The body as biography

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The idea that lives and selves are constructed in narrative has become almost universally accepted among narrative analysts. Particular attention has been paid to how narratives construct the self in response to disruptive life events, such as illness. However, the body is often neglected or treated as incidental in such studies, even studies that analyze the narratives of life events that are as thoroughly embodied as illness. This chapter argues that the body itself can be understood as a narrative construction, as well as a physical reality. Indeed, the narrative construction of the body can be an important element of narrative identity construction, and vice versa. Understanding how body biographies are told, and how they construct individuals’ bodies, therefore, has important implications for our understanding of bodies, our understanding of identities and identity construction, and the scope of narrative inquiry.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLife and Narrative
Subtitle of host publicationThe Risks and Responsibilities of Storying Experience
EditorsBrian Schiff, A. Elizabeth McKim, Sylvie Patron
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9780190658281
ISBN (Print)9780190256654
Publication statusPublished - 9 Mar 2017
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameExplorations in Narrative Psychology


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