Chapter

Complicating actions and complicated lives: raising questions about narrative theory through an exploration of lesbian lives

Nicki Ward

in Biography and turning points in Europe and America

Published by Policy Press

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9781847428608
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9781447307655 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1332/policypress/9781847428608.003.0009
Complicating actions and complicated lives: raising questions about narrative theory through an exploration of lesbian lives

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Ward looks at changing family structures in modern society, in this case Britain, and asks the theoretical questions: how might turning points help public-private analyses?; what constitutes a turning point?; who has the right to define turning points? Ward takes a material discursive approach, and applies it to the biographic-narrative participatory method. A life story interview and a stage two analytic interview were conducted with nine women between the ages of 26 and 49 who identify as lesbian. Aiming to ascertain respondents’ starting points, Ward examines the narratives of lesbians in terms of their imagined life course trajectories, experienced contradictions, and their agentic responses. While she argues that turning points provide a useful focus of analysis in research that seeks to explore the interaction between public and private discourses and identity, she also contends that we need to consider ethically whether scholars, in contrast to participants, have the right to define turning points.

Keywords: turning points; narrative theory; family; lesbians; life course trajectories; material discursive approach; biographic-narrative; participatory method; Britain

Chapter.  7653 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social Research and Statistics

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