* What is narrative psychology? * How is the experience of 'self' linked to language, narratives and other people? * What is the role of time, morality, power and control in the construction of identity? This introductory textbook presents a coherent overview of the theory, methodology and potential application of narrative psychological approaches. It compares narrative psychology with other social constructionist approaches and argues that the experience of self only takes on meaning through specific linguistic, historical and social structures. The author shows how the choice of one narrative over ather - for example arising out of dominant narrative structures of power and control - can have serious social and psychological implications for the construction of images of self, responsibility, blame and morality. Theoretical approaches are introduced and an overview of methods is provided, encouraging individuals to apply these theories to their own autobiographies. Such theories are further illustrated with case-study material drawing on physical illness (HIV infection) and childhood sexual abuse. Each of these issues is examined in a way which demonstrates how different contemporary narratives and discourses are used to construct meaning and a sense of coherent identity in the face of traumatic events which break down temporal coherence and order. Taken as a whole, this book represents essential reading for students and researchers interested in narrative psychology.
Michele Crossley is a Lecturer in Psychology in the Department of Dentistry at the University of Manchester. She is author of Healing Sylvia: Childhood Sexual Abuse and the Construction of Identity (nee Davies, Taylor and Francis, 1995) and Critical Approaches to Health Psychology (Open University Press, forthcoming). She has published extensively in international journals in relation to the psychological and emotional aspects of traumatising events.