Embodied Selfhood and Narrative: Phenomenological Investigations

Allan Køster

Publikation: Bog/antologi/afhandling/rapportPh.d.-afhandlingForskning


The dissertation, consisting of an introductory essay and four independent articles, provides phenomenological investigations into the relation between embodied selfhood and narrative. More precisely, it investigates this relation in regards to three specifying questions: (1) What is the relation between embodiment and narrative in terms of the constitution of selfhood? (2) What is the relation between embodiment and narrative in terms of self-understanding? (3) What is the relation between embodiment and narrative in terms of social understanding?
The Introductory essay starts out by outlining the specific context of discussion which frames the dissertation. Based on this, a basic motif sketching a distinction between the historicality of embodied selfhood and narrative is introduced. This is followed by a presentation of seven theses on the relation between embodied selfhood and narrative that specify the integrated perspective which guide the particular investigations carried out in the articles.
The first article: “Personal history and historical selfhood – the embodied and pre-reflective dimension” starts out by outlining the idea of a historicality of embodied selfhood, and argues for a rich historically and socio-culturally shaped pre-reflective and pre-narrative experiential dimension of embodied existence.
The second article: “Narrative and embodiment – a scalar approach” endeavours to determine the relation between this pre-reflective dimension of embodied selfhood and narrative, arguing that we need to move away from binary understandings of narrative and rather speak of narrativity as an attribute that can be more or less present in a phenomenon. Hence, the article provides a scalar account of the relative narrativity of embodied experience.
In the third article: “Narrative self-appropriation: Embodiment, alienness, and personal responsibility in the context of Borderline Personality Disorder”, this scalar framework is applied to the particular question of self-understanding or, as it is termed in the article, self-appropriation. More precisely: using Borderline Personality Disorder as its case, it argues for the relevance of attributing the quality of narrativity to embodied affects and responses that otherwise appear as alien in one’s self-experience.
The fourth and final article: “Mentalization, embodiment and narrative - critical comments on the social ontology of mentalization theory” addresses the relation between embodiment and narrative as it manifests in processes of social understanding. Specifically, it takes up this question in a discussion with mentalization theory and argues that while most of our basic understanding of others may play out on an expressive level of interaction, narrative takes over when this mode of understanding is inadequate or needs to be extended. Furthermore, the concept of “disnarration” is introduced as a mode of understanding the perils of narrative understanding as they particularly manifest in psychopathology.
ForlagDanish School of Education, Aarhus University
Antal sider139
ISBN (Trykt)9788776846541
StatusUdgivet - 2017
Udgivet eksterntJa