You are on page 1of 13

Journal of Analytical Psychology, 2006, 51, 574–586

A narratological methodology for

identifying archetypal story patterns
in autobiographical narratives

Christian Roesler, Freiburg, Germany

Abstract: Based on Jung’s definition of archetype the concept ‘archetypal story pattern’ is
developed as well as a research method drawing on narrative analysis and biographical
research to identify these archetypal story patterns in life stories. Jung pointed out that
personal myths, archetypal patterns found, e.g., in mythology, can govern the life course
of individuals unconsciously. In the Theory of Narrative Identity comparable concepts
have been mentioned but were never fully developed. In my research I try to combine
Jung’s concept of the archetype with the elaborated methodology of narrative analysis.
Archetypes can manifest as narratives and the identity construction of a person via
narrating the life story can be influenced or even totally structured by archetypal stories
which give a specific form as well as a specific meaning to the person’s identity.
The method of extracting an underlying archetypal pattern from an autobiographical
narrative is demonstrated. The results of the research on 20 autobiographical interviews
and the inherent archetypal patterns are summarized. The major aim of this paper is to
describe in detail the application of a well established method of the social sciences on
a key concept of Jungian psychology to show that these concepts can be integrated into
recent research frameworks of academic sciences. On the other hand it shows that Jungian
concepts can be investigated through established and well defined research methods in
empirical research settings.

Key words: archetype, archetypal story pattern, biographical method, chronic disease,
life story, narrative analysis, theory of narrative identity

For a number of years now the narrative approach has had a major impact
on the humanities and the social sciences (Chamberlayne 2000) and has also
found its way into analytical psychology, as the following quote from an article
on narrative and interpretation by Covington in the Journal of Analytical
Psychology illustrates:
The narrative form gives meaning and coherence to our experience: we rely on it for
our day-to-day discourse to shape and indeed to construct our identities. Much of our

[This paper was originally given at a workshop at the Journal of Analytical Psychology’s 50th
Anniversary Conference, St Anne’s College, Oxford, April 2005.]

C 2006, The Society of Analytical Psychology
Published by Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 9600 Garsington Road, Oxford OX4 2DQ, UK and 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148, USA.
Methodology for identifying archetypal story patterns 575

work of analysis is to do with seeking, constructing, and deconstructing the individual’s

life story, by means of the tools of transference and countertransference.

(Covington 1995, p. 407)

This quote summarizes perfectly what is called the Theory of Narrative Identity
(Gergen & Gergen 1987; Kerby 1991; Polkinghorne 1996). Identity is the
construct which provides the person with a sense of continuity of being over
time, which creates a sense of coherence so that the divergent experiences form
an interconnected whole, and which gives meaning to one’s experiences and to
life as a whole. All these aspects of identity: continuity, coherence and meaning,
are created by putting one’s experiences in life into a life story, a narrative. So
we can argue that identity necessarily has narrative form. This is also the reason
why in analysis we let our clients tell us their life stories, because through these
narratives we learn about the personality and the identity of the client.
Covington continues by saying: ‘Biography has to do with imposing patterns
in order to establish meaning’ (ibid., p. 406). This is certainly a very important
aspect of the narrative approach in the social sciences: the events we experience
in our lives do not have meaning in and of themselves, but they acquire meaning
in acts of interpretation by the experiencing mind (Josselson & Lieblich 1995).
Also experiences do not automatically become coherent, but coherence and
continuity are constructions of the individual (Linde 1993). This happens by
imposing patterns on the primary material of experience. Now the question of
biography research and in this case also the question of psychoanalysis is: which
pattern is imposed by a particular individual, which pattern governs his or her
life course, and where are these patterns taken from?
Jung himself pointed out that personal myths, which are archetypal patterns
found for example in mythology and fairy tales, could govern the life course
of individuals, in most cases unconsciously. A major aim of analysis is to bring
these unconscious myths to consciousness. The example of myths and fairy tales
shows clearly that archetypes can manifest in a sequential, discursive form, i.e.,
as narratives. Autobiographical narratives can be influenced or even totally
structured by such archetypal stories which give a specific shape as well as a
specific meaning to the identity of the person.
This idea can also be found in the literature on narrative and biography
analysis, even though the patterns are not called archetypal in these cases
(McAdams 1993). Most interestingly this viewpoint is expressed in narratology
without any reference to Jung and the concept of archetypes. But many authors
point out clearly that individuals narrating their life story often use typified
story patterns that resemble the well-known narratives of their culture. The
psychologist Jerome Bruner (1995) for example points out that many storytellers
use the classical forms of comedy and tragedy or the hero story pattern for
shaping their personal stories. Lieblich (1998) shows that from the 1960s on
576 Christian Roesler

storytellers more and more make use of a pattern she calls the self-realization
narrative for shaping their biographies, a narrative pattern which has developed
through the influence mainly of psychological and psychotherapeutic theories
on the cultural mainstream.

Archetypal story patterns

In the academic context of a research project 1 my idea was to use the method
of narrative and biography analysis (Lieblich et al 1998; Josselson & Lieblich
1995; Riessmann 1993) to look for such archetypal patterns in autobiographical
stories. Therefore I defined the term archetypal story pattern and developed a
research method for identifying these patterns in autobiographical texts. To
identify an archetypal story pattern the following criteria must be fulfilled:
1. The structure of the narrative is in accordance with a typical pattern which
is in general use in our culture and
2. for this typical pattern a prototypical example can be found (e.g., the
prototypical example for a story of religious conversion in the Christian
hemisphere would be the story of the conversion of Saul to Paul in the
New Testament). For resolving this step it is necessary to reduce the actual
narrative to its structural elements through narrative analysis, which is
demonstrated below in a case example.
3. The typical story pattern gives an additional meaning to the story which is
not necessarily proposed by the facts. In general, one can say that there is
always a variety of possible stories that can be told about a certain experience
and the storyteller always has to make a choice of one of these story formats
when he creates his narrative. So in narrative analysis the special character
and meaning of the chosen story format can be understood by reconstructing
the possible alternative forms in which the story could have been told.
To find my interviewees, I followed Jung’s idea about archetypal influences
on the personal psyche being strongest when the person is in a state of crisis,
as for example in psychosis. So persons were chosen for the autobiographical
interviews who suffered from a chronic disease or a physical disability and
who had to cope with this major impact on their lives. It was presumed that

1 The project was part of a greater interdisciplinary research context (Sonderforschungsbereich 541)

financed by the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) at the University

of Freiburg, Germany. The general topic was the constitution of individual and collective identities
by making use of ‘alterity’, the differentiation from others. In the project 20 individuals suffering
from chronic diseases and/or disabilities (because of the presumed topicalization of identity in
this situation of ‘alterity’) were interviewed using the life story interview technique. Based on the
interview protocols, the narrative identity constructions were extracted and a typology was built,
using the grounded theory approach. The results of the whole project are published in German:
Methodology for identifying archetypal story patterns 577

these persons were at least for some time in their lives in a state of personal
crisis and were therefore more open to archetypal structures which would then
show in their life stories. The interviewees were asked to tell their life story
from the beginning. The story was taped and transcribed from the tapes for
detailed analysis (for the technique of research interviews in narrative research
see Mishler 1986).

Two case examples

The methodology will now be demonstrated with two case examples.
The following transcript is taken from an autobiographical interview with a
person called Herr Bittner. Herr Bittner has been severely physically disabled
from birth by spastic cerebral palsy. He has always been totally dependent on
external help. In his life story he describes himself as a political person. He was
an active member of the political movement of disabled persons fighting for an
independent life and for equal rights. Actually he was the first disabled person
in Germany who could live outside of any institution through help from young
people doing their civil service. In his narrative self-presentation, he lives a life
exemplary for all disabled people, always before the eyes of the public. His life
is a political fight for equal rights for all disabled people, and the changes in his
own life, his growing autonomy and self-respect, mirror the changing attitude
in society towards disabled people and their rights.
In his introduction to the actual narrative he argues that physically disabled
persons are often mistaken by the public as being also mentally retarded and are
discriminated against just because they have physical problems with speaking,
with precise pronunciation, or just because they look strange. He now wants
to take on the task of showing and proving to the public, again in a way that
will be exemplary for all disabled people, that they are at least as intelligent as
normal people, and his only possibility of doing so is by showing that he can
speak clearly and precisely. With the actual narrative he gives an example of that:
(The original interview was in German and is translated here. The transcription
makes use of a simple notation which is generally used for oral narratives in
discourse analysis.)
Herr Bittner:
. . . and still today I love to surprise experts. I want to give an example; years ago I
have been to a university clinic and then the professor and his whole staff came to my
bed and he says, ‘Now how do you feel, how do we feel today?’, that is, in we-form.
And then I said, ‘Professor, I cannot judge how you feel today I just know how I feel’.
Tcha. Then I said, ‘You actually asked me how we feel’ (laughs) and one hour later
an assistant doctor came in and she said ‘Are you mad, we just could not laugh in his
presence, and he went out into the hallway and said what did the guy really mean to
say?’ (laughs).

Unfortunately the transcript cannot show how strongly his speech is distorted
by his spasticity and how he still tries very hard to speak clearly and exactly.
578 Christian Roesler

In the orientation part of the narrative, where the place and the acting
figures of the happenings are introduced, the story-teller uses the expressions
‘university clinic’ and ‘professor’, which makes clear that the story takes place
in surroundings of a high intellectual level. The story constructs a narrative
opposition of characters: on one side there is the patient, lying helplessly in his
bed, the object of medical interest; on the other side there is the professor with
his whole staff, an overpowering majority of professionals, and the professor
as the main antagonist through his rank possesses something like the official
proof of a high intelligence. So the narrative opposition is characterized by a
strong difference in power. The superiority of the professor is further manifested
in his way of communicating to the patient: by saying ‘How are we today’. He
includes the powerless one kindly into his superior position and by doing this he
stresses his superiority at the same time. This is followed by a narrative turning
point in which the protagonist Herr Bittner topples the superior position of the
professor with a discursive trick. He takes him at his word and, pretending to be
just polite, he differentiates between himself and the professor, whose well-being
he cannot judge. He shows himself as verbally more precise than his opponent.
The story continues with the visit of the assistant doctor. What she says serves as
proof of the fact that the professor did not understand the trick that was played
on him. But the staff did, so they wanted to laugh but could not. The result is
a victory of the seemingly powerless and inferior cripple over the professor, in
the field of speech and intelligence, where one would suppose the professor was
absolutely superior.
This narrative sequence can be reduced to its core structure: in the beginning
there is a strong difference in power between an inferior one and a superior, who
are opposing each other. This superiority is surprisingly turned upside down by
the inferior one through an act of cleverness, by which he gains a victory over
the other. This victory is confirmed by the observing audience.
Searching for a prototypical story in the cultural canon we find the story of
David and Goliath in the Old Testament, which is formed by the same structure.
In this ancient story a giant and a small boy are opposing each other, and the
superiority of the giant is overwhelming. But the boy hits the giant with a stone
from his sling, a move of cleverness, and unexpectedly wins the fight and defeats
the giant. In this story both actors fight not just for themselves but also for their
peoples, the Israelites and the Philistines.
Now what does the storyteller gain for his narrative by using this archetypal
story pattern? As it was said before, there are always several possibilities to tell
the same story, that is, to put a sequence of happenings into narrative form.
The choice of this archetypal story pattern gives a certain meaning to the story.
Several aspects can be pointed out:
1. By using the David-and-Goliath-pattern the story becomes an especially
strong proof of the teller’s intelligence, because it shows that he defeated
even an intellectual giant, and that he did so by using his cleverness. The
Methodology for identifying archetypal story patterns 579

unexpected turning point of the story pattern strengthens Herr Bittner’s

argument that the discrimination of disabled people is not justified.
2. The story pattern contains a moral judgement of the acting parties. The
seemingly inferior person stands for a good deed, for the victory of the weak
and suppressed over the power of the stronger ones. The listener of the story
automatically identifies with the cause of the inferiors. So by giving himself
the role of a David the story–teller justifies his cause, the fight against social
discrimination of disabled people, as a good thing.
3. By using the story pattern the experience of the storyteller does not remain
a totally personal thing, but becomes a collective topic. Like David, who
took the risk and fought for his people, Herr Bittner lives a life of political
fight for his group of disabled people. This is an important element of his
narrative self-construction and the David-and-Goliath-archetype therefore is
extremely useful in his autobiographical narrative.
This shows how an archetypal story pattern can be identified in a narrative
episode. As was said before, a person’s whole biography, their narrative identity
construction, can be governed by archetypal patterns. In the case of Herr Bittner,
this narrative super-pattern that governs his life story is the archetypal story of
the hero. This pattern can be found in several of the autobiographical interviews.
These biographies are similar in combining certain structural elements which
form the hero story pattern:

- The central topic of the life story is the fight against a negative opponent or
enemy. The opponent can be the impairment or illness, or the discriminating
society (as in the case of Herr Bittner) or other things. In all cases the opponent
has a negative characterization.
- In his fight against the negative opponent the storyteller is alone, exposed to
his fate in the world. On the other hand, during the story there are always
helpful figures appearing, who often become important for the life of the
- The protagonist, the hero, carries a message or has to perform a deed which
is of importance for the collective. So in the end he fights not for himself
alone but for the whole of society or for his group or his people (like Herr
Bittner who fights for equal rights for all disabled people).
- This deed or message, which the hero carries out, is a good thing, opposed
to the bad thing which the opponent stands for.
- The narrative identity of the storytellers is presented as gained through their
own effort, a product of personal strength and endurance. So the hindrances
and the crises, which the protagonist has to fight with, become meaningful
in the life story, helping to bring out the best in the person and forming the
life and personality of the hero.
- To gain autonomy in the course of life is the most important thing for these
580 Christian Roesler

So the course of the story starts from a situation of being opposed by a negative
opponent, who in the beginning seems to be overwhelming. Nevertheless the
hero takes up his deed of fighting this negative opponent, in the beginning all
alone, but in the course of time there is support from helpful figures, and in the
end the hero succeeds in overcoming the negative element. In some cases this
story of succeeding over the enemy is told even against the apparent facts: for
example, one storyteller presents herself as being happy to have found a way
to heal her Multiple Sclerosis when the fact is that medically there is no chance
to heal it and in the interview it is apparent that her life is severely impaired
by her illness: she has to use a wheelchair, she cannot work in her profession
any more, she lives on public support, her sight is in danger. Now in this case
one could argue that there is too strong a difference between the reality of the
person’s life and the way she imagines it, and of course it would be a necessary
part of psychotherapy with this person to investigate such a gap. Nevertheless,
in this case the narrative self-presentation was not really delusional. The person
made use of a mythical pattern to give meaning to her life in the face of all
difficulties. This is of course different from the use we would make of such a
myth in analytical psychotherapy where the aim is to move towards a greater
wholeness that would also include the wounded parts of the personality. As
Jung already noted, archetypal forces are not always in the service of achieving
wholeness, they can also move the person to extreme identifications. I present
this example here to show the enormous power of archetypal story patterns to
give shape and meaning to a life story. The evaluation of a life in a life story
depends much more on the chosen story pattern than on the brute facts.
The narrative pattern of structural elements which here was called the hero
story has been described many times before, among others by Jung (1912/1954)
in Symbols of Transformation. The narratologist Theodore Sarbin (1986) has
identified this story pattern in many modern literature and film productions
and calls it the American Monomyth. Apparently the myth of the hero as a
narrative organizer is still of great importance for our culture and is used by
many individuals for constructing their identity and for giving meaning to their
Another case is now presented in which the storyteller gives his life a meaning
taken from an archetypal story. The storyteller, called Herr Koller, has been
suffering from diabetes since 1960. After being medically under control for
about 20 years the diabetes became really problematic after severe states of
hyper- and hypoglycaemia. The problem was that at that time there was no
instrument with which he could test his blood sugar level himself. But in 1985,
while in hospital, Herr Koller was given a new technical device with which
he could, from then on, measure his blood sugar at any time and could inject
himself with insulin accordingly. This change is strongly marked in his narrative
as a biographical turning point by a change in rhythm, speed and atmosphere.
In his own interpretation the turning point assumes a meaning that exceeds the
medical facts by far: the technical control of the disease assumes the meaning of
Methodology for identifying archetypal story patterns 581

totally overcoming the disease itself and in this way he becomes unharmed and
complete again. In his narrative, the storyteller appears to be fascinated by the
progress of medicine and its future technical developments. He describes a device
in the planning stage that he calls ‘the Ulm watch’ (the city of Ulm in Germany
is where this device is being developed) which looks like a watch and combines
the automatic measuring of the blood sugar level with an according automatic
insulin injection. According to Herr Koller this device is still in development
but, when finished, it would serve as a complete substitute for the sick organ.
The part of the body which does not work any more would be replaced by an
artificial man-made organ and complete health would be restored. So in his life
technology will have won over the disease and he will be completely restored
and be able to live without any restriction.
This story pattern is taken from the great myth of the unstoppable progress
of human science and technology. It is the vision that by developing their
knowledge and skills further and further mankind will in the future overcome all
the diseases and restrictions that are set up by a mortal body and become master
of life and death. This phantasy is apparently widespread since the beginning
of enlightenment and industrialization, but it is actually much older and can
therefore be called archetypal. We find it for example in the antique myths of
Daedalus and Icarus and of Pygmalion and also in the kabbalistic story of the
Golem. In modern times this archetypal phantasy appears in the form of science
fiction. The aspect of this myth which is most prominent in Herr Koller’s story
is the replacement of a part of the living body by a technical organ, which
results in a being called a Cyborg in science fiction, a hybrid being partly
technical and partly biological. From an archetypal aspect it is important to
note here that in the modern versions of the myth an important part is missing:
in the ancient myths the masters are punished by the gods for stepping over
the threshold between the sphere of humans and that of gods. So in a sense
the ancient versions are more holistic in that they show the limits of human
power. In the modern versions this boundary is lost and this is especially what
characterizes the phantasies of technological mastery since the enlightenment:
the phantasy of a boundless progress of the human spirit. This is the aspect
which is so fascinating for Herr Koller.
It is very easy to understand that this archetypal phantasy is extremely
attractive for a person with a chronic disease. Applying this story pattern to
his own life narrative makes Herr Koller a part of a movement of all mankind
towards the solution of all problems caused by the body. His life, once restricted
by disease, now becomes part of the triumph of human skills over unruly nature.
Out of the total of 20 interviews of the research project a typology of
archetypal story patterns was extracted which shape the life stories and the
identities of the storytellers in the sense of personal myths. These include—
besides the hero story pattern and the vision of technical mastery—the
archetypal stories of religious conversion, miraculous healing, the victim, the
tragic life, discrimination/persecution, and the modern ‘myth’ of self-realization
582 Christian Roesler

via psychotherapy. All of these archetypal story patterns can be described

by typical elements in the same manner as was demonstrated with the hero

Clinical implications
Now what is the clinical value of the insight that individuals use archetypal
story patterns for their identity construction and for giving meaning to their
This research can serve as evidence for Jung’s theses that archetypal patterns
that have accompanied mankind for thousands of years still govern the lives
of individuals today in the form of personal myths, and that most often
this happens unconsciously. This research demonstrates that it is possible to
investigate Jung’s theory with modern and established scientific methods and
that one can find empirical evidence for the concept of archetypes. Analytical
psychology has stayed apart from academic research and from a scientific
investigation of its concepts for too long. This is often connected with an
unspoken devaluation of academic methods which has lead to a kind of isolation
of analytical psychology in the field of humanities and social sciences. In my
opinion this self-imposed isolation is no longer justified. Today there are research
strategies and methods that allow us to examine our concepts and theories
while doing justice to the character of analytical psychology. I would claim that
narrative analysis is one of them.
As Jung always pointed out, the major problem of modern culture is the
loss of meaning, and he claimed that the common problem of those that came
to him for help was an overall feeling of meaninglessness and emptiness. A
major conclusion of this investigation is that the use of archetypal patterns for
organizing their life stories gives a strong sense of meaning to the lives of the
interviewees. It helps them to see their lives as directed by a meaningful motif
which they share with many others and which they find among the timeless
narratives of their culture. It serves as a frame which creates coherence in all
the divergent experiences in their lives. It can even serve to include the negative
experiences of loss, impairment, suffering, decline and so on and make these
part of their story. This becomes important when seen from the perspective of
Antonovsky’s (1987) concept of ‘salutogenesis’, the promotion of health and
well-being. Antonovsky shows that a major aspect of health is the ability of
the person to create a sense of coherence, especially concerning the painful and
damaging aspects of his or her life. The term coherence has some parallels with
Jung’s idea of wholeness, though wholeness in Jung is much more complex,
even paradoxical. I prefer to refer to the term coherence here because it is more
limited and it also parallels the narratological term of narrative coherence. The
point here is to demonstrate the power that archetypal story patterns especially
carry with them to create this coherence, in the narrative as well as in the identity
of the storytellers.
Methodology for identifying archetypal story patterns 583

So the aim of psychotherapy would not be primarily to dissolve personal

myths into a ‘nothing but . . .’. Of course, as I mentioned earlier, it would
be important to investigate together with the client if there eventually is too
great a difference between the personal narrative and the facts of one’s life.
But the point must be stressed that the kind of story we tell about our life
can make a big difference to how we experience this life. The lives of most
psychotherapy clients have been oppressed by the stories that were given to
them, by their parents, for example, or which they constructed for themselves
to survive difficult conditions. The healing force of psychotherapy is contained
in trying to create a new story about the life of the client which includes the
lost parts of the personality and which pays respect to the life of the soul. To
create coherence in the life story might not be the same as becoming whole, but
as I understand Jung, this is never really achieved in this life. In the narrative
perspective coherence means to find a frame that connects all the experiences
and events in one’s life to form a meaningful whole. So we could perhaps
say that finding a narrative frame which can create coherence of the narrative
identity construction is a move towards wholeness. This new story created in
psychotherapy should be one that fits with the inner truth of the client. What
analysts need to develop is a kind of feeling for stories, an understanding of the
meaning that is carried by a certain story type, and its power to create a sense
of meaning and coherence in a life.
As was said before, we always have a choice of a variety of possible story
patterns when we construct our life narrative. The aim of analysis here is, as
it has always been, to bring this choice to consciousness. But it is even more.
Theodore Sarbin (1997) has created the expression ‘poetics of identity’. The
construction of identity actually is a poetic process. Analysts can help their
clients by showing them that for their particular experience of life and also for
their suffering there are archetypal stories that can give meaning and a sense of
coherence to all of their experiences. These stories enable them to move towards
wholeness in the midst of their experience and their suffering, by including them
into their life narrative. Their experience is mirrored in these archetypal stories
that have been part of humanity for a long time.


S’appuyant sur la définition de Jung de l’archétype l’auteur développe le concept de

‘schéma archétypal de l’histoire’ ainsi qu’une méthode de recherche qui prend aussi appui
sur la recherche biographique et l’analyse de la narration pour identifier ces schémas
archétypaux de l’histoire dans les histoires de vie. Jung a pointé que dans les mythes
personnels, les schémas archétypaux comme on les trouve dans la mythologie, peuvent
diriger le déroulement de la vie des individus de manière inconsciente. On trouve dans la
théorie des narrations personnelles des concepts comparables mais ceux-ci n’ont jamais
été développés totalement. Dans ma recherche j’essaie de combiner le concept d’archétype
584 Christian Roesler

de Jung et la méthodologie élaborée de l’analyse de la narration. Les archétypes peuvent

se manifester sous forme de narration, et la construction d’identité d’une personne par la
narration de l’histoire de sa vie peut être influencée ou même totalement structurée par
les histoires archétypales qui donnent une forme spécifique ainsi qu’un sens spécifique à
l’identité de la personne.
Une démonstration est faite de la méthode d’extraction de la narration
autobiographique du schéma archétypal sous jacent. Un résumé des résultats
d’une recherche sur 20 interviews autobiographiques et les schémas archétypaux
dégagés est donné. Le but principal de cet article est de décrire en détails
l’application d’une méthode bien structurée des sciences sociales sur un concept
clé de la psychologie jungienne pour montrer que ces concepts peuvent être
intégrés dans les cadres récents de recherche des sciences académiques. Cela
montre aussi que les concepts jungiens peuvent être explorés avec des méthodes
de recherche bien définies et établies et des mises en place propre à la recherche

Basierend auf Jungs Begriff des Archetyps wird das Konzept “archetypisches Geschicht-
enmuster” entwickelt und eine narrationsanalytische Forschungsmethode vorgestellt, mit
der solche archetypischen Geschichtenmuster in Lebensgeschichten bestimmt werden
können. Jung hat aufgezeigt, daß archetypische Muster, wie wir sie in der Mythologie
finden, in der Form persönlicher Mythen die Lebensgestaltung von Menschen bestimmen
können. In der sog. Theorie der Narrativen Identität werden ähnliche Konzepte erwähnt,
wurden aber bislang nicht weiterentwickelt. In dem Artikel wird eine wissenschaftliche
Untersuchung vorgestellt, in der versucht wurde, Jungs Archetypenkonzept mit der
ausdifferenzierten Methodologie der Narrationsanalyse zu verknüpfen. Es wurde dabei
davon ausgegangen, daß sich Archetypen auch in narrrativer Form manifestieren können
und die Identität einer Person, wie sie sich in der erzählten Lebensgeschichte zeigt, prägen
können, indem sie der Lebensgeschichte eine spezifische Gestalt und Bedeutung geben.
Die Methodik, wie aus einer autobiographischen Erzählung ein zugrun-
deliegendes archetypisches Geschichtenmuster freigelegt wird, wird an einem
Fallbeispiel vorgestellt. Die Ergebnisse der Untersuchung mit 20 autobiographis-
chen Erzählinterviews und die Typologie der aufgefundenen archetypischen
Geschichtenmuster werden zusammengefaßt. Ziel des Artikels ist vor allem
darzustellen, daß eine in den Sozialwissenschaften etablierte Forschungsmeth-
ode sich fruchtbar auf eine Schlüsselkonzept der Jungschen Psychologie anwen-
den läßt und diese sich somit mit aktuellen Forschungsstrategien verknüpfen
läßt. Jungsche Konzepte lassen sich auf diese Weise mit etablierten und
ausdifferenzierten Forschungsmethoden empirisch untersuchen.

Una metodologia della narrazione per identificare i modelli storici archetipici nei racconti
autobiografici. Basato sulla definizione di Jung di archetipo il concetto di ‘ modello
storico archetipico’ viene sviluppato come un metodo che attinge all’analisi narrativa
e alla ricerca biografica per identificare tali modelli storici archetipici nelle storie di
vita. Jung mese in evidenza il fatto che i miti personali, i modelli archetipici individuati
Methodology for identifying archetypal story patterns 585

ad esempio nella mitologia possono influenzare inconsciamente il corso della vita degli
individui.. Nella Teoria dell’Identità Narrativa cocetti simili sono stati già menzionati,
ma mai pienamente sviluppati. Nella mia ricerca cerco di mettere insieme il concetto
junghiano di archetipo con l’elaborata metodologia dell’analisi della narrazione. Gli
archetipi possono manifestarsi come narrazione e la costruzione dell’identità di una
persona attraverso la narrazione della storia della vita può essere influenzata o persino
totalmente strutturata da storie archetipiche che danno una forma specifica, come anche
uun significato specifico all’identità della persona.
Viene poi dimostrato il metodo attraverso il quale si estrae da una narrazione
autobiografica un sottostante modello archetipico. Vengono sintetizzati i risul-
tati di una ricerca su 20 interviste autobiografiche e i modelli archetipici ad
esse sottostanti. Lo scopo principale di questo lavoro è quello di descrivere
dettagliatamente l’applicazione di un metodo ben affermato delle scienze sociali
su un concetto chiave della psicologia junghiana per mostrare come tali
concetti possono essere integrati negli schemi di recenti ricerche delle scienze
accademiche. Da un altro lato esso mostra che i concetti junghiani possono
essere investigati attraverso affermati e ben definiti metodi nel setting delle
ricerche empiriche.

Basado en la definición de arquetipo de Jung se desarrolla el concepto de ‘patron del

cuento arquetipal’ ası́ como un método de investigación descrito sobre la narrativa
y exploración para identificar estos patrones arquetı́picos en las historias de la vida.
Ya apuntaba Jung que los patrones arquetipales de los mitos arquetı́picos presentes
por ejemplo en mitologı́a, pueden gobernar inconscientemente el curso de la vida de
los individuos. En la Teorı́a de la Narrativa de la Identidades mencionan conceptos
comparables los cuales no fueron totalmente desarrollados. En mi pesquisa trtaré de
combinar el concepto de Jung de arquetipo con la elaborad metodologı́a del análisis
narrativo. Los arquetipos pueden manifestarse como narrativas y la construcción de la
identidad de i=una persona por medio de la narración del cuento personal la cual puede
ser influida o totalmente estructurada por los cuentos arquetipales. ellos dan una forma
especı́fica ası́ como un significado particular a la identidad personal.
Sedemuestra el método para extraer el patrón arquetı́pico subyacente en
la narrativa autobiográfica. Se resumen los resultados de la investigación
de 20 entrevistas autobiográficas y los patrones arquetipales inherentes. El
objetivo primordial de este trabajo es describir en detalle la aplicación de un
método cuidadosamente establecido en las ciencias sociales sobre un concepto
fundamental de la psicologı́a Junguiana para demostrar que estos conceptos
pueden ser integrados dentro del marco de la investigación de la ciencia
académica actual. En la otra mano se demuestra que los conceptos junguianos
pueden ser estudiados a través de métodos de investigación bien definidos en
los encuadres de la investigación empı́rica.
586 Christian Roesler

Antonovsky, A. (1987). Unravelling the Mystery of Health. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Bruner, J. (1995). ‘The narrative construction of reality’. Critical Inquiry, 18, 1–21.
Chamberlayne, P. (ed.) (2000). The Turn To Biographical Methods In Social Science:
Comparative Issues And Examples. London: Sage.
Covington, C. (1995). ‘No story, no analysis? The role of narrative in interpretation’.
Journal of Analytical Psychology, 40, 405–17.
Gergen, M. M. (1996). ‘The social construction of personal histories’. In Constructing
the Social, eds. T. Sarbin & J. Kitsuse. London: Sage.
Gergen, K. J. & Gergen, M. M. (1987). ‘The self in temporal perspective’. In Life-span
Perspectives and Social Psychology, ed. R.P. Abeles. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
Josselson, R. & Lieblich, A. (eds.) (1995). Interpreting Experience. The Narrative Study
of Lives, Vol. 3. London: Sage.
Jung, C. G. (1912/1954). Symbols of Transformation. CW 5.
Kerby, A. P. (1991). Narrative and the Self . Bloomington, Indianapolis: Indiana
University Press.
Lieblich, A., Tuval-Mashiach, R., Zilber, T. (1998). Narrative Research. Reading,
Analysis and Interpretation. London: Sage.
Linde, C. (1993). Life Stories. The Creation of Coherence. Oxford: Oxford University
McAdams, D. P. (1993). Personal Myths and the Making of the Self . New York: Morrow.
Mishler, E. G. (1986). Research Interviewing. Context and Narrative. Cambridge, Mass:
Harvard University Press.
Polkinghorne, D. E. (1996). ‘Explorations of narrative identity’. Psychological Inquiry,
7, 363–67.
Riessman, C. K. (1993). Narrative Analysis. Newbury Park: Sage.
Sarbin, T. (ed.) (1986). Narrative Psychology. New York: Praeger.
—— (1997). ‘The poetics of identity’. Theory & Psychology, 7, 67–82.