Rereading Personal Narrative and Life Course: New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development, Number 145
October 2014, Jossey-Bass
Read together, the chapters form a comprehensive description of narrative’s origins in childhood conversations and the multiple uses that narrative is used as lives unfold over developmental and historical time. A touchstone text in human development, it is a way for psychologists to rethink their approach to development through the lens of a narrative perspective that is sensitive to interpretation and context in human lives.
This is the 145th volume in this Jossey-Bass series New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development. Its mission is to provide scientific and scholarly presentations on cutting edge issues and concepts in this subject area. Each volume focuses on a specific new direction or research topic and is edited by experts from that field.
1. Introduction: Development's Story in Time and Place 1
This introductory chapter outlines the four major theses of Bertram J. Cohler's groundbreaking chapter Personal Narrative and Life Course and argues for the necessity of a narrative perspective for understanding human development.
2. Narrative Making and Remaking in the Early Years: Prelude to the Personal Narrative 15
Peggy J. Miller, Eva Chian-Hui Chen, Megan Olivarez
Ethnographic studies of young children in the family context reveal that the process of narrative interpretation is vigorously underway much earlier in life than Cohler realized, constituting a surprising degree of continuity between early meaning making and the personal narrative.
3. Contextualizing the Self: The Emergence of a Biographical Understanding in Adolescence 29
Tilmann Habermas, Nese Hatiboglu
Inspired by Cohler's seminal theory, the authors argue that adolescents learn to create coherence in their life story by contextualizing their life in family and social history and by forming a story of personal origins and future prospects.
4. Narrative and the Social Construction of Adulthood 43
Phillip L. Hammack, Erin Toolis
The authors highlight the link between Cohler's original essay and interpretive approaches to human development, cultural-historical activity theory, and a social constructionist perspective on emerging adulthood that emphasizes identity and memory as coconstructed through storytelling and the construction of an individual life story.
5. The Life Narrative at Midlife 57
Dan P. McAdams
Over the past three decades, psychologists have demonstrated the integrative power of personal narrative in the lives of midlife adults, demonstrating how life stories function as adaptive personal resources and windows into the influence of culture on human lives.
6. Narrating Your Life After 65 (or: To Tell or Not to Tell, That Is the Question) 71
This chapter examines the long-held belief that narrating one's life story contributes to the well-being of the elderly.
7. "Personal Narrative and Life Course" Revisited: Bert Cohler's Legacy for Developmental Psychology 85
By addressing ordered transformations in the personal narrative throughout the life course, Bertram Cohler's seminal 1982 essay provides a valuable vehicle for rethinking the nature of the developmental process itself.
Brian Schiff is an associate professor and the chair of the Department of Psychology at the American University of Paris.
Series Editors in Chief:
Lene Arnett Jensen is Associate Professor of Psychology at Clark University.
Reed W. Larson is a professor in the Departments of Human and Community Development, Psychology,
Leisure Studies, Kinesiology, and Educational Psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.