Narratives of Identity and Place
Routledge – 2013 – 160 pages
Changes of residence are common in contemporary Western societies. Traditional connections to birthplaces, home towns and countries are broken as people relocate and migrate, yet where they live remains significant to people’s identity and stories of who they are. This book investigates the continuing importance of place for women’s identities, employing a theoretical and empirical approach based on previous work in narrative and discursive psychology.
Through an analysis of women’s talk, the book examines how commonsense meanings shape and limit people’s identity-work to establish a connection to place. It argues that talk about place, and especially place of residence, enables a complex positioning of self and others in which identities of gender, class and national identity intersect. It shows how a speaker’s multiple interpretations of where she lives remain central to her life narrative, and to her fragile and idealized definition of ‘home’ as the place in which she may position herself positively.
Narratives of Identity and Place presents a unique and valuable integration of the popular methods of narrative and discourse analysis, compellingly demonstrating the value of these approaches for research on identity.
"Stephanie Taylor has provided a succinct discussion of narrative, place and identity that would be useful to most working and especially those studying in the social sciences. She has presented a great deal of theory in very manageable pieces. This book will provide students or any others interested in this field with the resources necessary to further explore what has been a very well presented subject." - Steven S. Sexton, The University of Otago, New Zealand, in Gender and Education
"Taylor’s attention to the linguistic construction of the self as a work in progress … allows us to see the value of the narrative-discursive approach, making the book a very useful text for the many people who come to narrative from discourse research or vice versa, or who just want to work out and work with the relation between the two. … This is a very lucid text, its arguments pursued interconnectedly throughout, in a kind of dialogue with the women’s stories. … [Narratives of Identity and Place] offers a very good address to narratives as forms of discourse, an important, theoretically and methodologically consistent but under-explored approach that is developed here in a way that can be exemplary for other researchers. … The detailed accounts of subtle aspects of self-narration lead to well-substantiated, complex readings that are not abuses of interpretive authority but that reach hidden aspects of subjectivity without resorting to psychoanalytic interpretive technologies." – Corinne Squire, University of East London, UK, in Feminism & Psychology
"The author has produced an excellent book, which draws from her already substantial body of work, and will no doubt become requisite reading to those of us engaged in qualitative research in fields ranging from psychology, gender studies and narrative analysis to all facets of human geography; including most pertinently for this readership, critical and urban geographies." - Breffní Lennon, University College Cork, Ireland, in Urban Geography Research Group
"This book is very carefully written and is definitely reader-friendly. Although it deals with complex and contested theories around identity it does so with rigour and clarity, and could become part of an essential bibliography for courses in psychology, gender studies, narrative studies or critical and human geography." - Maria Tamboukou, Centre for Narrative Research, University of East London
"This is a well-written and engaging book. Lively and succinct, it is a reference point in the study of place and identity for students in psychology and academic researchers." – Ian Burkitt, Department of Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Bradford
1. The Meanings of Place for Identity. 2. Narrative in a Contemporary Identity Project. 3. Place, Gender and Identity. 4. Places I Remember: Memory and Continuity in a Life Narrative. 5. A Place for the Future? Trouble in Identity Work. 6. New Identities of Place? Opportunity, Choice and Personalisation. 7. Places of my Own: Residence and Nationality in One Woman's Identity. 8. Conclusion.
Stephanie Taylor is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology, Social Sciences at the Open University. In addition to her published work on identity, including creative identities and identities of place, she has written on qualitative research methods, including discourse analysis, ethnography and narrative analysis.