Personal history, beyond narrative: an embodied perspective

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  • Allan Køster
Narrative theories currently dominate our understanding of how selfhood is constituted
and concretely individuated throughout personal history. Despite this success, the
narrative perspective has recently been exposed to a range of critiques. Whilst these
critiques have been effective in pointing out the shortcomings of narrative theories of
selfhood, they have been less willing and able to suggest alternative ways of understanding
personal history. In this article, I assess the criticisms and argue that an adequate
phenomenology of personal history must also go beyond narrative. Drawing on a distinction
between history and narrative, I outline an account of historical becoming
through a process of sedimentation and a rich notion of what I call historical selfhood
on an embodied level. Five embodied existentials are suggested, sketching a preliminary
understanding of how selves are concretely individuated on a pre-narrative level.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Phenomenological Psychology
Pages (from-to)163-187
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2017

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