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Somers Source: Theory and Society, Vol. 23, No. 5 (Oct., 1994), pp. 605-649 Published by: Springer Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/658090 Accessed: 21/08/2009 07:11
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The narrative constitution of identity: A relational and network approach
MARGARET R. SOMERS
University of Michigan
This article argues for reconfiguringthe study of identity formation through the concept of narrative.It is motivated by two recent but seeminglyunrelateddevelopmentsin social theory and society.One is the emergenceof a wide-spread"identitypolitics"and a concomitant The other is the scholarlyfocus on the "socialconstructionof identity." of that researchers narrative reconfiguredapproach to the concept in recent years.Both are from many disciplineshave been formulating importantdevelopmentsnot to be overlookedby social scientistsand social theorists;both, however,have problems and limitationsas they now stand.I arguein this articlethat the limitationsof each potentially can be overcomeby bringingthe two thematicstogether.The key conis thatof narrative identity. cept I proposeto achievethis reconfiguration Studies of identity formation have made major contributionsto our understandingof social agency. A recurringproblem, however, has been a perhaps inadvertenttendency to conflate identities with what can often slide into fixed"essentialist" (pre-political) singularcategories, such as those of race, sex, or gender- a directionthathas characterized a numberof feministtheories in their efforts to restorethe previously marginalizedfemale other.1Anthropologicalstudies of different cultures have been been used to avoid this danger.2But, law professor PatriciaWilliamsremindsus that we do not have to resort to cultural others to recognize the false certainties imposed by categorical approachesto identity:
While being black has been the powerful social attribution in my life, it is only one of a number of governing narratives or presiding fictions by which I am constantly reconfiguring myself in the world. Gender is another, along with ecology, pacifism, my peculiar brand of colloquial English, and Roxbury, Massachusetts. The complexity of role identification, the politics of sexuality, the inflections of professionalized discourse - all describe and impose Theory and Society 23: 605-649, 1994. ? 1994 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Printed in the Netherlands.
boundaryin my life, even as they confoundone anotherin unfoldingspirals of confrontation, deflection,and dream....3
One way to avoid the hazardsof rigidifyingaspects of identity into a misleadingcategoricalentityis to incorporateinto the core conception of identity the categoricallydestabilizingdimensions of time, space, and relationality. We can do this by bringingto the studyof identityformationthe epistemologicaland ontologicalchallengesof relationaland network analysis.It is this effort to historicize our understandingof identitythatmotivatesmy attemptto combine studiesof identitywith a
The studyof narrative, on the face of it, has its own seriouslimitations. Most prominently, narrative analysisis not somethingeasily assimilated into the social-scienceresearchagenda.With its long associationwith the humanitiesand the "story-telling" methods of historians,the conof after has fulfilled the role of social science's narrative, all, cept long
"epistemological other" - a mode of representation that was, apparent-
ly, discursive, rather than quantitative; non-explanatory,rather than ratherthan one of the and non-theoretical, conditionallypropositional; social sciences.4In the 1960s and 1970s, however, theoretically-driven social science historyhad emergedas a serious contenderto the traditional historians'narrativeapproachand these decades were notable for the degreeto whichhistoriansdebatedand increasingly scornedthe form.5At the same time, howvalue of narrative as a representational ever, disciplines other than history (political philosophers,psychologists, legal theorists,feminist theorists, social workers,organizational theorists, anthropologists, and medical sociologists) were quietly the narrative concept.6 In so appropriatingand reconceptualizing in radical ways the narrativeconcept. doing, they were reconfiguring While the older interpretationof narrativewas limited to that of a and narraform, the new approachesdefine narrative representational
tivity as concepts of social epistemology and social ontology. These con-
that we come to know,undercepts posit that it is throughnarrativity social of the sense and make world, and it is throughnarratives stand, that we constituteour social identities.They arguethat and narrativity it mattersnot whetherwe are social scientistsor subjectsof historical but that all of us come to be who we are (howeverephemeral, research, multiple,and changing)by being located or locatingourselves(usually unconsciously)in social narrativesrarelyof our own making.7Social theoristsand sociologists need to become cognizantof these new formulationsof narrative analysis.
607 The attractionof linking the study of identity formation to narrative analysisshould now be clearer.Engagingwith this aspect of narrative studies clearly should be on the agenda for sociological studies of action and agency.After all, if researchresultsare correct,then everythingwe know,from makingfamilies,to coping with illness,to carrying out strikesand revolutionsis at least in part a resultof numerouscrosscuttingrelationalstory-linesin which social actorsfind or locate themselves.8 By focusing attention on the new ontological dimension of as studiesratherthanon the traditional narrative renderingof narrative we have the opportunity limitedto a method or form of representation, to engage with historicallyand empiricallybased researchinto social action and social agency that is at once temporal,relational,and culAn enertural,as well as institutional, material,and macro-structural. getic engagement with this new ontological narrativityprovides an opportunityto infuse the study of identityformationwith a relational and historicalapproachthat avoids categoricalrigiditiesby emphasizing the embeddednessof identityin overlappingnetworksof relations that shift over time and space. My largerhope is that bringingtogether and identitycan bringa new perspectiveto some of the seemnarrative intractable problemscontainedin social theoriesof action.In the ingly next section, I explore the new sociology and politics of identity;in the succeeding section, I discuss in more detail the reframedconcept of idenin the thirdsection, I position the concepts of narrative narrative; tity and relationalsetting as conceptual links between the reframed approachto narrativeand some of the enduring conundrumsin the sociology of action; and I end by considering some of the research implicationsof a conceptualnarrativity.
The politics of identity: From universality to category
ordinary challenges - ones that have arisen in part from external political and social transformations and in part from theoretical attempts to make sense of those social developments. The political and social elements are best represented by such factors as the "failure"of western working classes to carry out their "proper" revolutionary (class) interests, the collapse of communist regimes, the radical increase of
In recent years, social theory has been confrontedwith a set of extra-
women in the work force, and the conflicts of ethnic solidaritiesand
cultural nationalisms throughout the world. Among the responses to these changes are the vast array of "new social movements" that have risen to prominence in the last twenty years (Green parties, gay and
to particularistic categoriesof concretepersons.for it is only whenjudged againstthis alleged norm that women and other othershave been found wanting.g.these new theoriesof identityare easily recogwith the intractableproblemsof agency that nizable as confrontations have long characterizedthe social sciences: How can we formulate viable sociologicalaccountsof moral actionthat do not resortto exterexternalconstraint)to explain action nal constraint(or "internalized" theories? from the universalist that "deviates" premisesof mainstream The solutionthat characterizes manyof the new approachesto identity formation has been to challenge the putative universalism of the modernistontologyitself.608 lesbian liberationmovements.for example.new theories of action and agency have emerged.10 Significantly. These new theories of "identity-politics" and "norms"to have shifted explanationsfor action from "interests" from the notion of the universalsocial agent identitiesand solidarities. new on the agendaof social The studyof identityformationis relatively theory.Based on the assumption that persons in similar social categories and similar life-experiences (based on gender.classicaltheoreticalaccountsof social movement factorfor actionor focus on classinterestsas a motivating organizations "instrumental" calculito achievespecificallypower-oriented goals. the explosion of a feminist consciousness that valorizes difference as much as equality. these are also groups and individualswho have been marginalized by prevailingsocial theoreticalaccounts for why people act the way they do.9 Although they take no universalform.and so on) will act on the groundsof common attributes.and the politics of multiculturalism.The new theoreticalperspectiveshave thus argued that the putative universal .. But ratherthan emphasizetraditionalissues of labor and production. generation. When viewed in the context of the enduring conundrumof explainingsocial action.sexual orientation."not because of a rational interestor set of learnedvalues.and so on). the various expressionsof this new "politicsof identity" all sharethe common featureof being constifrom dominantpolititutedby people who previouslyfelt marginalized cal channels and more mainstreamsocial movements.the new politicsand movementsof identitystress"expressive" goals of "selfwhile they attempt positively to restore previously derealization"11 and "being-in-relations").theories of identitypolitics posit that"Iact because of who I am.femalecare-taking To make sense of these strikingdevelopments. color. Thus.12 valueddifferences(e.
male.Most important.that is. by contrast. She thusdid not develop Instead. Social scientists and psychologists alike kept asking: Why are women anomalous to the norm? More specifically. social actor is in fact extremelyparticularistic and western. Thus the theoretical responsehas been not only to revealthe genderedor racially-or classmodernsocial actor. Studentsof genderstudiesknowwelljust how busy social scientistshave been keptby theireffortsto come up withevermoresociological"alibis" for the questionof why women did not act like men.a theory whose central premises defines 50% of social beings as "abnormal. they become increasinglyautonomous."These researchfindingstransformed female othernessinto variation and difference.they wanted to know why women putativelywere getting"stuck" at a "lowerstage"of moral development." this questioninto researchby subjecting Gilligantranslated the abstraction of universal and discreteagencyto comparative research into female behaviorevaluatedon its own termsThe new researchrevealedwomento be more "concrete" in theirthinkingand more attuned to "fairness" while men acted on "abstract and "rulesof jusreasoning" tice. and devalued in the first place.they claim thatit is only in the context of for the parthis theoreticalsleightof hand.It has also been specific characterof the "general" that transformsthose to propose and envision a theoreticalalternative very devalued traits of (female or racial) otherness into a newly esteemedideal of selfhood and normatizedsocial action.that the experiences of others are suppressed.were believed to be at a lower stage because they were found to have a sense of agency still tied primarily to their social relationshipsand to make political and moral decisions based on context-specificprinciplesbased on these relationships ratherthanon the groundsof theirown autonomousjudgments. while men developed a sense of agency and judgmentaccordingto the theoreticalsocial norm . Women.609 . Leading examples of such changes in feminist theory are the wellknownworksof Nancy Chodorowand CarolGilligan.13 Gilliganbegan by confrontingthe fact that for years scholars of moral development had ponderedthe seeminglyunanswerable questionof why women did not achieve the highest stages of development allegedly achieved by men." turnedthe questionon its headby askingwhatwas wrongwiththe theory .namely. denied.individuated. one that claimsuniversality ticularisticand androcentric. Gilligan's response was to refusethe termsof the debatealtogether.white.but differencenow freed from the normativede- . she yet another explanationfor why women are "deviant.and oriented to rules of abstractjustice.
Gilligancontributed valuationpreviously of celebration and but to a theoretical new to a political recognition only theorieshad denigrated.Law professorCatherineMacKinnon. They move away of the self from definition the and from derivingthe meaningof action falsely imputeduniversalitiesand towardgeneratingconcrete notions of social being that begin from difference.17 These theoreticalchallengeshave been pathbreaking. Another question we must ask is how is it possible to claim these approachesto identity are truly arguingfor a social constructionof agency.19 poverty.. however.ethnicity.the virdirected towards these tually simultaneousoutcries of "essentialism" of stubbornconceptual new set whole a to new identity-politics testify difficultiesthat they contain. is whether the new theories of identity-politicsare not fictions"in whicha singlecategoryof creatingtheirown new "totalizing over-determine will any number of crossexperience.Among the many questionswe must ask.14 the veryfemaleidentitythatprevailing Strugglesover identity are thus being framed by the recognitionthat gettingheardrequiresnew theories. .610 not accordedto it. say gender.especially his "words.class."Asante not only of Eurocentricconcepts. for instance. identity. when he asks in a similar vein:How can the oppressed use the same theories as the oppressors?16In "The Searchfor an AfrocentricMethod. In so doing.because gender is just one of a facets of identityand difference.Otherscholarsengagedin identitypolitics are also insistingthat there are ways of knowingand defining experiencedifferentfrombut equallyvaluableas those renderedby the dominanttheoreticaldiscourses."15 sounds like culturalanalystMolefi Kete Asante. for example. prepolitical) or fixed categories constructedfrom given attributes.e.This can only improvethe prospects for theories of agency. challengesassumptionsabout the universality to the he also simultaneouslyrestores dignity very qualitiesof otherness by whichsuch theorieshad previouslydefined and devaluedthese samenon-westernidentities.At the same time. given that they theorize identity from essential (that is.g. Does this not and race as such differences cuttingsimultaneous "ill-served" be who over women run"roughshod" by replacingall might other forms of differenceby the singularone of gender?18 Feministsof color charge that feminist identity-theoriesfocusing exclusively on gender oversimplifytheir situation.and age. class.observesthatit is difficultfor women to stage a revolution Here she using the tools of the oppressor .such as numberof other fundamental sexual race.
Instead.or history itself ."23 Thus althoughsome scholars claim that establishingan identity or expressingself-realization is one of the goals of new social movements.Chodorow and Gilliganhave only substitutedtheirown ahistoricaland essentialist notion of "woman.611 If identitiesare fixed there can be no room woman. should we not criticize and contest these categorical identi- ties? In short.do we really want to accept that these dichotomous concepts of gender distinction really reflectthe social world? Is it not just as likely that the theoretical categories of exclusion helped constitute those gender dif- ferencesin the firstplace? And if it is indeed the case thatfemale identities are the consequenceof categoriesbased on false universality and exclusions.African-American.24 there are others who consider . to accommodate changing power relations .20 with a well-deserved refutation of abstract universalism. there is abundantevidence that under certain conditions such a generalizationcould be supported."21 Why.as they over time.contesting. the new identity-theories reify anew what is in fact a multiplicity of historicallyvaryingform of what are less often unified and singular and more often "fractured identities.indeed escaping from the theoreticaldichotomies that buttress and hierarchizeforms of difference in the first place. should we assume will all act the same under all conditionssimplybecause that "women" of their biological sex or even their socialized gender-identities?22 Does that not open up the possibilityfor a female version of abstract universal agency against which any number of historically different formsof femaleagencywill be held newly "deviant?" There are also importantquestions about the allegedlystable content of the new categories of identity.However. is it not a serious mistaketo leap from the empiricalpresence of relationalidentities to their normative valorization? There is too much evidence of the potentiallysuffocatingand negativeeffects of "being-in-relations" to acceptthis move uncritically. One of the most influential are constitutedand reconstituted of these criticisms has been that directed by Joan Scott against Scott pointed out that even the work of Chodorow and Gilligan. transforming.To assume that simply because in some places and in some times women appearto be more morallyrelational than men in their sense of agency does not in any way support the more generalconclusionthat all women are more morallyrelational than men. Scott continues to ask. The underlying argument here is that a gender-centered identitypolitics does not take on the real challenge of criticizing. To be sure. even assumingthe empiricalcase to be true.
25 Finally. restricted. they would be genealogized. or Serbian.must be inflicted by temporality.27 Joining the many others who are struggling to give substance to this directive. we must question the slide from the gendered distinction between a moral and a normative notion of relationality (women are "relational. To be sure. such criticisms can have the effect of only tossing theories of social action and identity back and forth between the abstract (white male) universality of the modern individuating agent who starves in a vacuum of abstraction.26 Fraser and Nicholson articulate the challenge at hand in their suggestion that alternative theories of agency . or gay man) who drowns in a sea of relationality."and identity. historical. male-headed. I propose linking the concepts of narrative and identity to .in this case feminist agency . the historically-specific institutional categories like the modern." men are "autonomous") to a gendered distinction in the degree of analytic relationality between men and women. That is.612 the newly celebrated but fixed categories of identity and self-realization to be newly problematic. and the essential "woman"(or black. Where categories of the latter sort were eschewed altogether. and relational constitution of male identities in these times and places. that is. "experience. both men and women must be conceived analytically as being embedded within and constituted by relationships and relationality. Whether the analytic relationality characteristic of both men and women devolves into a universally gendered distinction in empirical or normative relationality must not be presumed a priori but can only be explored empirically and historically. however. framed by historical narrative and rendered temporally and culturally specific. but this is a result of the social. The latter is an impossible conclusion. Masculine individualism is itself the product of social relationality. In the absence of clearly positive theoretical and epistemological alternatives to the problem of identity. nuclear family taking precedence over ahistorical functionalist categories like reproduction and mothering. and perhaps most worrisome. there is evidence to show that many men in some times and places are less morally oriented to relationships than are women. These are some of the theoretical ambushes contained in the new theories of agency we call identity-politics. regardless of their being informed by the traits of the previously excluded. A number of studies from different approaches have therefore begun the task of developing positive theoretical and epistemological alternatives to these two mutually reinforcing opposites.
30 rians have lost. new shade of universalism a more flexibletheoryof identity. moreover.holds pride of place in fillingthatrole. philosophers history argued that narrativemodes of representingknowledge (telling historical stories) were representational forms imposed by historians on the chaos of lived experience. however.31 At the same time.however. generatea historically and identity.613 constitutedapproachto theoriesof social action."28 knowledgedisciplineneeds an "epistemological .the contrast between the "merenarrative" approachof the historiansand the more rigorousmethodologiesof the social sciences has effectivelycordoned from legitimatesocial-scienceepistemology.particuly formulated laristicversus generalizable.and even scorned narrativeexplanation. genderstudies.with its long associationwith the sciences. anthropology. agency. Introducing narrativity I argue above that recent challenges to the long-dominantpresuppositions of universalagency have the potentialto reify their own culturally and gender-specificidentity stories in that they may create a that contains its own inevitableexclusions. social psychology.let us turnto In the task of rethinking in currentscholarship. narrativity.law.biology.is especiallyrelevantto the increasingsociologicalattentionto identityformation.This is the shift from a focus on representational to ontological Before this of had shift.a protean reframing conof the narrative into the epistemologicalframecept is seeping or being appropriated works of a spectrumof other disciplines. narrative as it has been reframed Reframing narrativity To consolidate a cohesive self-identity and collective project every For the social other.One reframing aspect of many of the new works in narrativestudies.and physics.scholars are postulatingsomemuch more substantiveabout narrative: thing namely. The expressionsof this narrative are broadand diverse.that social life is .29 off narrative But a small revolutionwith potentiallylarge consequencesis occurringin our conOver the last few decades many histotemporaryknowledgeculture.includingmedicine.32 Recently.or descriptionversus theory. abandoned.Variousin binarytermsas idiographic versusnomothetic. the concept of narrative humanities profession.
then.social action.As long as this representationaldefinition prevails. that people make sense "experience" of what has happened and is happening to them by attemptingto assemble or in some way to integratethese happeningswithin one or more narratives. the last two decades have been notable for the numberof heroic efforts by sociologiststo recast social analysisalong the central axes of the interaction between agency and structure.On the one hand.35 by structural There are two reasonsfor this paradoxical fromthe new nardistancing rative studies on the part of social scientists.public.on the basis of the projections.must continue to view narrative as the epistemological otherand in symboliccontrastto causalexplanation. social scientistshave by and largekept theirdistancefrom these approachesto narrativity. social agency.the study of meaning.and culturalnarratives.in order to be social scientists. and that people are guided to act in certainways.The first is that social scientistsoverwhelmingly limit theirconceptionof the term "narrative" to that of a representational form/methodof presentingsocial and historical knowledge.Indeed.for example.614 itself storiedand that narrative is an ontologicalconditionof social life. social scientists.expectations.And it is throughthis methodologicaldebate over what counts as valid explanationthat social scientistshave most forcefully separatedthemselvesfrom the humanities.that people construct identities (however multiple and changing)by locating themselves or being located within a repertoireof emplotted stories.34 Yet. Indeed to the extent sociologists have engaged with narrativestudies. that is. Whether in favor or disparagement.33 But there is a paradox. Their researchis showingus that storiesguide action. sociology has long shown an interest in theorizing about the very themes addressedin studies of identityformation."36 Seidmanis a sociologist who stronglyendorses the turn to .and memories derivedfroma multiplicity but ultimatelylimitedrepertoireof available social.and most recently.collective identity. and not others. Steven obsessionSeidman.the encountersbetween sociology and narrativeanalysis seem inevitablyto resultin counterposingnarrative to causality.recentlycriticizedthe "foundational alism"of mainstream his supsociologicaltheory while demonstrating of social "narrative a moral for an as with theory port understanding intent. that is constitutedthroughnarratives. on the other hand. to develop a social theory that allowsfor humanaction that is nonethelessboundedand constrained restraints. the dialogue often recreates the familiar Manichean dichotomy between socialscience explanationand the narrativeother.
Both are seen as better left to speculative philosophers or psychologists.and this is altogether different from general social science approaches to agency and action. Discovery and ontology. or behavior on the other. in his association of narrative with "story-telling particularism. and instead accept that some notion of social being and social identity is. these same studies are defined as beyond and outside the boundaries of appropriate social-science concern. and action with interests. and 2) the social sciences focus their research on action and agency by studying primarily observable social behavior .measured variously by social interests. and behavior. From their inception. the social sciences have been concerned with what one political scientist calls the "primacy of epistemology. precisely to the extent that sociologists are aware that the recent focus of narrative studies is toward issues of identity and ontology. on the other hand. incorporated into each and every knowledgestatement about action.37 Linking identity and action research to narrative analysis directs our attention to the new ontological dimension of narrative studies and away from the traditional rendering of narrative as a method or form of representation. The second reason for the neglect of the recently reframed narrativism follows directly from the self-identity project of the social sciences. refer to problem-formation and social being respectively. To get these benefits.39 The latter comprises the standards we use to know about the world. or social norms and values . the social sciences. agency.4" I argue in this article that the association of identity and ontology with philosophy or theoretical psychology on the one side. norms. The consequences of this division of labor for a sociology of action are significant: 1) issues of social being. identity. and the criteria for viable explanations. we must reject the decoupling of action from ontology. the validity of competing methodologies. and ontology are excluded from the legitimate mainstream of sociological investigation.a theory of being .615 narrative. the grounds we rely upon to legitimate these foundations of knowledge. however."38or the eclipsing of discovery and ontology by the context of justification. Therefore. The study of identity formation touches on the area of ontology . Nonetheless."he straps it into an unnecessary opposition to.rather than by exploring expressions of social being and identity. willy-nilly. is a limited model and deprives social scientists of the deeper analysis that it is possible to achieve by linking the concepts of action and identity. Just as sociologists are not likely to make sense of action without focusing attention on struc- . and ultimately distancing from. rational preferences.
41 focus when we studysocial actionthrougha lens that also our analytical allows a focus on social ontology and the social constitutionof idenallowsus to makethatenlargement. in a an event the attemptto producemeaningby placing specifiedcateof a singular isolatedphenomprecludessense-making gory.social being.Indeed.and under what conditions .it is unlikelywe can interpretsocial action if we fail to We thus enlarge also emphasizeontology.47 Similarly.45 Causal emplotment allows us to test a series of "plot hypotheses"against actual events.the events intersectwith the hypothesizedplot. translateseventsinto episodes. into turns"events" The connectivityof partsis preciselywhy narrativity or is of episodes. dimensions these and sugTogether.2) causalemplotment. serious mental confusion or political emotion rarely stems from the Ratherwe inabilityto place an event or instancein the propercategory.institutional.whetherthe sequence episodes presented experienced in anything resembling chronological order. sequence.3) selectiveappropriation. and identity. Yet. causalemplotmentis an accounting(howeverfantasticor implicit) of why a narrativehas the story line it does. place. and then to examine how . I really should life-story it is also apparentthat startthinkingabout life insurance").46Withoutemplotment. And it is not instances." their chronological or categorical order.As a mode of explanathat emplotment tion. Narrativitydemands that we discern the meaningof any single to other events.616 ture and order. gest narrativesare constellations of relationships(connected parts) Unlike embeddedin timeand space. Polkinghorneimplicitlyaddressesthe differencebetween emplotment and categorizationwhen he notes that social actions should not be viewed as a resultof categorizingoneself ("Iam 40 years old.narrativity enon.events or experiences could be categorizedonly according to a taxonomical scheme. .43 4) temporality. event only in temporaland spatialrelationship is thatit rendersunderstanding of narrative the chief characteristic only by connecting(howeverunstably)parts to a constructedconfiguration or a social networkof relationships(howeverincoherentor unrealizand materialpractices. I should but should be seen to emerge in the context of a buy life insurance") with episodes ("Ifelt out of breathlast week. This is done through It is emplotmentthat gives significanceto independent "emplotment. of narrative The reframing tity.42 From diverse sources it is possible to identify four features of a rerelevantfor the social sciences: 1) relaframednarrativity particularly and tionalityof parts. we do not act on the basis of categories or attributes.constitutedby causalemplotment.44 able)composed of symbolic.
" "union solidarity. experiences.53 The primacyof this narrative theme or competingthemes determineshow events are processed and what criteriawill be used to prioritizeevents and render meaningto them.ontological." or "womenmust be independent above all" will selectively appropriate the happeningsof the social world. on the In fact. and chronicle or annales. conceptual.617 tend to become confused when it is impossibleor illogicalto integrate an event into an intelligibleplot. institutions. Yet it is emplotment that permits us to distinguish between narrativeon the one hand. .49 is often the The significanceof emplotmentfor narrative understanding most misunderstoodaspect of narrativity. the evaluativecapacityof emplotment demands and enables selective appropriation in constructingnarraA plot must be thematic. arrangethem in some order.51 Evaluation enables us to make qualitative and lexical distinctions among the infinite variety of events.public.48To make somethingunderstandable This is to give it historicityand relationality.55 normatively Four dimensions of narrativity These relativelyabstractformulationsof narrativitycan now be ex. and evaluatethese arrangements.54 tives.and people.Plot can thusbe seen as the logic or syntaxof narrative.institutional promises. it is emplotmentthatallowsus to constructa significant other. narrativity tion of events. and social factors that impinge on our lives.50 of relationships. Themes such as "husbandsas breadwinners. characters.arguesthat the capacityto act depends to a great extent on having an evaluative frameworkshaped by what he calls The same (a set of fundamental "hypergoods" principlesand values). Charles Taylor. in the contextof a narrative works for us because when events are located in a temporal(however fleeting) and sequentialplot we can then explain their relationshipto other events. Withoutattentionto emplotcan be misperceivedas a non-theoreticalrepresentament. pressed as four differentdimensionsof narrative and metanarrativities.for example.52 is true of in narrative: the face of a discriminatory principle potentially limitless arrayof social experiences derivingfrom social contact with events. networkor configuration Another crucial element of narrativityis its evaluative criteria.
or partial. this in turn can be a precondition for knowing what to do.56 This "doing"will in turn produce new narratives and hence. above all. neither are a priori.6"To be sure. consciousness."61 . and beliefs and are. and. Ontological narratives affect activities. is neither a priori nor fixed. or conflicting they may be (hence the term narrativeidentity). to know. conversely. and thus determine our place relative to it. Ontological narratives process events into episodes. and their apparent incoherencies . they will tailor "reality" to fit their stories. their collective actions. People act.their lives. we must inescapably understand our lives in narrative form. to make sense of.however multiple.. Ontological narratives are used to define who we are. and selective appropriation.. the relationship between narrative and ontology is processual and mutually constitutive. ambiguous. their modes and meanings of institution-building and group-formations."57 But ontological narrativity. So basic to agency is ontological narrativity that if we want to explain . like the self. contradictory. affected by them. ontological narratives are structured by emplotment. in turn. anything about the practices of social and historical actors.. or do not act. The intersubjective webs of relationality sustain and transform narratives over time.To have some sense of social being in the world requires that lives be more than different series of isolated events or combined variables and attributes."I call them "public narratives. to account for.. ephemeral.however fragmented..59Like all narratives.indeed. But where do ontological narratives come from? How are people's stories constructed? Ontological narratives are. new actions. relationality. even they recognize the degree to which ontological narratives can only exist interpersonally in the course of social and structural interactions over time. perhaps even to predict. Although psychologists are typically biased toward the individual sources of narrative. in part according to how they understand their place in any number of given narratives . Narrative location endows social actors with identities . connectivity..5S Thus narrative embeds identities in time and spatial relationships. Ontological narratives make identity and the self something that one becomes. Charles Taylor puts it this way: "because we cannot but orient ourselves to the good." others call them "traditions. Both are conditions of the other. to act in . social and interpersonal.that is. These are the stories that social actors use to make sense of . Charles Taylor calls these "webs of interlocution.we must first recognize the place of ontological narratives in social life.618 Ontological narratives. agents adjust stories to fit their own identities.
63 This third dimension of narrativityrefers to the Metanarrativity. explanation.microintersubjective or macro-stories about American social mobility. .plot.etc. in which we are embedded as contemporaryactors "masternarratives" in historyand as social scientists. Enlightenment.historicalcommunityas a pole of identity. the Individual vs.or the truebelievers. they are builton concepts and explanatory schemes ("socialsystems. Decadence. Society.Progress. That is. or the wise).The masternarrativeof Industrialization/Modernization out of Feudalism/Traditional Society is one of the most outstandingexamples of how a metanarrative becomes lodged in the theoreticalcore of social theory. mediaarrange and connect events to create a "mainstream about the origin of plot" social disorders. (organizational ratives.They may also be progressivenarrativesof teleological unfolding:Marxism and the triumph of Class Struggle.62 myths).Governmentagenciestell us "expert" stories about unemployment. tural and institutionalformationslargerthan the single individual.dethronethe given. Liberalismand the triumphof Liberty.and selective criteria."the working-classhero.Although metanarratives have all the neces.selectivelyappropriate events to construct The mainstream storiesabout theirdescent into poverty.the Emergenceof WesternCitizenship.to networksor institutions.Families.64 Our sociologicaltheories and concepts are encoded with aspects of these masternarratives. Public narratives range from the narrativesof one's family. and so on.and relateonly to the communitydefinedby adherenceto the good (or the saved. howeverlocal or grand.""socialforces")that are in themselves abstractions.to those of the workplace Like all narand nation.The seventeenth-century churchexplainsthe theological reasonsfor a nationalfamine.church.for example. Communism.even though they at a level of social-scienceepistemolusuallyoperate presuppositional or our awareness.""socialentities.But this doesn'tsever our dependenceon webs of interlocution. Industrialization.619 Publicnarratives are those narratives attachedto culPublicNarratives. the Rise of Nationalismor of Islam.These narratives can be the epic dramas ogy beyond of our time:Capitalism vs.government. sary components of narrativity majorplot lines and . It only changesthe webs.Barbarism/Naturevs. is their quality Perhapsthe most paradoxicalaspect of metanarratives of denarrativization. the "freeborn Englishman.these stories have drama.transformation.and the natureof our dependence. Taylor emphasizes the centrality of when he states: publicto ontologicalnarrative We may sharplyshift the balancein our definitionof identity. Civility.
organizations. the public and culturalnarrativesthat inform their lives.67 Rather. temporally narratives.69 conceptual narrativity:narrativeidentity and relational setting. tionally poses is to develop a social analytic ceptual challengethat narrativity vocabularythat can accommodatethe contentionthat social life. What.they nonetheless miss the crucialelementof a conceptualnarrativity. emplotment. social action.and social action In the next section I suggest two central components of mediated.institutionalpractices. a constitutivefeature of social life. I have elaboratedsome of the dimensionsof narrativeanalysis and have identifiedthe majortypes of narrativity. as well as relationality and historicity.few if any of our analyticcategoriesarein themselvestemporal and spatial.identitiesare constructed.organizational is to devise a voconstraints.This is and is definedby temporality.it is the fourth that is the most importantif theories are adequatelyto account for social action and collective projects. then. because conceptualnarrativity spatiality.The challengeof conceptualnarrativity use reconstruct that we can to and over time and space plot cabulary the ontological narrativesand relationshipsof historical actors. Because neithersocial action nor insticonstructas social researchers. the first analytic challenge is to through develop concepts that will allow us to capturethe narrativity whichagencyis negotiated.620 causal emplotment.If narrative is indeed .66 intersectionof these narratives To date.and social identitiesare narratively.65 These are the concepts and explanations thatwe Conceptual narrativity.68 public The conceptualimplicationsof the new narrative So far. social that is. are the formationand for of narrative of this identity conception implications social life and us understand social theory? How can narrativity help are relevantto social practices?Although all four kinds of narrativity social theory. concepts and explanationsmust includethe factorswe call social forces .marketpatterns." The confrom their abstracted historicity and relationality." "actor. both constructed and ontological and through relationally.charactersand action . and the crucial with the other relevantsocial forces. is solely producedthroughontologicaland public nartution-building our ratives. our modern sociological use of terms such as the and "culture" is for social-sciencepurposesinten"society.
such that undernormalconditionsentitieswithinthatcategorywill act uniformly and predictably.nonetheless. and cultural narratives. institutions. social action is .First it is arguedthat women are socialized to be more relationalthan men.the narrativeidentity approach embeds the actor within relationshipsand stories that shift over time and space. It thus precludescategoricalstabilityin action. .These temporallyand spatially shiftingconfigurationsform the relationalcoordinatesof ontological. even society itself.each of which is excludedfrom the cateand analyticalrelationality or essentialist gorical approachto identity. processes institutionaland interpersonal.structures. space. .Within these temporal and multiidentitiesare formed.the subjectivities narrativeidentity approach firmly rejects the tendencies of identity theories to normatizenew categoriesthat are themselvesas fixed and removed from history as their classical predecessors.see relationality as a normative and concrete ontology.hence narrative layerednarratives identityis processual and relational.are narrativelymediated provides a way of understandingthe recursivepresence of particularidentities thatare.In this sense.not universal. That social identities are constituted through narrativity. public.Joining narrativeto identity reintroducestime. social action. Then a normativeleap is made to argue odds with the normative relationality of theories of identity-politics. The importanceof conceptualnarrativity is thereforethat it allows us to build upon the advancesand simultaneously to transcendthe fixity of the identity concept as it is often used in current approaches to social agency.70 The analytic relationalityof the narrativeidentity concept is also at Feministidentity-politics. however. At the same time. The approach buildsfrom the premisethatnarrativity and relationality are conditions of social being. for example. social consciousness.621 Narrative identity The concept of a narrative identitydovetailswith the move of identityto reintroduce politics previously excluded subjects and suppressed into theories of action.both and social and interactions guided by narrativity. the narrativeidentity approach shares much with the relationalepistemologies most associated with HarrisonWhite. the self and the purposes of self are conin the context of internaland externalrelastructedand reconstructed tions of time and place and power that are constantly in flux.While a social identity or categorical approach presumes internally stable concepts.
the same time. The meaningful implicationsof a narrative concept of identitycan be determined not only by empiricalinquiry."74 Sociologists long in conform this did fact to depiction of working-classexperience of our assumpshatters all Steedman's narrative working-class identity.that is.At Individualism.72 A compellingillustration of the narrative identityconcept can be found in Steedman'swidely-readsociological autobiographyof her English working-classchildhood in the 1950s.to divest conceptual of any particularnormativeimplications. space.The interdependnarrativity ence and connectivity of parts characteristicof narrative analysis makes relationalityan analytic variable instead of an ideal type or normativestand-infor an unchangingsense of "community. and emplotment. all identities contrast. is itself sociallyand relationally constructed. by a priori assumptions.but again. the extreme poverty of mid-century English life was compensatedby a robust"independence. working-class that have assumed and sense of community. ized her life of underprivileged of identitiesconstructedof emotional and Steedman'srepresentations materialpovertyunfold sociologicallyin the context of the relational complexityin which her life was embedded.ones in whichgenderintersectedwith class and so transformedthe usual traits attributedto both of those categoricalidentities. rather. maybe more shipsmay experience or less constrictingor enabling. to say that identitiesare forged only in the context of ongoing relationshipsthat exist in time.622 that this quality of "being-in-relations" in turn makes women more and more humane.It is.by "caring" . pride. instead. and in the narrativesshe inheritedfromher mother'slife .73According to the dominant scholarly accounts.75 . In the narrativeidentity perspective.is not to say that "being-in-relationship" is somehow"better" or "worse" than the individuating notions of agency.that characterexclusion from the dominantculture.this is a questionof narrative contingency." Relationbe the of more or less them bonded.71 afterall.with an achingpictureof the "classlongings. this analytic relationalitytells us nothing in advance about the value or qualityof those relationshipsand relationalidentities.relationalityis used only analytically and must be in the of relationaland culcontext (male female) analyzed turalmatricesbecausethey do not "exist" outsideof those complexes. not utopianideals." rativesof envy and desire (that life mightbe different). She preof working-class fit with this form of social categorization and narsents us. In other words. of that should and tions about the attributes identity normally agency life.
religion." the burden of provingone's identity. obviously skin color was now a poor indicatorof race.Althoughsocial science historians almost alwaysdemonstratewith subtletyhow these interestsare mediated throughinterveningfactors (culture. the interests remain the foundationalexplanationfor working-classpractices and protests.By declaring into accountthe historicalintermingling that anyonewith even a drop of Africanblood was a "Negro.the social analystimputesa set of predefined interests or values to people as members of social categories (e. peasant). etc.623 The narrativecontingencyof identity is similarlyvividly suggestedin Davis's historicalsociology of the notorious "one-droprule"in racial Davis'sstudydemonstratesthe numerousconflictsthat classification. .and then doing the empirical workof lookingat variationsamongthose interests.thatthe decline of traditional domestic modes of production and its concomitantthreat to custom createdan "artisanal interest" fromwhichexplanations for social movements can at least in partbe derived.The irony was that the very people or groups who deliberatelycreated racial classificationsin the first place often could not even identify correctly those individualsthey wanted to classify.makesit obvious that such a binaryclassificationis too rigidto accountfor those whose lives failed to conformto the dominantpublic accountsof racialpurity and segregation. The impact of America'simaginativeone drop rule went beyond public and private strugglesover personal identity. Historianscommonlyargue.76 thatfailed to take accompaniedthe rule of a type of racialclassification of differentraces. residential patterns.for instance.."therule made possible the incrediblemyth amongwhites that miscegenationhad not occurred.78 Class-formationtheory has traditionally action with the explained concept of interestor with universalrationalpreferences. modern-factory worker.that the races had been kept pure in the south."77 The problemof who gets to define a person continueseven today.for blacksand whites.gender. Making sense of social action thus becomes an exercise in placing people into the right social categories by identifyingtheirputativeinterests.By compelling all children of mixed blood to live in the black community.Since interestis determinedby the logic and stages of socioeconomic development.). Class-formationtheory provides another example of the concept of narrativeidentity for theoreticalrethinking.g. traditional artisan.One of the key decisionsmany make about researchprojectsconcerningrace is principalinvestigators whether their interviewersshould identify the race of respondentsor whetherthe persons being interviewedshould get to choose their race froma preselectedcategory.
each state representedthe expression of the interests of an his argument is the assumption emerginghistoricclass.family. the narrative-identity approachemphasizeshow we or locate people withina processualand sequentialmovecharacterize ment of relationshipsand life-episodes. this assumptionleads us to expect intra-classuniformAll the members ity throughouteach period of citizenship-formation: of a single category of actors . Naturally.the eighteenth-centuryEnglish "workingclass. Calhoun demonstratesthis in his narrativeabout how Chinese students.should behave similarlyand have the same interestswith respect to citizenshipregardlessof differencesof residence. Marshall. in his classic study of citizenship." "state will have shared attributes "capitalist employers.in this case theirplace in the production process? To let "class"stand as a proxy for experience is to presume what has not been empiricallydemonstrated.and less because of the interestswe imputeto them. A narrativeidentity approach assumes that social action can only be intelligibleif we recognize that people are in which they and culturalrelationships guided to act by the structural are embedded and by the stories throughwhich they constitute their identities. or in the context of a differentset of prevailthat sense of being could be entirelydifferentbecause ing narratives. But why do we premise or limit our understanding of people to their workcategory?Why should we assume that an individualor a collecset of interestssimplybecause one aspectof their tivityhas a particular identityfits into one social category. narrativeidentitiesare constitutedand reconstitutedin time and over time.namely that identities are foundationallyconstitutedby their categorizationin the divisionof labor.correlated the stages of citizenship'sdevelopmentwith epochs of class formation. who had initially displayed no interest in politics.624 T.79 Underpinning that actors withinthe same category("theworking-class" "thegentry. Substitutingthe concept of narrativeidentity for that of interest circumvents this problem.Whereas interestderivesfrom how we as analystscategorize people's role in a division of labor.or gender.80 their sense of beingat that particular violate mentally In anothertime or place.for example." bureaucrats") hence sharedinterestsdirectingthem to have similarcitizenshippractices. formed .Whereasan interestapproach assumespeople act on the basis of rationalmeans-endspreferencesor a set of values."for example . a narrativeidentityapproachassumes by internalizing in act particularways because not to do so would fundapeople time and place. H.
organizationalconstraints. binding (and unbinding)institutions.as well as the particularstories (of honor. thus preThe "narrative" sumes that action can only be intelligibleif we recognize the various in whichactorsare emplotted. of ethnicity.of gender. of local community.that configure togetherto shape historyand social action.ratherthey are mediatedthroughthe enormousspectrumof social and politicalinstitutionsand practicesthat constituteour social world. we context.however.family patterns. People's experiences as workers. For most practicingsocial-science As an entity.We thus need a conceptual vocabularythat can relatenarrative identityto that rangeof factorswe call social forces . simultaneouslyspeak of locating the actors in their "societal" But society as a concept is rooted in a falsely totalizingand naturalistic way of thinking about the world.nation.625 cohesive politicalidentitiesduringthe one month they were thrustinto dramaof TienanmenSquare. or economic life.institutionalpractices. Societyis the term that usuallyperformsthis work of contextualization in social analysis.narratives way.Narraontologicaland publicnarratives tive identities are constituted by a person's temporallyand spatially variable place in culturallyconstructed stories composed of (breakable) rules. an essential set of social springs at the heart of the mechanism.the public and culturalnarratives that informtheir lives.it has a core essence research. (variable)practices.of greed.for example.market patterns.) used to account for the eventshappeningto them. and so on. and the multipleplots of family.the practicalworkingsof the legal system. as well as the relevantrange of other social forces .81 the overpowering dimension of identity there and elsewhere.We need concepts that will enable us to plot over time and space the ontologicalnarratives of historicalactors.This . Most imporare not incorporatedinto the self in any direct tant.a society is a social entity. are inextricablyinterconnected with the largermatrixof relationsthat shaped their lives their regionallocation.When we speak of understanding social action. etc.from politics to demographics.82 Relationalsetting Another challengeof conceptualnarrativity is to develop a vocaculary in temporaland spathatwill allowus to locateactors'social narratives tial configurationsof relationshipsand culturalpractices (institutions and discourses).
a particularset of "feudalclass relations"at the core of this society. And in "industrial "modern statemustbe detachedfrom civil society industrial/capitalist" and the industrialeconomy. explored over time and space.As such it is public narratives.but by empirically examiningif and when relational interactionsamong narrativesand institutionsappear to have pro- .Thus in "feudalsocieties.for example.626 essentialcore is in turnreflectedin broaderco-varyingsocietal institutions that the system comprises. and institutions. Thus.we mean at once "feudalsociety"as a whole.For a social order is neither a naturalistic systemnor a pluralityof individuals.86A not by looking for indicatorsof over time relationalsetting is traced social development. takes shape a relationalmatrix. In periods of transitionfrom one society to another.and industrialworkersmust be individual and legally free. I would abolish the concept of "society"altothe metaphorof a relationalsettingfor "society" Substituting gether. of a relationalsettingis that One of the most importantcharacteristics be must thus and it has a history.there occurs a "lag effect"and remnantsof the old order persist againstthe pressuresof the new. To be sure.the systemic metaphor assumes that the parts of society co-vary along with the whole as a corporateentity. amonginstitutions. Most significantly for historicalresearch. life a we need of social the able to capture narrativity way of thinking that can substitutea relationalimageryfor a totalizingone.institutionswithin a society must co-varywith each other. when sociologists speak of feudalism. the synchronyis not always perfect. I thus agree with Tilly and White who both concur in their own way with Michael Mann who writes:"It may seem an odd position for a sociologist to adopt.85 Identity-formation within these relational settings of contested but patterned relations people."and a concomitantset of "feudalinstitutions" such as feudal political units and feudal peasant communities."a extra-economically exploited peasants."83 A relationalsettingis a patternof relationships makes this possible."the state by definitionmust be a feudal state whose feudal characterco-varieswith all other feudal institutions.these systemictypoloand reassemgies must be broken apartand their parts disaggregated bled on the basis of relationalclusters.84 and social practices.a social network.feudal workers must all be unfree and society. a "feudalmanorialeconomy. but if I could.but rathera complex If we want to be of contingentculturaland institutionalrelationships. amongnarratives. To make social action intelligibleand coherent. But despite these qualifications.
In this way.the labor-market sector)can only be discernedby assessinghow it is affectedinteractively by the other relevantdimensions. while ideal activitiesare usuallyassociated typicallycalled instrumental with qualitative concernsin dailylife. who the new social movements (from the identity-politics distinguish old) by theirputatively exclusivelyideal . material goals .89 From the same assumptions.differentregions of a single nation-stateare no longer cast as variantsof a single society.87 and theories of action and agency Conceptualnarrativity Narrative identity and social meaning One majoradvantageof the concept of narrative identityis in the challenge it poses to the false dichotomy too often posed between ideal versusinstrumental Some sociologistsclaim that meaningsof action.90 To enforce the point. A setting crosses "levels"of analysisand bringstogether in one setting the effect of. say.This cross-cuttingcharacterof a relationalsetting assumesthat the effect of any one level (for example. Social change.each of which takes social. identity.because it is composed of a matrix of institutionslinked to each other in variablepatternscontingenton the interaction of all points in the matrix. geographical. but as differentrelationalsettingsthatcan be compared. the local politicalconflicts among elites.arguedthatif wages were of secondary importancefor German workers.88 action is only authenticwhen it is expressiveratherthan instrumental.but by shiftingrelationships among the institutional and culturalpracticesthatconstituteone arrangements or more social settings.such as bread and wages . and the community'sdemographicpractices of a community.for example. a relationalsettingmustbe conceivedwith a geometricrather Spatially. Weber.is viewed not as the evolutionor revolution of one societal type to another.are . that was evidence of the superiorityof ideal action. such as gender and race.and symbolic narrative expression.627 duced a decisively different outcome from previous ones. the internationalmarket.for instance.from this perspective.the state'swar-making policies.focus. neo-classicaleconomists go to equal lengths to provide support for the primacyof self-interestamong workersin order to supportthe it is theoristsof the new concept of rationalaction. To do so requiresthat we first disaggregate the partsof a settingfrom any presumed covaryingwhole and then reconfigurethem in their temporal and geographicrelationality. than a mechanisticmetaphor.And most currently.hence.
for example. Joyce. if there is any common narrative theme that emergesfrom these studies.91 Many examplesdefy attemptsto periodize or categorizeinstrumental versusideal (identity)ends.as partof an a priorisystemof categorization.be presumeduntil historicallyexplored. But when we view these same wage-struggles throughthe lens of a narrativeidentityanalysis. so-called instrumental strategiesand identitypolitics in linked research be to findings about the new increasingly appear social movements. Historicalstudiesdemonstratethe vast rangeof variationin the use of bread and wages.has collected (material) the remarkable an arrayof studies illustrating variationin "thehistorical meaningsof work. The meaningimputedto the appropriation therefore.to everypurposefrom maintaining in the face of assertingindependence newly imposed factory regimes.a characteristic social in its focus classification activitythatdefies eitherideal or instrumental on maintaining relationalcontinuitiesover time andwithinspace. for instance. Wagesserved social honor.we are immediatelyimpressedby the difficulty of classifyingthem as solely eitherinstrumental or ideal.a form of judicialcitizenshipand communitysolidarity.Just as an adequate materiallife is an essentialmeans of preservingnormativerelations.to preserving families. value from that of the "digit was impossibleto separatetheirnarrative Manyyears ago Smelserdemonstratedthat collecnity of the trade.628 Yet from a narrativeidentity perspectivethere is nothing self-evident about the instrumental natureof wage demandsany more than that of the ideal natureusuallyattributedto culturalactivities.but on the relationalpropertyof apprenticeship ." people demandedthe vote on the groundsof their "property ideal of Locke on which they it was not the autonomousworkmanship founded these claims."93 tive movements aimed at factory reform (surely the quintessential "instrumental" object) were motivated by workingfamilies'efforts to hold the familytogetheragainstthe destabilizing impactof women and children's factory labor.When we look at wage-struggles.95 of materiallife should not.it is that wage-struggles appearto be most commonly viewed as a form of provisioning .so culturaland symbolic relations provide materialresources for livelihood.94 And when nineteenth-centuryworking in labor.Indeed.97 . even when money wageswere at stake.equallyimportant.96Similarly.we inevitablyclassifythem as expressionsof instrumental goals."92 It is not just thatwork signifiedhonor as much as livelihood.
Race. identity.deservesnot thatprotection. for example. and throughrelationality.99These institutional and symbolic relationshipsare no mere externalset of norms to be "strippedaway by the sociologist" to discover the "real analytic sets of societal rules residingwithin self". Whichkinds of narratives will sociallypredominateis contested politically and will depend in largepart on the distributionof power.and sometimes normative.If persons are socially cy then othersare over constituted time.others were not part of the external problem of constraintbut constitutive.thereforehe protectionof any community.of his narrative identity.629 The narrative identityconcept allows us to make this shift in the interpretationof action from an a priori categorizationto a focus on contingent narrativesof meaning.Considerthe commentsof one late eighteenth-century artisan on some of the progressive French notions of liberty that threatenedto dismantleregulative welfarepolicies: It cannot be said to be the libertyof a citizen. who availshimselfthereof.there is a limited of available only repertoire representationsand stories.and the human being. constitutive rather than external to identity.the powerof society affords.this does not mean that social actors are free to fabricatenarratives at will.and appropriationof narratives.for good or for bad .and power Although social action may be only intelligiblethroughthe construction. or of one who lives under the it is ratherthe libertyof a savage.101 For this individual.This is . to competing social claims. gender. Rather. space. The example of the conceptual shift from ideal versus instrumental agency to the concept of provisioning.such as Historicaland contemporatradeunions or communityassociations. and public narratives)that variablyadhere to the intersticesof an individuallife.100 English agency.strikingly supportsthe switchfrom fixed notions of agenrelational to analyses of identity formation. enactment. they are not "internalized" Rather they are constitutiveto self. suggest ry autonomywas more often than not contingentupon the grids of social relationality(everythingfrom collective memories. From this perspective authentic social action can readily encompass institutionalpractices that organize social inclusions and institutionalexclusions . to pasts and futures of intractablesocial connections. to political power and policies from above.98 that studies indeed structural.
for granted. words. for example."104 Choosing narratives to express multiple subjectivitiesis a deliberate way of rejecting the neutralityand appearanceof objectivitytypicallyembedded in master narratives. the narrativesof groups and persons. but in effect replicatethe metanarratives In pointingout thatwomen do not haveavailableto them the same nor. of her English working-classroots Steedman'sanalyticautobiography is amongthe most powerfulexamplesof the significanceof alternative .genderstudiesand criticalrace theorieshave esque.as "KafkaFor this reason. part made visible through narrative"it will remain confined within the closed space of individual experience. in everydaytalk we often characterizeincoherent experiences .Violi notes the difficulties for women in constructing social identities. able cultural.103 narrativeallows men to objectivizethemselves and their own experiences in these everymanstories .we can also expect to find that confusion.especially stories mativelyvalued forms of symbolic representation of solidarityand autonomyamongwomen .630 people use to make sense of theirsituations why the kinds of narratives will alwaysbe an empiricalratherthana presuppositional question.victimization. The extent and availablefor appropriation natureof any given repertoireof narratives is always historicallyand culturallyspecific. explicate. tion of exclusionso characteristic PatriziaVioli. narrative. reminds us how critical the presence or have been to the construction kinds of narratives absence of particular "universal" The archetypical of both male and female subjectivities. powerlessness. give meaningsto those narratives Since social actors do not freely constructtheir own privateor public narratives.and institutional Thus. despair.and even madness are some of the outcomes of an inabilityto accommodatecertainhappeningswithina rangeof availnarratives. is female that unless Violi same of the subjectivity argues process. These representational to keepinginvisiblenot only the difsilences are thereforetantamount ferences between men and women but also the very subjectivitiesof as and subjectivity women themselves.and especially those wherewe feel controlledby a greaterpower thanour own ."102 for the importanceof constructingnew public narraargued eagerly that do not continuethe long traditives and symbolicrepresentations of dominantones.It is or take in we rather than assume other that essential.public. ness.stories that not only representmaleof classicalsocial theory. the particularplots that cannotbe determinedin advance.Seeingrepresentation.
In an examination of their legal training."" Encoded in that story about the white slave holder (Attorney Austin Miller) who had purchased and impregnatedWilliams'great-greatgrandmotherwas the proof that a category is neither fixed nor nonrelational.could the story not also be invertedso thatnow encoded in that single drop of blood is a narrative of empowerment? .'06 silence towardher own Steedman a of self's (her mother's) a presents picture experiences. It is not surprising then that the narrativesof excluded voices reveal "alternative values" since narratives"articulatesocial realities not seen by those who live at ease in a worldof privilege. Patricia Williams and CharlesLawrenceexplicitlyreject silencingthe human voice in order to produce "abstract.these scholarsof color contend that writing counter-narratives is a crucial strategywhen one's identity is not expressed in the dominant public ones.one that joins gender and class.631 public narrativesin counteringthe potential damage to identity forThe public narramation caused by singulardominant narratives. you have it in your blood. If "onedrop"of blood could be constructedinto a narrative to dominateone sector of the population.105 tives of working-classcommunityshe had availableas a child omitted women. and absence. lawyers. With "secretivereassurance. Steedman articulates a counter-narrative ."'09 Either way."dualsubjectivity. Strugglesover narrationsare thus strugglesover identity. absolute longing Challengingthe silence." "O The centralityof ontological narrativein the constructionof social identities is also revealed in a story Williamstells about startinglaw school at HarvardUniversity."'08 Lawrencecalls this kind of multiple consciousness by another name . with many other relationalcomplexitiesof English life ." Williams recalls. for instance. mechanistic." al.and rationalist" legal Williams discourse. just as many of the currentfeministaccounts of identityomit In this context of narrative class and poverty.and thus lays the groundwork for a newly reconstructed kind of narrative identityformation. her mother explained she knew the black student would succeed at the prestigious why young "The Millers were so university.'07 Embracingthe notion of multiple subjectivity. tells us that she does not use the "traditionallylegal black-letter because she is "intentionally double-voiced and relationvocabulary.professional.
this would directus would call a "habitus. Marshall in which he assumed a correlation between class attributesand political action towardcitizenshipformation. situationsmaintained From the narrativeidentity perspective.and working for wages .and group embeddedbecome more importantthan class ness and culturalrepresentations attributes.From this identitiescannotbe derivedfrom attriangleof relationalmembership.Even thougheighteenth-century English working people certainlyshared importantattributes.or by "experience" imputedfrom a social category(such as traditional artisan.thus directing us to investigate citizenship-identities by looking at actors'places in their relationalsettings. Recall the earlier example from T. H.in that they shared working-classattrigorized as "working-class" . Neither class nor status divisions can account for these differences since those in similar class differentdegreesof poweracrossregions.their conditions and degrees of empowerment with respect to citizenshipwere not uniform but varied dramatically across the social and geographicallandscape. less concernedwith "deviation" This shift would in turn allow us to make sense of a situationin which even though a large group of English people could be similarlycate. but by actors'places in the multiple(often competing)symbolicand material narrativesin which they were embedded or with which they identiWe would thus no longer assume that a group of people have fied.they were propertylessin most respects.12 Relationaland narrative approachescan be broughtto bear on the same evidence to show otherwise."114 to expect greatercontingenciesof agency. The "same"working class differed radicallyas to whether they even perceived the laws of citizenshipto be rightsin the first place. or working-class wife).these same working classes would be seen as membersof political cultures whose symbolic and relationalplaces in a matrixof narrativesand relationshipsare better indicators of action than their categorical classifications." their identityfits into a single categoryknown as the "working Social action thus loses its categoricalstability. exploited by their employers.113 relationshipto citizenshipsimplybecause one aspect of any particular class. butes imputedfroma stageof societaldevelopment(be it pre-industrial or modern).We would be considerably and more fascinatedby variation.or what Bourdieu As a generalproposition. factory laborer.632 Narrative identity and social class also allowsus to thinkdifferently aboutthe relaConceptualnarrativity tionship between social classes and political action.
landlessness."'18 Indeed.such a person . Consider.Yet as long as we continueto conceptualizeothersas sources of externalconstraint.their politicalactivitiesand identitiesvaried radicallydepending In the case of eighteenth-century England the upon their settings.Until recently.certainworkingcommunitieswere able to offset manyof the "normal" with a consequencesof propertylessness more powerfulform of "property" in associationand membership.for example.women." dence of social control.116 Conclusion Modernsocial theoriesof universalagencyhavemade manyof the data of humanactivityinexplicable.the local control and symbolic meaning attachedto skilled work." This barelyconceals a hidden contempt for those putativelyduped objects of history who acted differentlyfrom the way the universalmodern class actor would. practices(including parapprenticeship ticipatoryrules and expectationsof enforcement. or deviant from modern social action." "reactionary.633 butes (lack of ownershipof means of production.17Action and agencythatfail to conformto the postulatesof the universalnorms of agency are often explainedby the externalpower of order. non-westerners. In a context configuredby these relationships. and narrativity.115 effects usually attributed to proletarianizationwere in fact overdeterminedin manyinstancesby particular narrative and relationships the institutional national laws. or economic forces. Why? Because the dispossessed ghost-like individualself is "less liberated than disempowered. All too frequently.anomalous.be it norms or social laws.we are forced to label such relationaland instituor as evitionally-oriented goals as "backwards-looking.or internalizedinstitutionalconstraint.exist. and the skilled practicesof affiliation).even heuristically for action that are indeed intelligible.119 .and so on) .the capacgenerateexplanations of social-science to ity logic lay the basis for achievingthat end will on its depend epistemologicalprinciplesand categoriesbeing informed by time. and minoritiesfrequentlywere defined in social anlaysis(often inadvertently) as irrational.the "problem" of those nineteenth-cenmovements that deviated from Marxistpredictions tury working-class of revolutionary class consciousness when they demandedstate intervention to protect their rights. one could go further. space.these movements have been labeled by historiansand sociologists as "reformist" or as victims of "socialcontrol"and "falseconsciousness. bureaucraticpower. If an aim of the social sciences is to cannot .the durabilityof particle inheritance.
for instance. an important structingcategoriesof identity. Chodorow and Gilligan). (2) categoriesthat coincide with a narrativethematic. classification." It also builds upon the strengths of the or "anomalous. social practices.narrativity." recentshift in sociologies of actionfrom universalnotions of agencyto more particularistic identities.a shift that endows the previouslymarIn recognizingthe with a powerfulnew sense of subjectivity. etc. ginalized I have also of new of these however. it is not hard to classify certain narrativesas falling in the or "thevirtuesof Americandemoccategoryof the "heroicWesterner. cultural networks.For instance.those otherswho are a centralanalytic dimension (again..and." of the narrativeitself. man. In her studyof audienceresponsesto westernmovies. sociologies identity.) or "fixed"entities (woman. education. more generally.g. which alreadysuggeststhat social identitiesare social constitutedby the intricateinterweavingof history. conceptualizations across time and space." still be abstracted from context and its ontological relationality kept intact. They subject-object ceptualize transformthe dichotomy into numerous matrices of patterned relationships. importance tried to call attentionto their potentialweaknesses. to be sure. not necessarily normative)of that identity. structuresof power.These are themselvespremisedon the extensiveresearch. the classificationof an actor divorced from analyticrelationalityis neither ontologicallyintelligiblenor meaningful." "deviant. black) and.as well as the inadvertentahistoricismthat resultsfrom conThere is.and publicnarratives.redefinedas "marginal.foremost among which are the tendenciesto conflate analyticor structural relationality into normativevalues about "being-in-relations" (e. The concepts of narrative identity and relationalsettingallow us to reconthe dualism of modern social theory. racy. .120 theoreticaldistinctionto be made between two kinds of categories from those based on (1) taxonomicalcategoriesof identityaggregated variables (age.and toward an understandingof agency constituted within institutions. pracknowledge. as well as institutional and cultural and relationality. and institutionsmediated not by abstractions but by linkagesof politicalpower.This simultaneously reconceptualizessocial agency awayfrom its unitary status of individuation. By contrast.634 to the new idenBringingthe richdimensionsof ontologicalnarrativity tity approachesin social action theory is one way of doing this. It can a is This however.social practices. sex. tices. The narrativeapproachto identity thus addresses the incoherencies of theories of action that leave vast numbers of social actors and social practicesthoroughlyunaccountedfor .
and to Pat Preston.for heroic word processing.. Acknowledgments Renee Anspach's. insight.and spirit contributedmightilyto my revisions on this article. There is no reason to assume a priori that people with similarattributeswill sharecommon experiencesof social life.Pittsburgh.as well as to CraigCalhoun.121 Yet while these thematicclassificationsof the narrativesremainstable throughoutthe study. I am not suggestingthat there is no place for the use of categoriesof Brint. and the Comparative Social Analysis Workshop.." because this belief is into social accepted cisely analysistoo uncritically that new theories of action centered aroundidentityare often empirically confounded. and Arthur Stinchcombe's generosity of pen. to Jane Rafferty. Social Theoryand the Constitution of Identity (Basil Blackwell. Bringing narrativityto identity thus provides the conceptual sinews that produces a tighter. UCLA. will appear in Craig Calhoun. editor.for researchassistance. and Social Comparative History Theory.more historicallysensitive coupling between social identityand agency. ElizabethLong.Earlierversions were presentedat the 1992 American the BrennerCenterfor SociologicalAssociation Meetings. rightlysays identity in everydaysocial practice. unless they share similar narrativeidentities and relational settings. and the Editors of Theoryand Society. I am gratefulto the audiencesin those settingsfor theirspiritedfeedback.635 must classify by theme the western movies she Shively appropriately shows her audiences. let alone be moved to common forms and meanings of social action.'22 that the sociological use of categories reflects the "beliefthat the experience of common conditions of life .Rogers Brubaker's.co-authoredwith Gloria Gibson. for example. Marc Steinberg.her findingsrevealthat audience identificationwith and response to those themes depends less on the racial category of the respondent (native American or white) and more on the actors' changing social and historical embeddedness. Department of Sociology.A differentversion of this article. Mayer Zald. . 1994).Gloria Gibson. makes people with shared 23 But it is preattributesa meaningfulfeatureof the social structure.UCLA.
Discourse.PrivateWoman: Universityof California Womenin Social and Political Thought(Princeton:PrincetonUniversityPress. One Nation'sDefinition(Philadelphia: and gender relations in feminist theory. and Mary F. Towarda Feminist Theoryof State (Cambridge:Harvard University as Problematic: A Feminist Press.and Femininity:Exploringthe Relations of Ruling (London and New York: Routledge. 1992)."On being the object of property. that have recentlyshownthat racialand sexualcategoriescannotbe conceived as pre-politicalor outside the bounds of social constitution. "Onlanguage. Sex: Nature(New York and London:Routledge.1991).and Jill M. experience. criticalrace theory. 1988).Nancy R. Knowledge. F. LindaNicholson.636 Notes 1.Facts. Belenky. Cochrane (Princeton:PrincetonUnitices and Representations.JoanWallachScott. 1981)." and The as Problematic.III. Whois Black?: The Pennsylvania State University.In a DifferentVoice:PsychologicalTheoryand Women's Development (Cambridge:Harvard University Press. TheReproduction of Mothering (Berkeley: Press. TheCategory 2. 1990).see Nancy Chodorow.see KathleenCanning. and TheConceptual of Power: Sociologyof Knowledge (Boston:NortheasternUniversityPress.and Mind (New York:Basic Books. JeanElshtain. Texts. 1982). (Cambridge: Diaryof a LawProfessor StevenCollins. TheEveryday of Woman(New ConceptualPracticesof Power. (Boston:Unwin Hyman. versity Press. "Postmodernism Nicholson. Genderand the Politicsof History(New York:Columin bia UniversityPress. Women'sWaysof Knowing: TheDevelopment of Self."Signs19 (1994): 368-404. and TheAlchemy of Race and Rights:The Harvard UniversityPress. Blythe M Clinchy. the power of categories:Discourse. and ThinkingFragments: West(Berkeleyand Los Angeles:Universityof modernismin the Contemporary CaliforniaPress.Carol Tavris.and Femininity. Goldberger. Voice. James Davis. Smith.PublicMan. Smith. 2298.editor. The criticismof categoricalfixity is the animatingimpulse behind much of feminist.and feminist resist"Contesting Between Pracance. 1978). 1988). "Theword and the river:Pedagogyand scholarshipas struggle."in Linda Jane Flax. Feminism/Postmodernism 1990).editor.Cultural History: trans. UnrulyPractices: Power. CharlesR.1991). A Feminist Practices 1990)." Genderand the Politicsof History(New York:ColumbiaUniversityPress. PatriciaHill Collins. Carol Gilligan. 1990). 53-67. the inner circle: Dorothy Smith's challenge to sociological and "Transforming theory. The Mismeasure York: Simon & Schuster.and working-class history. Lawrence. Dorothy E. 1988). 1989). Nancy Fraser.Cyborgs. TheEverydayWorld Sociology(Boston:Northeastern UniversityPress. 1986). Catharine MacKinnon. 1989). 1990).Facts. 1987).gender. Black FeministThought: and the Politicsof Empowerment Consciousness. Williams." For contributions post-modernist.editors."SociologicalTheory10 (1992): 73-80. and "Theevidenceof experience."Signs 14/5 (1988): 5-24. and PostPsychoanalysis. MichaelCarrithers. For some examples of the reinterpretation of female differenceinto a form of genderidentity.Making Harvard University Body and Genderfrom the Greeks to Freud (Cambridge: Press. ThomasLaqueur. 1991). of the . Critical Inquiry17/3 (1991): 773-797. RogerChartier. Lydia G."SouthernCaliforniaLaw Review 65/5 (1992): 2231(New York:Routledge.and StevenLukes.Simians. Tarule.and the "newhistoricism. World Texts. Donna Haraway. PatriciaJ.and Social Theory(Minneapolis:University of Minnesota Genderin Contemporary TheReinvention and Women: of Press. 39-62. 1990). Feminism/Postmodernism (New York and London:Routledge: Feminism. 1990).
"Localknowledge: Fact and law in comparative perspective. Whiteand Minkboth argued that despite the representational value of narrative. and Community(Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Gergenand MaryM. 4. and The Contentof the Form (Baltimore:Johns Hopkins University Press. "Thequestionof narrativein contemporary cal theory. 160-192.See HaydenWhite. 1983). Sarbin. This view of narrativeas a representational methodologywas importantlysubstantiatedby the philosophersand historiographers. 1987). and a majorinfluence on the new narrative approach. Williams."Theword and the river". editor.2 vols. Halls (Cambridge: "A Marcell of the human mind: Press.Lawrence.editor. CamPhilosophy. J.W.Actual Minds. T. TheCategory The notion of person. editor. and "Narrative form as a cognitiveinstrument. Narrative TheStoriedNatureof Human ConPsychology: duct (New York:Praeger. Philosophical autonomyof historicalunderstanding. See especiallyRicoeur. and Louis O. in psychology."Narrativeformand the constructionof psychologicalscience. and Time and Narrative. KathleenMcLaughlin and David Pellauer(Chicago: Universityof ChicagoPress."Historyand Theory23 (1984): 1-33. editor. On Narrative tationof reality." Universityof (Chicago: historiChicagoPress. The journalSocialScienceHistoryis representative of this trend. editors. 1982). University (Chicago: of the Person.TheAlchemyof Race and Rights. 165-186.see GarethWilliams. Local Knowledge(New York: Basic Books. 99-124. 1-23.1-25.TheAlchemyofRace and Rights. 107-124. The Politics of Interpretation (Chicago:University of Chicago Press.1986). Danto.New Directionsin LiteraThe Johns ryHistory(Baltimore: HopkinsUniversityPress. Mink. 1985) for a complexphilosophicaldiscussionof the analyticplace of narrative in historical analysis. 1984-1986)."Researchin Phenomenology9/25 (1979): 17-34.the notion of self.II. editor. SusanKemper. T..637 Person:Anthropology. 1984). 1982).see Williams. 1981)." Sociologyof Healthand Illness 6 (1984): 175- . 1986). TheoPress. editor."Thedevelopmentof narrative in StanA. 1966).. See also Arthur C. KennethJ. Dray.256-257 (italicsmine)."Thehumanexperienceof time and narrative. category University bridge et al. 6. J."in Clifford Geertz." dore R. and "Lifeas narrative. DiscourseDevelopment: in entertainments.Essayson Individualism of ChicagoPress. CliffordGeertz. Mitchell."in Carrithers. Mauss. Narrationand Knowledge: Includingthe IntegralTextof AnalyticalPhilosophyof History(New York: ColumbiaUniversityPress. 1981). Ronald Dworkin. D. Louis Dumont. 22-44."in TheodoreR.1986).Possible Worlds HarvardUniversity (Cambridge: Social Research54/1 (1987): 11-32. Gergen.Character. In law and criticalrace theory. 1984). "Narrative time. When Words Lose TheirMeaning:Constitutions and Reconstitutions of Language. 3. 1985). Mitchell. Jerome Bruner."Thegenesis of chronic illness:Narrativereconstruction. "The in WilliamH."Thehumanexperienceof time and narrative. On Narrative(Chicago:University of Chicago Press.editor." Progress CognitiveDevelopmentResearch(New York: Springer-Verlag. in medicine." Journalforthe Theory of Social Behavior15 (October 1985): skills:Explanationsand 237-282. TheStoriedNatureof Human Conduct(New York: editor.trans. Sarbin. trans. Narrative Psychology: Praeger."Thevalueof narrativity in the represenin W. James Boyd White." Analysisand History(New York:Harper& Row." in RalphCohen." and Time and Narrative. 5.The majorexception to this position. "The inadvertentrediscoveryof self in social psychology.History. see Susan Hales." in W.is PaulRicoeur. 1978).it had to be seen as a superto organplaced over the chaos of "reality" imposedform that analysts/historians ize it into coherency. Kuczaj.
Feminist UniversityPress. sity of California The Anthropologyof Experience(Urbana:University of Illinois Press."Private edge. Miller.and lives. NarrativeTruthand Historical Truth: in Psychoanalysis Meaningand Interpretation (New York: W. in gender studies."CSST WorkingPaper SherryOrtner. 2549. Linda M."Narrativity #66 (Ann Arbor:Universityof Michigan. in physics. 1982). T. 1981). 1986). Nancy Cartwright." Poetics 15 (1986): 183-202. "Gender. 1989). Victor W. W. Margaret identity.J."Narrativity. 1991)."in Gisela Bock and Susan James. N. 1986). Spence."in W."in Indiana Studies(Bloomington: Studies/Critical Teresade Lauretis. Norton & Co. 1981). Differences sentation. Roy Schafer. or war? Frenchfeministnarrativeand the politics of self-repre"Rememoration 3/1 (1991): 1-19.:Ablex 1985)." editors. 1989). 8. 1990). "Narrationin the psychoanalyticaldialogue.1991). editors. 7.and social action:Rethinking Science Social formation. 164-176. 1984). "What'snew in women's history. Elspeth Graham.StoriesLives Tell:Narrative and Dialoguein Education(New York:TeachersCollege Press. Attentionto identity-formation ly.Sourcesof the Self (Cambridge: HarvardUniversityPress. The Illness Narratives(New York: Basic."New YorkReview of Books (27 October 1988). Her Own Life: Autobiographical Writings by SevenEnglishwomen(London:Routledge.FeministPolitics and Female Subjectivity (New York and London: Routledge. and Livia Polanyi. the two majorsources for these developmentsare both groups of "outsiders" . "MightyManchester. Daniel Bertauxand MartinKohli. Nancy K. Interpreting biographies. "Thelife A continental view. Elaine Hobby.638 200. Biographyand Society(Beverly Hills: Sage.and life-span developmentalknowlstoriesin 27 (1984): 1-19. editors. Mark Freeman. "History.Hilary Hinds. Tellingthe AmericanStory(Norwood. Arthur Kleinman. in psychoanalytictheory.culture. Publishing. 1981). Biography. W. Cf. Bruner. ValentineDaniel. SusanGroag Bell and MarilynYalom. Englishworking-class is slowly gaininggroundin sociology. in education. Linda Gordon.narrative. and Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History (New York and London:W. in history. 1991).and Gender(Albany:State Feminist Personal: of York New Press. Turnerand EdwardM. 20-38. G. (Notre Dame:UniverAfter Virtue: sity of Notre Dame Press. CharlotteLinde." History16/4 (1992): 591-630."Genderand narrative Lives: Women's in PersonalNarrativesGroup. editor. see PatriziaVioli. PerOccasionsand OtherAutobiographical Women's Lives:FeministTheoryand sonal NarrativesGroup. and Helen Wilcox. 1988). 1989). 1989). see Donald P.editor. subjectivityand language. Somers. in anthropology.see teenth-Century UniverE. How the Laws of Physics Lie (Oxford: Clarendon Press.see CarolWhitherell and Nel Noddings. Stephen Jay Gould. CharlesTaylor. and TheAnalyticAttitude(New York:Basic Books. On Narrative (Chicago:Universityof ChicagoPress. Getting University Acts (New York:Routledge.editors. Zerilli.editor. 1989). Mary Jo autoform in Frenchand Germanworking-class Maynes. Interpreting PersonalNarratives (Bloomington:Universityof IndianaPress." Feminist Theoryand Personal Narratives(Bloomington:University of Indiana Press. FluidSigns:Beinga Personthe TamilWay (Berkeley: Press. J.editors."HumanDevelopment public discourse:Narrativeanalysis in the social sciences. 1983). 1983). 103-117. 1992). narrative R. Norton. Mitchell. especially the "life stories" scholarshipof Daniel Bertaux.. Beyond Equalityand Difference:Citizenship.see A Studyin MoralTheory AlasdairMacIntyre."Annual Reviewof Sociology10 (1984): 215storyapproach: 237. editor.Significant9. in philosophy. RevealingLives:Autobiography.
14. TheAfrocentric Idea (Philadelphia: Temple UniversityPress. 1992). editors. identity. Nomads of the Present: Social Movements and Individual Needs in Contemporary Society (Philadelphia: Temple University Press." (New York and London:Routledge.ibid. Jean L. Civil Society and Political Theory (Cambridge: The MIT Press.g. Feminists Theorize the Political (New York: Routledge. Maternal Thinking: Toward a Politics of Peace versionsof feminist (New York:BallantineBooks. Stanley Aronowitz. AlessandroPizzorno. Inc. Calif. Molefi Kete Asante. 281-299. see Seyla conBenhabib. Chodorow.1991). 1992). 10."Political conexchangeand collectiveidentityin industrial flict. 16. and Sara Ruddick. Cohen and Andrew Arato. 277-298.For an extremelyimportantdiscussionof these issues." Telos63 (1985): 4169. 1989) for extremelyinfluential identitypolitics. Nicholson." in Pierre Bourdieu and James S. Public Man. Texts. 63-82.and Gilligan. "A feminist theory of in Linda J. and Alain Touraine. 1992). Nicholson. editors. Feminism/Postmodernism social differentiation. Private Woman.1990).. The Resurgence of Class Conflict in Western EuropeSince 1968 (London:Macmillan. Ibid. "An introductionto the study of social movements." (New York and London: Routledge. Culture.639 from the disciplinewho have been until recentlymarginalto the theorizedsocial actor:1) women. and Anna Yeatman. 95-120. editor. Jean L."Newsletter BarbaraLaslett. Crouch and A. Public Man.see. Collins. Col. and "The problem of identity in collective action."in MacroMicro Linkages in Sociology (Beverly Hills. Private 13.. Chapmanand Hall. The Everyday World as Problematic. 15.and postin LindaJ. "Morality. editor. MacKinnon. 12. MacKinnon. . Feminismas Critique (Minneapolis: Universityof MinnesotaPress. 1990). Pizzorno.and historical CharlesTaylor on the sources of the self.modernity."Onthe rationality of democraticchoice." rationality 12. Craig J.. Facts. e. Elshtain. 77-95. Toward a Feminist Theory of State. 1991).e." in C." Social Research 52/4 (1985): 749-787.: Westview Press and New York:RussellSageFoundation."Thegeneralizedand the concrete other:The Kohlberg-Gilligan troversyand feminist theory. 51-75.g." SociologicalTheory9/2 explanation: (1991) 232-263. and Femininity. Coleman. editors. "Imagined munitiesand indirectrelationships: Large-scalesocial integrationand the transformationof everydaylife. Black Feminist about the subject. The Politics of Identity.those who feel nationallyexcluded. "Dilemmasof difference:Feminism. Woman. Strategyor identity:New theoreticalparadigmsand contemporary movements. 1989). and The Conceptual Practices of Power. editors. 1987). The Reproduction of Mothering. Alberto Melucci. 165. See also Elshtain. Social Movements (New York: comRoutledge. and "On the of democraticchoice.and more recently. Chodorow. The Politics of Identity: Class.: Sage. social Cohen..people of color.In a DifferentVoice. Smith. Calhoun.1978). "Thinking of the ComThought. Social Theory for a Changing Society (Boulder."Social Research52 (1985): 663-716. Feminism/Postmodernism modernism. JudithButlerand Joan Scott. Toward a Feminist Theory of State. AlessandroPizzorno. ChristineDi Stefano. ethnicminorities."in Seyla Benhabib and Drucilla Cornell. 1987). and 2) the "new social have movements"in Europe and America whose goals of "identity-expression" been used to distinguishthem from more "instrumental" movements. parative and Historical Sociology Section of the American Sociological Association 5 (1992). Aronowitz. 18. 11. 17.
"and ThinkingFragments."Theevidence of experience. W." SociologicalTheory(1992) 63-72.Charles Lemert. editors.Civil Wars (Boston:Beacon. Flax. University (New are but a few. Donald Winch. MakingAll the Difference: Exclusion. and TheSyntaxof Social Life (Oxford:Oxford UniversityPress. TheSyssis (Berkeley: Press. 21.and Women. 20. Haraway.bell hooks. and Scott. power categories". Ibid. 1988)." ThatName?. These criticismsof identity-theoriesare articulatedin many differentways and places. 25.1992). 1990). 1992). Nancy Fraser and LindaJ. Am I and "Experience. Stefan Collini.Situatingthe Self: Gender. of Chicago Press. Discussion of collective projects in the establishmentof professional identity A Sociological includeMagaliSarfatti AnalyLarson." 28. editor. 1991). and PoliticalTheory 34. Nicholson. IanHacking. 1984). From Marginto Center(Boston: SouthEnd Press. The American "Sociologyas a discipline:Quasi-scienceand quasi-humanities. Am I That Name? Feminismand the Categoryof "Women" in History(Minneapolis: Universityof MinnesotaPress. 1990).See Peter Abell. The Originof American Social Science (New York: Cambridge UniversityPress. Genderand thePoliticsof History. Subjectivities: and and Cohen Oxford York: Arato. Regenia in Britain. 22-40. Nicholson. Audre N.:The CrossingPress. 1987). FeministsTheorize the Political. Some of the most importantinclude Butler and Scott."and "Experience".4 (1991): 165-187.Cyborgs. 19-38. Feminism/Postfeminism and postmodernism. Melucci. "Contesting the power of categories". Haraway. and Post26." HistoricalMethods in social science methods:Causaland narrativeapproaches. 1832-1920 A History of Self-Representation Gagnier. Canning. "Event sequence and event HistoricalMethods17 (1984): 192-204.." modernism(New York and London:Routledge. "Comparative the Theory of Social Behavior14 (1984): 309-331. Genderand the Politicsof Histhe Canning. CivilSociety Press.Community.640 19. Simians. Joan W. University An Essayon the Divisionof ExpertLabor(Chicago: tem of Professions: University of Chicago Press. "Conceptions SociologicalTheory (1988) reality. 1991).".Nomadsof thePresent.editors. 1983). Uneven of University Developments (Chicago: Mary Poovey. SisterOutsider (Trumansberg." thePolitical(New York:Routledge."Socialcriticismwithoutphilosophy. 1990). Gender and the Politicsof History. Denise Riley." HistoricalMethods 16 (1983): 129-147. "Transcending generallinear duration. 1988). Lorde.and AmericanLaw (Ithaca:CornellUniversityPress. in JudithButler and Joan Scott. "Sequencesof social events. modernism(Cambridge: Polity. and J. ThatNoble Science of Politics:A Studyin NineteenthCentury Intellectual UniversityPress. Martha Minow. 1977). 24. "Experience. Scott. JuneJordan. 23. "Subjectivity's riddle of the standpoint. Abell and Abbott have been in the vanguardof challengingthis exclusionin the Journalfor narratives. Cambridge History(Cambridge: The Tamingof Chance (Cambridge:CambridgeUniversity Press. Feminists 22. 27. 1981). Scott. Burrow. 1988)." and events of time 6 169-186. Andrew Abbott. 29. "Socialcriticismwithoutphilosophy:An encounterbetween in Linda J. See especiallySeyla Benhabib.Scott." . For the social sciences in particular. "Postmodernismand gender relations. see also Denise Riley.Y.Similimit: The unsolved ans. Inclusion. 1984). Black Feminist Thought.see Mayer Zald. Theorize and Women." domain of methodology. TheRise of Professionalism: Andrew and of California Abbott."Contesting tory. Cyborgs. Sociologist 22/3. FraserandNicholson. Collins. and Dorothy Ross.
and "Fragmentation can Historical Review 96 (June 1991): 693-698. Explanationin Social History(New York: Basil Blackwell.Alan Megill. 1989). and "Fromcauses to events:Notes on narrative positivism. 32. 34." TerrenceJ. editor. White. JeffreyAlexanderhas also theorizedthe importance to theoriesof social actionin J. anti. Mink.see PhilipAbrams." Ameriand the futureof historiography. e."Social Science History 16/3 and Control: A Structural (1992): 489-516. McDonald.. and "My correct views on everything. HarrisonC.g.Identity of Theory Social Action (Princeton. JanetHart.: Princeton University Press. Dray."Theautonomyof historicalunderstanding. Louis 0. This is beginningto change." Social Science History '16/3 narrativeidentity. two decades later." "Is all the world a text? From sociologicalhistoryto the history of society Eley. in working-class George Steinmetz.J. For additionaldiscussion. editor. Jeffrey C. 1992). see e. "Intellectualhistoryafterthe linguisticturn:The autonomyof meaningand the irreduciAmericanHistoricalReview92/4 (1987): 879-907. The HistoricTurn in the Human Sciences (Ann Arbor:Universityof MichiganPress. 1982)."AmericanHistoricalReview96 (1991): 699-703. See note 6 above.post. McDonald. John E. "The revivalof narrative: Reflections on an old new history. ..641 23 (1990): 140-150. ChristopherLloyd. editor. manuscript."'unpublished 1993. PhilosophicalAnalysis and History(New York: Harper & Row." 33."Theory 207."Thequestionof narrative. Toews. and social action". and LawrenceStone. and JeffreyC."Thediscourseof civil and Society22 (1993): 151society:A new proposalfor culturalstudies."AmericanJournalof Sociolgeneraltheory in comparative-historical ogy 97 (1991): 1-30. On historians abandoning traditional notions of narrative or even standard notionsof historyper se. Geoff bility of experience. neo:How social theorieshave triedto understand the 'newworld'of 'ourtime."Modern. Alexanderand P." in WilliamH. A recent example of defining sociology by its opposition to writing "mere" history can be found in Edgar Kiser and Michael Hechter.and narrativein historiography. "Narrativity. "Cracking the code: Allegory and politicalmobilizationin the Greek Social ScienceHistory16/4 (1992): 631-668. C.Jr. Somers. 1986)." Pastand Present85 (1979): 3-25. Smith."Recounting the past:'Description' AmericanHistoricalReview 94/3 explanation."Reflectionson the role of social narratives formation:Narrativetheory in the social sciences. "The role of sociology."Where is sociolin ogy afterthe historicturn?Knowledgeculturesand historicalepistemologies. forthcoming)." SociologicalForum 5 (September of narrative 1991): 501-524."in Terrence J. Harrison White's Identityand Controlhas broken criticalground by bringingnarrativity (stories)into the heartof his structural theory of social action. 1988). 30." "Introduction: Narratives and social identities. The term comes from and is elaboratedin Margaret R." (1989): 627-653. WilliamH."The social structureof suicide.. The Historic Turnin the Human Sciences (Ann Arbor: University of MichiganPress. provides an excellent analysis of the developmentof these binary oppositions in the social sciences. resistance.and see also Peter Bearman. 160-192. Structure and Meaning: RethinkingClassicalSociology (New York: ColumbiaUniversity Press.Historical Cornell Sociology(Ithaca: UniversityPress.forthcoming). Peter Novick.g. 1966). Alexander. Somers. Sewell. Alexander. N. (1992): 479-488. 31. That Noble Dream:The 'Objectivity Question'and the AmericanHistoricalProfession(Cambridge: CambridgeUniversity Press." Sociological Methods & Research 20/4 (1992): 428-455. White.
on generaltheory. The Political Unconscious. 1984). 1979)."Theironyof interpretation. See. "The 'individual' and Political Theory (New York: Basic Books Inc. See especiallyMauss. Thomas Mc- and Carthy(Boston:Beacon Press. On Narrative(Chicago:University of Chicago Press. drawsfrom Somers. Pierre Bourdieu. W. Peter Brooks. Reading 1981). for example. JamesColeman. Presuppositions. Steven Seidman. For discussion of the new identity-politics note 9. Vol. 1 of Theoretical Logic in Sociology (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.642 35. 1990). Lewin (Ithaca:Cornell UniversityPress." in D. and The Constitution of Society: Outline of the Theory of Structuration (Cambridge: Polity Press. For discussion. 1966). JurgenHabermas." social and narrative range identity.the et al. Smith. An Outline of a Theory of Practice. Plot: Design and Intention in Narrative (New York: Alfred A. T. Identity and Control. Geoffrey Hawthorne.. 1984). in theories of social movements. And despite their radicallydivergentevaluationof what counts as theory. Connolly. "Therole of on the to "fromcauses events. ThePoliticsof Irony(New York:St. and Theory of Communicative Action.Enlightenment Despair (London: CambridgeUniversity Press. The Everyday World as Problematic. UniversityPress. editors. 38. Gerard Genette. Mitchell. Anthony tions of Social Theory(Cambridge: in Studiesin Social in writingsof Emile Durkheim. more generally. for the bolic Act (Ithaca:CornellUniversityPress. see is sociologyafterthe historicturn?" Somers. and Current Controversies. and Femininity.Foundaof Practice(Stanford: HarvardUniversity Press. Jeffrey C. Berkeley: and the Press. AmericanJourof action. White. and Structure and Meaning.dialecticsand history:Commenton Coleman. editor."Sewellstressesthis point in observingthe highlyunusual"departure socialof the vision from and Science Social of fare usual from the History topic] scientificallyinformed historical study that has dominated the SSHA since its foundinga decadeand a half ago"(479). and The Conceptual Practices of Power.see RobertScholesandRobertKellogg. In his "Introduction" Analysis in Social Sci[of the ence. Sewell. Texts. TheCategory of the Person. 1990). 1988)." Giddens.." Press)." the other. 1982). Martin's 39. 41. This discussionof narrative of discussionsof narraa For action. 1980).editors."A categoryof the humanmind. Narrative Essay in Method. Conwayand John Seery. TheNatureof Narrative Discourse:An don: Oxford UniversityPress. essayscollectedin Carrithers. trans. (Lontive theory.see 42. rativity. and TheLogic by RichardNice (New York:Cambridge StanfordUniversityPress. Jr. Positivism. 1985). Narrative as a Socially Sym- . Alexander."and. J. Fredric Jameson. logical Theory 9/2 (1991): 131-146.Communication Universityof California Evolution of Society (Boston: Beacon Press. and Kiser and Hechter. 1976).Jane E. the same conceptual polarities between narrativeand causality are posited in the of time and events in social science methods"and work of Abbott. William H. I: Reason and the Rationalization of Society."Where to the special section on "Narrative 40. Knopf. This and the context of discoverywere first formalizedby Hans Reichenbachin Elementsof SymbolicLogic (New York: Macmillan. "Conceptions one hand. Vol." "Theory nal of Sociology 43 (1986): 166-172. Facts. 1977). trans.. 1981).1947). WilliamE."Socio37."Theend of sociologicaltheory:The postmodernhope.119-150. Action and Its Environment: Towardsa New Synthesis(New York: Columbia University Press.trans."Narin the next few paragraphs 43. 1977). 36.
causality as a deductive instance of a generalization. Revealing Lives. 44. Ricoeur. 50. Sources of the Self. . 52. elements. 1991). for the impressive array of narratives that were deployed to explain action on both sides during the Watergate hearings.. 21. University of Birmingham. WritingHistory. Veyne. Taylor. Bruner. 48. 1988). "Bringing society back in: Symbols. Polkinghorne. 45. Polanyi. 1984 (1971)). After Virtue. and historical explanation. 243. Mina Moore-Rinvolucri (Middletown. Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies. I am happy with Friedland and Alford's definition of an institution as: "simultaneously material and ideal. "Life as narrative". This is indeed a different approach to the concept of explanation that the strictest of analytic philosophers of science would accept . Powell and Paul J. Alford. editor. supraorganizational patterns of human activity by which individuals and organizations produce and reproduce their material subsistence and organize time and space . Indeed the very strength and utility of the latter is its valid "denarrativization" or abstraction of instances. Dissertation. 51. 49. Harvard University. Mitchell. "Introduction to the structural analysis of the narrative." trans. Sources of the Self. trans. White. MacIntyre. Somers. "Private stories in public discourse"." and Time and Narrative. Actual Minds. J. practices. Taylor.. The People and the Law: Narrative Identity and the Place of the Public Sphere in the Formation of English Working Class Politics 1300-1850. Structure and Meaning. systems of signs and symbols. or events from time and space into categories. "Storytime: Recollecting the past and projecting the future.. Paul Veyne. This is not to endorse the hermeneutic claim that the actor's intentions or selfunderstanding is a sufficient condition for a sociological understanding of action. The Content of the Form. On Narrative (Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Bell and Yalom. 57. "Secrets and narrative sequence. MacIntyre's discussion in After Virtue of narrative. Bruner. practices. Taylor. Stephen Crites. Richard Miller. and the self was the first and most significant influence on my historical conceptualization of narrative identity. "The life story approach". Occasional Paper. Possible Worlds." in Theodore R. "Morality. The People and the Law.D. 47." in Walter W. Narrative Knowing and the Human Sciences. Stephen Heath (New York: Hill and Wang. 1974 (1966)). [tlhey are also symbolic systems. See Margaret R. Sources of the Self. Conn. 46. Telling the American Story. a Comparative Analysis (Ph." Roger Freidland and Robert R. "Where is sociology after the historic turn?" Donald Polkinghorne. Narrative Knowing and the Human Sciences (Albany: SUNY Press. Frank Kermode. 1981). 53. identity. Samples of different approaches to ontological narratives can be found in Sarbin. "The human experience of time and narrative". T. Linde. For an especially useful empirical application. trans.643 Roland Barthes. The New Institutionalism in Organizational Analysis (Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 56. 1986). "Narrative time.: Wesleyan University Press.. ways of ordering reality. see Alexander. rational and transrational . Ricoeur. Also see Calhoun. published in Image-Music-Text. DiMaggio. 54. and thereby rendering experience of time and space meaningful. editors." Somers. Writing History: Essay of Epistemology. Bertaux and Kohli." in W. Narrative Psychology. and institutional contradictions. 51-5122. 55. See Somers.
see note 3. Individuality."Historyand Theory Press." tions:Formalstructure Environ(1977): 340-363.narrative". Sources of the Self." 66.change. Sarbin. 65.Alan Sheridan(New York: MichelFoucault. 1983). Paul DiMaggio." in ThomasC. AfterHenry(New 266-275.644 Sarbin. Alexander Nehamas. 3-22."Conceptsof solving." understanding tors. 83107. edi59. "Comof time and TheSyntaxof Social Life. Cf. and The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sci- ences(New York:Vintage. Feldman. Hermeneutics and Deconstruction (Albany: State University of New York and the real world. Powell in Walter editors. Nietzsche: Life as Literature (Cambridge: Harvard Universi- ty Press. Gergenand Gergen."Institutionalized AmericanJournalof Sociology83 as mythand ceremony. RichardScott. Organizational theoryis one areaof the social sciences thathas used the narrative and agencyin creativeways. Interpreting Women's Lives. 1986). Narrative Psychology.and SimB.MortonSosna. . 62.editors. John W. MacIntyre. Abell. Organizational ments:Ritualand Rationality (BeverlyHills.RichardHarvey Brown. JoanneMartin. Waterland (New York:Washington SquarePress."Lifeand the narrator's art. Linda Smircich. tence. Taylor.Reconstructing Individualism: Autonomy."Management culture and organizational analysis. Life-Span Development Psychology: Dialectical Perspectives in Experimental Research(New York: Academic Press. 16-29. 60. Calif. Meyer and BrianRowan. DiMaggio. H. and chance in in Nancy Datan and WayneW. 135-158. See especiallyAlexander. Zucker. Calif.MaryJo Hatch. Narrative Psychology: The Storied Nature of Human Conduct (New York:Praeger. F. 63. 152-173." form". John Ferccero. 108-121.1973 (1970)).KennethJ. After Virtue. Meyerand W. 64. "Stability. and W. Zucker. "Socialpsychology as history.:Sage. and "The social con40 (1985): AmericanPsychologist structionist movementin modernpsychology. Sources of the Self. trans. and the Self in Western Thought (Stan- ford. 1985). Heller." in Lynn G. 58. On narrativemethodologyin historicalsociology. The Post-Modern Condition: A Report on Knowledge (Minneapolis:University of Minnesota Press." Administrative Science Quarterly 28 (1983): in culturalpersis339-358. Jameson."Narrative York:Simon & Schuster.:StanfordUniversityPress. 1984). The Political Unconscious." ism in Organizational Analysis(Chicago:Universityof ChicagoPress. anti.An Archaeology of Knowledge."and "Fromcauses to events". neo.: Ballinger. cf. Mass.post. David Carr. Taylor.1992).and David E."in HughJ. GrahamSwift. Pantheon. Sim. 1991). Freeman. Silverman tors.MarthaS. "Stories managers tell: A new tool for organizationproblem Review64 (1975): 18-28.1986). "Conceptions parativenarratives. 61. edihumandevelopment. and Don Idhe. Lyotard. Ian Mitroffand R. editor."History. John W."Modern. "The role of institutionalization New InstitutionalThe Paul J. Personal Narratives Group. Institutional Patterns and Organization: Culture and Environment (Cambridge. 39."Interest concept in particularly institutional theory.Abbott. Gergen.Joan Didion." and events. Reese. 1985). Wellbery. 1983)."Autobiography and narrative."Theuniqueness paradox in organizational stories. 1972). editor. Lynn G. J."Journalof Personality and Social Psychology26 (1973): 309-320. 1977). 1988). "Positivism. Killman." Administrative Science Quarterly 38 organiza(1983): 438-453. and "Narrative 25 (1986): 117-131.
and Control(New York: Schocken. 67."Sociological theory and the claim to reason: Why the end is not in sight. As Alexander recentlyargued."and "Fromcauses to events". and Charles Tilly. See JeffreyC.g. event structure in historical Griffin.is that it steps out of the typically"either/or" tory narrativity. "truth" versus "relativism" and uses criteriafor validitythat are outside the ex- . UnthinkingSocial Science (Camand Control."AmericanHistorical Review 92/4 (1987): 908-920." 149) also remindsus "sciencediffers from other narrativesbecause it commits the success of its story to the criterionof truth. on the other. Isaac and LarryJ. and TheSyntaxof SocialLife. The latter gain meaning throughinternalintegrityalone. TheHistoricTurnin the Human Sciences (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. bridge:PolityPress. 1971)."Social Towarda Forces68/I (1989): 1-14. WilliamH."Narrative. that is. in time-seriesanalysesof hisLarryW. 149. John Shelton Reed. Sewell."AmericanSociologicalReview 54 (1989): 873-890."AmericanJournalof Sociology 98/5 (1993): 1094-1133.textuality. "Comparative narratives. analysis. Basil Bernstein.editor."Historical sociology and time.in Theoretical Social History (New York: Academic Press. Quadagnoand Knapp. "Whereis sociology after the historic turn?". BigStructures. "Whereis sociology after the historic turn?"Although they do not use Methodsin the term "narrative" explicitly. e."Threetemporalities: sociology of the event. Alexander.Abbott. The majorhistoricalsociologicalexceptionsoutsideof genderstudiesare Charles LargeProcesses. in "To explainpolitical processes. Of course.HugeComparisons Tilly."Centerfor Studiesof Social ChangeWorkingPaper #168 (New York:New School for Social Research. "ConcepAbell."in TerrenceJ.Identity 68. "Onnarrativeand sociology.theory is solely narrative. We are faced with an even greaterproblemin thinkingabout explanatorysocioIndeed in light of their statusas the epistemologicalother.Ron Aminzade.Rather than argue the nature of and case for explanatorynarrativitythat has been done elsewhere and at some length. both develop importantsequentialand temporally-sensitive historicalmethodologies. Even more important.and narrativein the logic of the historicalsciences. and White. Jill Quadagno and Stan J.it is also a code.." 20/4 (1992): 481-507.. afterall. Immanuel Wallerstein. this raises the questionof what counts as an explanation. 'Do we know whetherit is true?"The strengthof explanaversionof however. "Have historical sociologists forsaken theory?: SociologicalMethodsand Research Thoughtson the history/theoryrelationship.Jr. 1993). there are.For every scientificnarrativewe are compelled to ask. Knapp. 1991). competingpositionson the validitycapacityof different modes of justification. (New York:Russell Sage Foundation. LarryJ. Class. 1978). Somers. forthcoming). Codes."Ahistoricism torical processes. conlogical narrative."SociologicalMethodsand Research20/4 (1992): 456and 480.to arguethe case for explanatorynarrativity is not to arguethat there is no qualitative differencebetweenat least the normsof analyticnarrativity on the one hand.I simply argue that to say that sociologicalexplanationsentailanalyticnarrativity is not the same as arguing that social science. McDonald. Somers. they are only partiallysubjected to external truth criteria."Sociological Theory8/2 (1990): 188-197." tions of time and events.and causalinterpretation sociology."Havehistoricalsociologistsforsakentheory?".645 relativism."SociologicalTheory9/2 (1991): 147-153.Alexander ("Sociologicaltheory.and the postmodern turn in sociological theory. 1984). and "Rhetoric. as explanationswould seem to be preciselywhat we as social structingnarratives scientistsdo not want to do. and those of culturaland ontologicalnarrativity. Griffin. Arthur Stinchcombe.
69." in Kenneth Baynes. Marshall (New York: Doubleday. 1980). Sources of the Self. 73. and Class in Britain: Margaret McMillan. Past Tenses: Essays on Writing.: Rutgers University Press. editors." "the elderly. All of Steedman's writings could be seen as implicit elaborations on the theme of narrative identity. Somers. 1991). White. Breiger. Science as Social Knowledge (Princeton: Princeton University Press. . 65-123. dramatic narrative. D. White. Jeremy Seabrook. Childhood.J. Social Structures: A Network Approach (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. but it has misled many sociologists into studying the attributes of aggregated sets of individuals rather than the structural nature of social systems. narrative identity. from this perspective. and Charles Taylor.. Berkowitz." in Wellman and Berkowitz. "Narrativity. editor. 1987). Working Class Childhood (London: Gollancz. "Structural analysis: From method and metaphor to theory and substance. 1990). Cohen. 1990). Thus. "Social structure from multiple networks I: Blockmodels of roles and positions.g. After Philosophy: End or Transformation? (Cambridge: The MIT Press. 76. 15: ". Wellman. 1959). Marshall.. "Strategy or identity. Taylor. See Carolyn Steedman." 79. 1982). 74." in Gary Gutting. 18601931 (New Brunswick. for a similar argument about the use of "community" as a variable rather than an ideal type. White. 1988)..: Rutgers University Press. 19-61. Nietzsche. Calhoun. "The essential contestability of some social concepts. 75." in Wellman and Berkowitz.mainstream sociologists have tended to think in terms of categories of social actors who share similar characteristics: "women. Even an isolated "hermit" is a social actor and must thus be made intelligible through a relational and narrative approach." "emerging nations. Davis. 71. 1819-1908 (London and New York: Routledge." in Class.Autobiography and History (London: Rivers Oram Press." See also B. 1988). Who is Black? 77. The Uses of Literacy (Harmondsworth: Penguin. Landscape for a Good Woman. Alasdair Maclntyre." Ethics 1 (1973): 1-9. Paradigms and Revolutions (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press. "Citizenship and social class. and "Epistemological crises. Identity and Control. Nehamas. Ibid." 70. Identity and Control. Landscape for a Good Woman: A Story of Two Lives (New Brunswick.J. and Ronald L. 72. "Overcoming epistemology. 78. James Bohman. this kind of approach has its uses. Richard Hoggart. 464-488. Narrative explanatory analysis.646 tremes of "localism" versus foundational truth. 1992). and Thomas McCarthy.. See Helen Longino. Social Structures. Boorman. 174. and the philosophy of science. Carolyn Steedman." American Journal of Sociology 81/4 (1976): 730-780. H. guides us to construct and to believe in "the best possible account" at the same time that we know full well that (1) what counts as "best" is itself historical and (2) that these criteria will change and change again. and social action. Wellman and S. N.. it is not at all surprising that White has made stories and identity central aspects of his theory of social action. E.. 54-74. N. The Radical Soldier's Tale: John Pearman. Culture. T. Harrison C." Social History 5 (1980): 105-129. H. "Introduction: Studying social structures. Citizenship and Social Development: Essays by T." and so on . 1964 (1949)). "Community: Toward a variable conceptualization for comparative research. An excellent presentation of the structural approach is offered by B." "blue-collar workers. See Craig J. editors. Scott A.
Identity and Control. Spheres of Justice (New York: Basic Books. Cohen and Arato challenge this point effectively in Civil Society and Political Theory. Pizzorno. Important views of the value of theoretically disaggregating social reality can be found in Daniel Bell. 83. and Peter Bearman. Melucci. for applications in historical sociology.g. White." and "On the rationality of democratic choice". Reddy. 1991)." A History of Power from the Beginning to A. 90. Calhoun. "Social structure from multiple networks".647 80. 1976). "Social space and the genesis of groups. William M. Fantasia's study of varying cultures of solidarity is one of the best examples of the empirical power of the narrative identity approach over the interest-based one. see Nancy Fraser and Linda Gordon. "Mythical work: Workshop production and the Compagnonnages of eighteenth- . 81. 1988). For the most empirically-based sociological demonstration of the culturally-laden nature of the economy. 92. "The origins of social power". On the epistemological significance of networks and relational analysis over categories in understanding social structures see Tilly." Sociological Forum 3 (1987): 614-634.White. See also Pierre Bourdieu. N. "The disjuncture of realms. 1982). Big Structures. Boorman. After Virtue. 1986). 85. See e. and Michael Walzer. 1987). 86. 82.D. Pricing the Priceless Child: The Changing Social Value of Children (New York: Basic Books. "Political exchange and collective identity. The Historical Meanings of Work (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1871. see Marshall Sahlins. 3 of Theoretical Logic in Sociology (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press. Maclntyre. 91. 1983). participation and provision: A reconsideration of social citizenship. and White. 1992). Patrick Joyce. Vol. Gould. Vol. This is elaborated in Jeffrey C." Theory and Society 14 (1985): 723-744. and "Beyond the polemics of the market: Establishing a theoretical and empirical agenda. See also Patrick Joyce. Cultures of Solidarity (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press. Alexander." American Sociological Review 56/6 (1991): 716-728. Mann. 1993). "Contrast versus charity. 93." in The Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism (New York: Basic Books. 1760. editor. 1985). Relations into Rhetorics (New Brunswick. "The origins of social power.: Rutgers University Press. 89. see Tilly. in "The problem of identity. Nomads of the Present. 1976). 1987). Big Structures. On the concept of provisioning. see Viviana Zelizer. Tilly says "society is a thing apart" is the first of his famous "eight pernicious postulates". And for the importance of provisioning for gender analysis. See Rick Fantasia. 1 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Michael Sonenscher. The Classical Attempt at Theoretical Synthesis: Max Weber. 84. Visions of the People: Industrial England and the Question of Class. and Breiger. Ibid. Culture and Practical Reason (Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 1848-1941 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Identity and Control.J. Money and Liberty in Modern Europe: A Critique of Historical Understanding (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 87. 88." gives an example of how identity-politics moved Chinese students in Tienanmen Square to take risks with their lives that cannot be accounted for in rational or value terms. see Roger V. "Multiple networks and mobilization in the Paris Commune." unpublished paper (Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan. Michael Mann.
" in Patrick Joyce. Carol B. .TheAlchemyof Race and Rights. "Citizenship can be purelysymbolic no narrative 113. Cyborgs. Black Feminist Thought." Journal of Interdisciplinary History 6 (1976): 447- 476. editor. Cohen andArato. 111. TheHistorical (Camof Work Meanings centuryFrance. W." 112. 26. See Frank Parkin." Law Review101 (1987): Harvard Justiceengendered."Property. Somers. 1987). Violi. Ibid. Stack. Steedman. Early Modern Conceptions of Property Press.J." ibid. "Gender. Stack. 97. Weberianand anthropological 99. e. Marxism and Class Theory: A Bourgeois Critique (New York: Columbia University Press." 103. Williams. Ortnercalls this "rupturing the narwhereshe gives an exampleof how power relationshave ruptured Corner behavior."Themoral economy of the English crowd." American Sociological Review 58 (1993): 587-620. and the R. editor. Williams. Touraine. 216. 95. Lawrence. MacIntyre. Neil Smelser.175. MarthaMinow. trans. David Vincent. All Our Kin. 94.and M.g. Collins.1981).. and the public sphere in the formationof modern citizenship rights. law. KarlPolanyi. Marshall. 101. and Lawrence. Social Change in the Industrial Revolution (Chicago: University of ChicagoPress. andlanguage. 1986). 1974). Richard Nice (Cambridge: Harvard Uni- versityPress. ed. 109. See. mechanisation land."Women's European fertility patterns. 106. CivilSociety. Louise Tilly. for a sociological elaborationof this basic notion. TheLivelihoodof Man. Knowledge and Freedom: A Study of Nineteenth-Century Working Class Autobiography (London: Europa work and Publications.and thus "normal in history").. 1987). Harry W. American men (Ortner. 98. "Strategy of identity". This is a situationdescribedin detailin Margaret and politicalculturein the transition place of the publicsphere:Law. river. Williams." limit" on "fractured and Lemert."in Distinction: of groups". After Virtue. Bread." in John Brewer. "Narrativity identities. Critique of the Judgement of Taste."Thewordand the river. Thompson. The Historical Meanings of Work (Cambridge: Cambridge UniversityPress. Scott. The Alchemy of Race and Rights. 1959). Landscape for a Good Woman. 105.All OurKin (New York:Harperand Row. 1979).forthcoming)." bridge:Cambridge UniversityPress. "Social space and the genesis A Social and "Thehabitsand the space of life-styles. P. in her analysisof Eliot Liebow's Tally's of narrativity" 102. community. 107. 2286. or material. Cited in E. An Outline of a Theory of Practice."Theworld and the 2286. Pierre Bourdieu. Somers. 64-98. 100. subjectivity 104..648 in PatrickJoyce.or urbanAfricanfuture-oriented" rativeidentities. 114.See also Haraway. This is of course only an analyticdistinction. Simians." 110. and social class. Cohen. Maxine Berg."Past and Present 50 (1971): 77-136. Pearson(New York:AcademicPress. 108. to democracy. in Engand the early phases of industrialisation "Women's work."Citizenship 115. (Berkeley: Universityof California 96."Subjectivity's and Women. Cohen."Forward: 10.6."An introductionto the study of social movements". 1977).
."Property. Genderand the Politics of History. in HarrisonC.in "Imagined discusses categoriesand relationships communities."Socialcontrol in VictorianBritain. Moorhouse. "Politicsand economics in the formationof the Britishworkingclass:A response to H. Uniand the Limitsto Justice(Cambridge: 118. MichaelSandel. "Hidden meanings: Cultural content and context in Harrison White's structuralsociology." Social History3/3 (1978): 347-361. Steven Brint. 1982). 121.Calhoun. And see White'sresponseto this criticismof whatBrintsees as an overlyrelational approachto sociology. "Perceptionsof western films among American Indians and Anglos. Gilligan. Habitsof the Heart(Berkeley: Press.Liberalism Cambridge versityPress. Somers.and Benhabib. White.Situating theSelf. "A social grammarfor culture: Reply to StevenBrint. studyof nationalism 123. 1980 (1950)). JoEllen Shively." Economic History 117. E."Sociological Theory10/2 (1992): 194-207.g. law. 120. 1985)."AmericanSociologicalReview57 (1992): 725-734." SociologicalTheory10/2 (1992): 209-213. 178.In a DifferentVoice.Chodorow.TheReproduction of Mothering." to the by bringingWhite's "structural equivalence"and "indirectrelationships" and identity. Universityof California 119. 196. Thompson.. The CollectiveMemory(New York: Harper & Row. L. M. See Maurice Halbwachs." Review. Scott. See F.2nd Series 34/2 (1981): 189-208.649 116. See also Robert Bellah. F. and the publicsphere. for a sense of how pervasive the social controlthesiswas in social historyduringthe 1970s. and Alistair Reid. 122. The questionof the epistemological place of categoriesin the contextof an overall relationaland narrativeapproachis a majortheme of White'sIdentityand Control.
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