terms of the specific ways in which the central problem is addressed. Exemplars of each model are presented and related studies are cited. This comparative analysis demonstrates the depth, strength, and diversity of current research on narra-tive. It is suggested that further development of the field would benefit from more inclusive research strategies that combine what have been separate lines of inquiry. (Narrative Analyses; Types and Functions; Social Sciences; Educa-tion; Psychology
  • Children’s Testimony About a Stressful Event: Improving Children’s Reports
    • Authors: Gail S. Goodman, Bette L. Bottoms, Beth M. Schwartz-Kenney, and Leslie Rudy
    • Source: Journal of Narrative and Life History, Volume 1, Issue 1, 1991, pages: 69 –99
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    • AbstractAge differences in children's ability to recount a stressful event were explored, as were several ways to improve children's reports. Seventy 3- to 7 year olds were videotaped while receiving inoculations at a medical clinic. It was predicted that multiple interviews would maintain memory and strengthen resistance to sugges-tion. It was also predicted that social support would ease intimidation and thus lessen children's suggestibility. To test these predictions, children were inter-viewed either once after a 4-week delay or twice, following 2- and 4-week delays, and under either "reinforcing" or "nonreinforcing" conditions. Age differences in answers to specific and misleading questions and in performance on a photo identification task were prevalent. However, multiple interviews and reinforce-ment supported more accurate reports. Training was effective in reducing false identifications on the photo identification task, especially for older children. Children's accuracy was unrelated to parental ratings of the stressfulness of the event. Our findings have implications for the testimony of child victim witnesses and for child-adult reconstruction of a child's past history. (Psychology)
  • Narrative and Self-Concept
    • Author: Donald E. Polkinghorne
    • Source: Journal of Narrative and Life History, Volume 1, Issue 2-3, 1991, pages: 135 –153
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    • AbstractWhen the self is thought of as a narrative or story, rather than a substance or thing, the temporal and dramatic dimension of human existence is emphasized. The operation of narrative "emplotment" (Ricoeur, 1983/1984) can configure the diverse events and actions of one's life into a meaningful whole. One's self-concept or self-identity is fashioned by adaptation of plots from one's cul-tural stock of stories and myths. Stories of personal identity differ from literary productions in that they are constructed within an unfolding autobiography and incorporate the accidental events and unintended consequences of actions. Under stressful conditions, a self-narrative may decompose, producing the anxiety and depression of meaninglessness. One function of psychotherapy is to assist in the reconstruction of a meaning-giving narrative of self-identity. (Psychology)
  • A Linguistic Approach to Narrative
    • Author: James Paul Gee
    • Source: Journal of Narrative and Life History, Volume 1, Issue 1, 1991, pages: 15 –39
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    • AbstractThis article develops, through an analysis of a single example, a linguistic ap-proach to narrative. I argue that the discourse structure of a text functions to set up a series of interpretive questions, questions that must be answered by any acceptable interpretation, but that also constrain what count as acceptable inter-pretations. I argue that the text I use as an example, a narrative from a woman in her 20s suffering from schizophrenia, is a typical-if striking-example of human narrative sense making. The global organization of the narrative, like all deeply senseful uses of language, flows from the organization of the discourse system (line and stanzas) and from the lived and earned coherence of the narra-tor's life. (Psychology)
  • Some Further Steps in Narrative Analysis
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