Broken Narratives

Cheryl Mattingly and Linda C. Garro

in Narrative and the Cultural Construction of Illness and Healing

Published by University of California Press

Published in print March 2001 | ISBN: 9780520218246
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520935228 | DOI:
Broken Narratives

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This chapter analyzes a clinical encounter between a patient and a psychiatrist, where their different perspectives prevent the construction of any coherent story. The author introduces a framework for the analysis of clinical narratives taken from rhetoric, or “the verbal art of persuading others.” It also challenges the reliability on literary models that treat narratives as texts to be read, because these supposedly presume more coherence than one finds in everyday storytelling. Finally, the chapter reflects on the relationship between narrative and personal identity, and reviews some of the questions about narrative memory and narrative construction that were raised by Linda Garro.

Keywords: clinical narratives; literary models; coherence; narrative; personal identity; narrative memory; narrative construction

Chapter.  11638 words. 

Subjects: Medical Anthropology

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