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|Title: ||The telling moment: Narrative as a discursive act.|
|Authors: ||Fitzpatrick, S.J.|
|Issue Date: ||2012|
|Publisher: ||Taylor & Francis|
|Citation: ||Fitzpatrick, S. J. (2012). The telling moment: Narrative as a discursive act. AJOB: Neuroscience, 3(4): 80-81.|
|Abstract: ||As a work of interdisciplinary dialogue, Mary Jean Walker (2012) successfully straddles the fields of
neuro- and cognitive science and social psychology in addressing key questions on the role, value
and truth claims of narrative as a mode of self-understanding. However, in the context of
neuroethical debate her article raises a set of parallel conceptual and epistemological concerns
which confuse and conflate what it is to tell stories. I suggest that Walker’s perspective is
philosophically limited in that she does not explicitly acknowledge narrative as a discursive activity.
In this, Walker is not alone – the neuro- and cognitive sciences frequently make assumptions about
what narrative is and what it is not. This is significant because a theory of narrative which is blind to
narrative as a discursive activity risks diminishing important social contexts involved in the
construction of human self-understanding and truth.
One of the most striking features of the disciplinary border-crossings which have resulted in
narrative gaining conceptual prominence in fields such as psychology and neuroscience is the degree
to which the term narrative is left undefined, or the degree to which it is conflated with prediscursive structures of action, experience or underlying neurobiological or cognitive substrate
capable of being read in the same way we read narrative texts (Bamberg, 2006). While Walker
acknowledges that narrative is interpretive, selective, relational and contextual, she subordinates
the very object of narration itself – social discourse – to the neuropsychological structures and
processes which underlie it.|
|Rights and Permissions: ||Author's post-print; 12 months embargo; credit line|
|Type of Work: ||Article|
|Type of Publication: ||Post-print|
|Appears in Collections:||Research Papers and Publications. Sydney Health Ethics|
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