Narrative and embodiment: a scalar approach

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  • Allan Køster
Recent work on the relation between narrative and selfhood has emphasized embodiment as an indispensable foundation for selfhood. This has occasioned an interesting debate on the relation between embodiment and narrative. In this paper, I attempt to mediate the range of conflicting intuitions within the debate by proposing a scalar approach to narrative and an accompanying concept of a split-self (Waldenfels, 2000). Drawing on theoretical developments from contemporary narratology, I argue that we need to move away from a binary understanding of narrative as something an entity (the self) strictly is or is not; rather, we need to see narrative as an attribute admitting of degrees. I suggest that the relation between narrative and embodiment should be seen along these lines, proposing three levels of the narrativity of embodied experiencing: 1) the unnarratable, 2) the narratable and 3) the narrative. Finally, I discuss the implications this framework has for the general question of the narrative constitution of selfhood.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPhenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences
Volume16
Issue5
Pages (from-to)893-908
ISSN1568-7759
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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