Self-making and world making
Bruner J. (1991) Self-making and world making. Journal of Aesthetic Education 25(1): 67–78. Available at http://cepa.info/4040
I want to speak with the voice of one who takes seriously Wittgenstein’s statement that the function of the philosopher is to help the fly out of the bottle. I am the fly. The philosopher who has helped me most whenever I found myself trapped in the Wittgensteinian bottle is Nelson Goodman. I propose to set forth some conjectures and hypotheses that need particularly to be elucidated by a strong philosophical mind. They all have to do with a subject that is deceptively simple: how people give account of themselves or, in its broader form, what they do when they set forth an “autobiography.”
In autobiography, we set forth a view of what we call our Self and its doings, reflections, thoughts, and place in the world. Now, just what the referent is in such discourse is an extremely difficult matter to specify. And it is to some of these difficulties that I want to address my attention. I should say, by the way, that my reflections are not all hypothetical. I have what in modern jargon is called a database. We have been involved, a group of us in New York, in gathering spontaneous, non-artful, if there is such a thing, autobiographies from ordinary people. We solicited volunteers and simply asked them: “Tell us the story of your life.” We assured them first that we were not clinicians but that, nonetheless, we would like very much to find out, using very Goodmanian language, how they constructed a picture of their lives. An odd thing happened. We interviewed a man, and then interviewed his sister whom he had “recommended” to us, and then she said, “You know my other brother would like to be interviewed too,” and before long we had interviewed all the members of the same family: two grown daughters and sons, the father and the mother. Perhaps for the first time in human history – at least I could find no report in the literature of anything comparable – we had interviewed separately six members of the same family, all of whom had, if I may be forgiven the expression, “psychic realities” that somehow impinged upon each other. It was the material of un roman familial.
At one point in the proceedings, I was having lunch with an old friend, the anthropologist Clifford Geertz, and asked him what a family is, from an anthropological or ethnological point of view. Professor Geertz replied, “Well, a family is, in the first place, a system designed for keeping centrifugal forces from working within a group of people who have to stay together.” I found this a “cool” and useful way of looking at the matter – cool, in the sense that family life is such a heated process ordinarily. It was then that I began to realize, concretely, to what degree the construction of selves and of the “lives” of people within a family (or any other close group) consists of just such an anticentrifugal negotiation of roles.
But the negotiations in question, it soon appeared, were not, as it were, ex nihilo. Rather, they were patterned into something that I can only call genres – fairly easily recognizable literary genres. There must, then, be some deep sense in which Henry James was right when he said that adventures happen to people who know how to tell about them. If he is correct, he must be profoundly so. To what degree is one impelled, once one launches on a genre account of oneself, to stay with it forevermore? We shall return to that issue presently. But let me first go back to the beginning and discuss more freely the curious process by which people construct what we call “a self” and “a life.”
Not so terribly long ago, certainly at the turn of the century, the process of self-creation did not seem to bother students of autobiography very much. The great volumes by Georg Misch that appeared prior to the first World War had other concerns. He was interested in “lives” in so far as they represented exemplary and representative expressions of the culture. A contemporary, touched by the doubts of postmodernism, can only be astonished by what one reads in Misch’s volumes. To begin with, how was he able to judge what was representative of any era? And why was he so little interested in the epistemological issues involved – both for himself and for the “exemplary and representative” men (he is, of course, very male- oriented)? How did he deal with the fact that there were inventions in autobiographical form that were themselves as important as any events in forming the kinds of autobiographies that then followed them? Thomas a Kempis was one such innovator. But it was not just autobiographers who set the new forms, but philosophers and novelists as well – like Rousseau or Flaubert. There were, to be sure, autobiographers aware of the “constructivist problem” – from Augustine to Henry Adams – but most of the writers on autobiography up to the end of the nineteenth century conceived of autobiographical writing as writing about an “essential self,” and as writing about a “life,” in Goodman’s terms, as “an aboriginal life” that was inde‑pendent of the process of constructing it. All that was necessary was to capture it, write it, put it down. It was a point of view not far from the conviction that lead well-meaning aunts to assure writers starting an autobiography that “it should not be hard; you’ve led such an interesting life.”
Today, the tide has turned completely. We have come to reject the view that a “life” is anything in itself and to believe that it is all in the constructing, in the text, or the text making. If you read contemporary writers on autobiography, like William Spengemann or Janet Varner Gunn, you will find them thoroughgoing constructionists. Their concerns are with literary- historical invention, with form, with the depiction of reality. Like me, they are concerned with the literary forces that shape autobiography. Is an autobiography, say, a Bildungsroman, premissed on the accretion of wisdom from experience, as a British empiricist might put it? As if, so to speak, one gradually transforms the primary qualities of direct experience into the secondary qualities of higher knowledge.
But it is not only genre that has this forming function, but certain organizing metaphors as well. Take the following instance. One of the participants in our study, when asked about his life, started right off with a metaphoric event that shaped the entire interview. He himself was a published writer, a teacher of English, and had been born in England, in a Midlands town where he spent his childhood and adolescence. Here is how he started: “My parents ran a small hotel on the edge of a small Midlands town. When I was born, they called the obstetrician. The obstetrician, finding that I was having difficulty breathing, raised me by my heels, slapped me on the back, and broke two ribs. You see, I had osteoporosis. Rather like the story of my life: people breaking my bones in the interest of helping me.” He never returned to that episode again or even repeated those terms. Yet, each of the turning points in his life (I shall return to turning points later) contained a variant of that same metaphoric theme: harm coming to him by dint of another’s good intentions. And so we began asking what role a genre or a metaphoric theme serves in a life account. Let me dwell on that problem for a moment.
What after all is an autobiography? It consists of the following. A narrator, in the here and now, takes upon himself or herself the task of describing the progress of a protagonist in the there and then, one who happens to share his name. He must by convention bring that protagonist from the past into the present in such a way that the protagonist and the narrator eventually fuse and become one person with a shared consciousness. Now, in order to bring a protagonist from the there and then to the point where the original protagonist becomes the present narrator, one needs a theory of growth or at least of transformation. You need a prescription that will allow the callow pear-stealing boy to turn into the thoughtful St. Augustine now caught in a struggle between faith and reason. The boy, of course, becomes an instrument in the telling. His life becomes dedicated to the theory or story into which his destiny is fitted. In stories of this kind, it is not amiss to say that the old adage is turned around. If initially the child was father to the man, now (in autobiography) the man reclaims the role of being father to the child – but this time recapturing the child for the culture by the use of the culture’s theories and stories.
There is an interesting anomaly here. The theories or stories one constructs about one’s growth and, indeed, about the “stages” along the path of that growth are not verifiable in the usual sense that that term is used. The best one can do is to check them against one’s own memory – which, of course, is notoriously fallible and open to schematization, as Sir Frederic Bartlett long ago reminded us – or to check them against “family recollections.”[Note 1] Or, indeed, to check them against what elsewhere I have called “culturally canonical accounts” of what growing up and what childhood are about.[Note 2] Strictly speaking, such “checking” is guided not by ordinary verification but by a criterion of verisimilitude, lifelikeness. That is to say, “the story of my life” – and I’ll come to “story” in a moment – is not composed of a set of testable propositions in the usual sense, but is composed as a narrative. And this imposes constraints that have as much to do with the requirements of narrative as they have to do with what “happened” to one, or what one remembers as having happened. Recall the obstetrician who broke those two ribs. The “facts” (though culturally transmitted) are probably right. The interpretation and its later metaphoric use is a narrative invention that provides continuity both with the received facts and with the autobiographer’s conception (or invention) of his “life.” But it must also fit the requirements of narrative as a form of organizing experience. What can we say about these requirements of narrative?
Narrative accounts must have at least two characteristics. They should center upon people and their intentional states: their desires, beliefs, and so on; and they should focus on how these intentional states led to certain kinds of activities. Such an account should also be or appear to be order preserving, in the sense of preserving or appearing to preserve sequence – the sequential properties of which life itself consists or is supposed to consist. Now, in the nature of things, if these points are correct, autobiographies should be about the past, should be par excellence the genre (or set of genres) composed in the past tense. So just for fun, we decided to find out whether in fact autobiographies were all in the past tense – both the spontaneous ones we had collected and a sample of literary autobiographies.
We have never found a single one where past-tense verbs constituted more than 70 percent of the verbs used. Autobiographies are, to be sure, about the past; but what of the 30 percent or more of their sentences that are not in the past tense? I’m sure it will be apparent without all these statistics that autobiography is not only about the past, but is busily about the present as well. If it is to bring the protagonist up to the present, it must deal with the present as well as the past – and not just at the end of the account, as it were. That is one part of it. But there is another part that is more interesting. Most of the “present-tense” aspect of autobiography has to do with what students of narrative structure call “evaluation” – the task of placing those sequential events in terms of a meaningful context. Narrative, whether looked at from the more formalistic perspective of William Labov or the more literary, historical one of Barbara Herrnstein-Smith, necessarily comprises two features: one of them is telling what happened to a cast of human beings with a view to the order in which things happened.[Note 3] That part is greatly aided by the devices of flashback, flashforward, and the rest. But a narrative must also answer the question “Why,” “Why is this worth telling, what is interesting about it?” Not everything that happened is worth telling about, and it is not always clear why what one tells merits telling. We are bored and offended by such accounts as “I got up in the morning, got out of bed, dressed and tied my shoes, shaved, had breakfast, went off to the office and saw a graduate student who had an idea for a thesis....”
The “why tell” function imposes something of great (and hidden) significance on narrative. Not only must a narrative be about a sequence of events over time, structured comprehensibly in terms of cultural canonicality, it must also contain something that endows it with exceptionality. We had better pause for a moment and explore what this criterion of exceptionality means for autobiography and, incidentally, why it creates such a spate of present-tense clauses in the writing of autobiography.
An autobiography serves a dual function. On the one hand, it is an act of “entrenchment,” to use Nelson Goodman’s term. That is to say, we wish to present ourselves to others (and to ourselves) as typical or characteristic or “culture confirming” in some way. That is to say, our intentional states and actions are comprehensible in the light of the “folk psychology” that is intrinsic in our culture. In the main, we laugh at what is canonically funny, sorrow for what is canonically sad. This is the set of “givens” in a life. But if it is all “givens,” then there is no individuality, no modern Self. We are simply mirrors of our culture. To assure individuality (and I am speaking of Western culture only), we focus upon what, in the light of some folk psychology, is exceptional (and, therefore, worthy of “telling”) in our lives.
Now, the only requirement imposed by having to tell a life story (even when only invited to do so by a psychologist) is that one tell something “interesting” – which is to say a story that is at once recognizably canonical and recognizably noncanonical. What makes for something “interesting” is invariably a “theory” or “story” that runs counter to expectancy or pro-duces an outcome counter to expectancy. But expectancy, of course, is controlled by the implicit folk psychology that prevails in a culture. It is the case, then, that a story (to meet the criterion of tellability) must violate canonical expectancy, but do so in a way that is culturally comprehensible. That is to say, it must be a violation of the folk-psychologically canonical that is itself canonical – that is, the breach of convention must itself be conventional, like the cuckolded husband, the betrayed fair maiden, and so forth.
Now let me return to the issue of genre raised earlier. I want to offer the hypothesis that literary genres represent stylized forms of violations of the folk-psychological canon. And by this I do not intend to say that genres, as it were, are “copies” of what happens in life. Indeed, as already noted, literary inventions are inspirations to new modes of life, invitations to experience fresh ways of violating the banalities of folk psychology, and we honor the Laurence Sternes and Natalia Ginzburgs, the Virginia Woolfs and Anais Nins as much for their “human insights” as for their literary skills. So just as folk psychology embodies and entrenches the canonical ways of people responding to the world, literature comes to invent and exemplify forms of deviation – and by “literature” I mean as well the literary-intellectual world of great innovators in human “personality” psychology ranging from the exponents of the four humoral types, through Mesmer and the apostles of “suggestibility,” and on into modern times when new and “interesting” noncanonical stories have been invented by the likes of Pierre Janet, Freud, Jung, and more recently Laing and Lacan. And of course, with each new entrenchment of deviation from folk-psychological canon there is invention of terminology which further entrenches the new breakaway pattern – “ego defense,” “archetype,” “introvert,” and so on.
The object of narrative, then, is to demystify deviations. Narrative solves no problems. It simply locates them in such a way as to make them comprehensible. It does so by invoking the play of psychological states and of actions that transpire when human beings interact with each other and relates these to what can usually be expected to happen. I think that Kenneth Burke has a good deal to say about this “play of psychological states” in narrative, and I think it would help to examine his ideas. In his The Grammar of Motives, he introduces the idea of “dramatism.”[Note 4] Burke noted that dramatism was created by the interplay of five elements (he refers to them as the Pentad). These comprise an Actor who commits an Action toward a Goal with the use of some Instrument in a particular Scene. Dramatism is created, he argues, when elements of the Pentad are out of balance, lose their appropriate “ratio.” This creates Trouble, an emergent sixth element. He has much to say about what leads to the breakdown in the ratios between the elements of the dramatistic pentad. For example, the Actor and the Scene don’t fit. Nora, for example: what in the world is the rebellious Nora in A Doll’s House doing in this banal doctor’s household? Or Oedipus taking his mother Jocasta unknowingly to wife. The “appropriate ratios,” of course, are given by the canonical stances of folk psychology toward the human condition. Dramatism constitutes their patterned violation. In a classically oral culture, the great myths that circulate are the archetypal forms of violation, and these become increasingly “smoothed” and formalized – even frozen – over time, as we know from the classic studies of Russian folktales published by Vladimir Propp.[Note 5] In more mobile literary cultures, of course, the range and variation in such tales and stories greatly increases, matching the greater complexity and widened opportunities that accompany literacy. Genres develop, new forms emerge, variety increases – at least at first. It may well be that with the emergence of mass cultures and the new massifying media, new constraints on this variation occur, but that is a topic that would take us beyond the scope of this essay.
There is one feature of Western autobiography that needs special mention. It relates to what I shall call the highlighting or “marking” of turning points. By “turning points” I mean those episodes in which, as if to underline the power of the agent’s intentional states, the narrator attributes a crucial change or stance in the protagonist’s story to a belief, a conviction, a thought. This I see as crucial to the effort to individualize a life, to make it clearly and patently something more than a running off of automatic, folk- psychological canonicality. I will give an example in a moment, drawn from our “family” of autobiographies.
But before I do that, let me comment briefly on why I use the word “marking.” As Roman Jakobson put it a generation ago, language is a system not only for communicating, but also for organizing attention.[Note 6] Speaking (in contrast to remaining silent) is itself a way of marking, of drawing attention to that which one wishes to forefront. And once one speaks, there is within every language at every level a highly elaborated system for distinguishing the “marked” from the “unmarked” – what is to be taken for granted as given and what is to be highlighted as new, deviant, special, or interestworthy. So, for example, there are narrative devices for indicating what, as it were, is newsworthy – ways of marking, in Burke’s sense, the imbalances in ratio between the elements of the Pentad. I see the construction of narrative “turning points” as a device further to distinguish what is ordinary and expectable (i.e., folk psychological) from that which is idiosyncratic and quintessentially agentive.
Now an example. Let me present Carl, the eldest brother in the Good- hertz family, the nom de plume we use for our autobiographical family. The example concerns his introduction of one of the leitmotifs in his spontaneously spoken autobiography and occurred when he was a schoolboy. He tells us that he went out for the football team, and because he was heavy he made it. During his third game on this Catholic high-school team, the coach said to him, “That end, I want him out of the game. Get him out of the game.” He was shocked and put in a moral conflict. “I decided then and there this was not for me.” So he quit the football team right after the game. In the months following, he spent a lot of time in the library, “brooding.” He tells us that he became much concerned with moral integrity and how you maintain it, given the way the world is. The world is a tough, dirty place where your coach asks you to knock out the opposing end. You yourself must decide what is right in your convictions, never mind what anybody thinks.
Eventually, Carl finds a way of “patterning” his deviation from high- school culture – and “finds” is the right word. He finds the Berrigan brothers, becomes active in a neighborhood settlement house, and eventually becomes a Vietnam war protester – which gives his initial deviation a new legitimization, a new narrative structure.
Turning points need more study. They represent a way in which people free themselves in their self-consciousness from their history, their banal destiny, their conventionality. In doing so, they mark off the narrator’s consciousness from the protagonist’s and begin closing the gap between the two at the same time. Turning points are steps toward narratorial consciousness. Not surprising that, in most autobiographies, they are located at points where the culture in fact gives more degrees of freedom – elbow room for turning points. In America, for example, high school graduation is one such point. “I’ve always done what my parents wanted. At that point I started thinking about what I was, and I decided that ….” All such passages are marked by a mental verb. This signals an “inside” transformation, a change in intentional state. Had the autobiography been written before the break, you sense it would have been a different autobiography.
So in this sense, too, one recognizes that folk psychology has “written” into it not only that people are directed by their own intentional states, but that these change in patterned ways and at predictable times. And, as for example with adolescence, the literary culture concentrates its sense of invention on the exploration of consciousness and deviation during these predictable and privileged times. And in a mass society one has the impression that the varieties of adolescent crisis become products of a literary / image- making industry.
We see all of these puzzles very concretely raised in the autobiographies of the family we are studying.[Note 7] Each is, in his or her own way, an expression of the culture. Their individual psychic geography reflects the cultural geography of New York in the late 1980s. But – and here I return to Professor Geertz’s comment about the family as a system for containing and counteracting centrifugal tendencies – the family also serves as a microcosm in which the conflicts of the broader enclave are represented and, within certain limits, contained. For the family, in the case of the Goodhertzes, rep-resents an implicit commitment to a way of life – certain beliefs, desires, intentions that all of them took for granted as “givens.” It is as if they share a morphology of the world and of people. And this shared morphology forms the way not only of seeing others, but of seeing themselves, however different they may be. They distinguish, for example, between the “real world” and “home” – surely a widespread distinction in the culture, but nonetheless a highly personal one for the Goodhertzes. The values for the real world are “street smarts,” as they put it: how to deal with the hypocritical, the ambitious, the exploitative. The values of home ar openness, sympathy, forgiveness, neighborhood. Each expresses this geography and morphology in their own way, for each is different, very different from the others.
The father is a man who managed to become a master sergeant in the peacetime army before he was twenty-five (having enlisted at eighteen, illegally underage at that time). He had a rough childhood, with an alcoholic father who deserted the family, with him having to take over responsibilities too early. His response was to take responsibility, but always to be aware of what seemed to be the case in contrast to what the case might in fact be. He played his cards close to his chest, went into plumbing after discharge from the Army, became a trusted and dependable man in the community – but had few intimates. When he married he, like his wife who also had experienced a hard childhood, decided that they would protect their children from the tough times they had known as children. Mrs. Goodhertz was a woman of strong views, “a Catholic and a Democrat,” and the two of them have in fact made a home for their kids – indeed have lived in the same Brooklyn neighborhood now for thirty years, where they have become pillars of the community.
When Carl, the eldest son, becomes a Vietnam draft protester, we see the family culture at work. His father was “hard hat,” but he backed Carl when he became a draft-evader. So long as Carl came honestly by his opinion, that was fine. In the family, each could have their own version of the world if they came by it through honest conviction. But Carl’s stand on the war (like his stand on the football team) was also premissed on a belief that his father believed in individual integrity. “We are a highly moral family,” he says in an interview. Believe it too. For in fact, they each define themselves in terms of those private family values of openness, sharing, and forgiveness. They boast that there is nothing they cannot discuss around the Sunday dinner table when they come together. And that is the tribunal where they try out their changing versions of their self-image and their autobiographies. Right now, for example, Mr. Goodhertz is thinking about retiring. He likes his work, and it gives him a needed sense of autonomy and self-reliance. Besides, he feels that he lacks intimacy in his life. It is interesting to see him shaping a new turning point in his life, from which the past will look different. But you sense that it is being designed with the others in mind, that maintaining a version of your life concordant with those of the others in the family is a paramount consideration. Self-making is powerfully affected not only by your own interpretations of yourself, but by the interpretations others offer of your version. One anomaly, of course, is that while Self is regarded (at least in Western ideology) as the most “private” aspect of our being, it turns out on close inspection to be highly negotiable, highly sensitive to bidding on the not so open market of one’s own reference group.
It becomes plain, as one observes this process of self-formation, that it is probably a mistake to conceive of Self as solo, as locked up inside one person’s subjectivity, as hermetically sealed off. Rather, Self seems also to be intersubjective or “distributed” in the same way that one’s “knowledge” is distributed beyond one’s head to include the friends and colleagues to whom one has access, the notes one has filed, the books one has on one’s shelves. Yet somehow, there is resistance to such a view in most people. For in our Western culture, one opts for a view of commitment as individual. Yet it has not always and everywhere been so, and one is led to wonder whether there is something “essential” about our contemporary notion of selfhood or whether it will change as much as it has in the past, say, from the Middle Ages to the rise of mercantilism.[Note 8]
Perhaps what remains most stable about the Self as an enduring concept over time, as Charles Taylor has recently reminded us, is a sense of commitment to a set of beliefs and values that we are unwilling (or unable) to submit to “radical” scrutiny.[Note 9] It is this commitment, of course, that provides the engine, as it were, for the rhetorical aspect of autobiography, a subject we have not considered in any detail thus far and cannot in the compass of a brief essay. But we have touched on it obliquely in noting the “evaluative” component in autobiographical discourse. For “what makes the telling justifiable” is also a commitment to a certain set of presuppositions about oneself, one’s relation to others, one’s view of the world and one’s place in it. So, given that autobiography is also a form of “taking a stand,” it is perforce rhetorical. And when one combines the rhetoric of self-justification with the requirements of a genre-linked narrative, one begins to come very close to what Goodman describes as “worldmaking” in which the constructed Self and its agentive powers become, as it were, the gravitational center of the world. And the force that relates the center to the rest of the world is a commitment that endures over time – a commitment that ensures a certain stability in self-conception, but also permits the autobiographer to maintain a sense of alliance with others – alliance and opposition as well. For as both Taylor and Henri Tajfel point out, defining the Self and its allies also defines those who are in the out-group, and as Tajfel has so brilliantly demonstrated, there seems always to be a degradation of the out-group that has a special role, by contrast, in defining one’s own qualities and the qualities of those with whom one is allied, one’s in-group.[Note 10]
In this sense, autobiography (like the novel) involves not only the construction of self, but also a construction of one’s culture – just as Geertz assures us that writing anthropology also involves a kind of autobiography.[Note 11] It is interesting to contemplate the Romantic stereotype that insists that one can “find” one’s Self only by withdrawing from the world – as with the 1970s undergraduates who would ask for a leave of absence to go live in a village in Maine or Nepal or the Greek Islands in order to “find themselves.” I think this is a lingering vestige of the notion of an “essential” self that has a being independent of the culture in terms of which one navigates the world. It is a great puzzle, examining actual autobiographies and the process of their construction, how it is that such isolating concepts can survive the actual experience of self-accounting. To revert again to one of Goodman’s points about worldmaking, it is surely clear that the criteria of “rightness” for a constructed world have very little to do with the usual criteria for establishing “truth” either by correspondence or by congruence. Rather, rightness appears to be pragmatically controlled – it is what one can live with among those with whom one interacts in the setting where one must operate.
One final word about the development of the self-concept in different cultures under different conditions of life. It is a vast topic, and one not very well studied, though the literature on the subject is voluminous. A group of us, under Katherine Nelson’s leadership, have recently published a study of one child’s after-bedtime soliloquies – a good many of which are quasi- autobiographical. The soliloquies extend from Emmy’s eighteenth month to her third birthday.[Note 12] What is apparent from that work and from other recent studies is that self-construction begins very early and is a strikingly systematic process that is deeply enmeshed with the mastery of language itself – not just its syntax and lexicon, but its rhetoric and its rules for constructing narrative. Like all other aspects of worldmaking, self-making (or “life-making”) depends heavily upon the symbolic system in which it is conducted – its opportunities and constraints. I would like to end with the comment that Nelson Goodman’s constructivism arms one well to appreciate the complexities of self- and life-making. And I hope that in the course of these remarks I have indicated some of the ways in which his ideas can be put to work in this domain.
See F. C. Bartlett, Remembering (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1932); D. C. Rubin, ed., Autobiographical Memory (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986).
Jerome S. Bruner, Acts of Meaning (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1990).
W. Labov, “Speech Actions and Reactions in Personal Narrative,” in Analyzing Discourse: Text and Talk, ed. D. Tannen (Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 1982); Barbara Herrnstein Smith, On the Margins of Discourse (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1986).
Kenneth Burke, The Grammar of Motives (New York: Prentice-Hall, 1945).
V. Propp, The Morphology of the Folk Tale, rev. ed. (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1986).
R. Jakobson, Selected Writings, vol. 8 (Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 1988), pp. 92f.
This work is now nearing completion and will appear as J. S. Bruner and Susan Weisser, Autobiography and the Construction of Self (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press).
For a fuller discussion of this point, see my Acts of Meaning.
Charles Taylor, Sources of the Self (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1989).
H. Tajfel, Differentiation between Groups (London: Academic Press, 1978), see part 1.
Clifford Geertz, Works and Lives (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1988).
K. Nelson, ed., Narratives from the Crib (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1989).
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