The Co-Authored Self: Family Stories and the Construction of Personal Identity

ISBN : 9780199995745

Kate C. McLean
192 Pages
169 x 239 mm
Pub date
Nov 2015
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Questions about identity are perennially intriguing, and vexing, to scholars and non-scholars alike. How do we know who we are? How do we define ourselves? How much are we the agents of our own identities, and how much are we defined by others? In The Co-authored Self, Kate McLean addresses the question of how an individual comes to develop an identity by focusing on the process of interpersonal storytelling, particularly through the stories people hear, co-tell, and share of and with their families. McLean details how identity development is a collaborative construction between the individual and his or her narrative ecology. She argues that family stories play a powerful role in defining identities, for better or for worse; it is through these family stories that the self takes on its earliest and most lasting form. Situating the process of identity development in adolescence and emerging adulthood, she shows through quantitative and qualitative data-with compelling narrative excerpts throughout-the ways in which families both support and constrain identity development by the stories they tell.


Chapter One: Building the Narrative Ecology
Section 1 Setting the Stage
Chapter Two. Developmental Considerations
Chapter Three. Theoretical Approaches to Identity Development and the Power of Narrative
Section 2 Master Narratives and Personal Narratives: The Stories our Families Tell About Us
Chapter Four. Two Storied Paths to Identity Integration
Chapter Five. Resisting Stories
Section 3 Broadening the Narrative Ecology: Another Story, An Other's Story
Chapter Six. Parents are People: Parent's Identities
Chapter Seven. Parents' stories: Children's Identities
Section 4 Broader Contexts of Storytelling: Gender and Peers
Chapter Eight. The Gendered Socialization of Narrative and Identity
Chapter Nine. Peers and Family Stories
Section 5 Conclusion
Chapter Ten: The End of the Story, for now
Appendix: Methodological Issues
About the Author

About the author: 

Kate C. McLean, PhD, is an Associate Professor at Western Washington University. Her research centers on the development of narrative identity in adolescence and emerging adulthood, particularly as it develops in social contexts, and as it relates to individual differences in personality and adjustment.

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