Storytelling and Multiple Narratives in Conflict Situations

From the TRT Group in the German–Jewish Context to the Dual-Narrative Approach of PRIME

Authored by: Dan Bar-On

Handbook on Peace Education

Print publication date:  September  2009
Online publication date:  February  2011

Print ISBN: 9780805862522
eBook ISBN: 9780203837993
Adobe ISBN: 9781136874529


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Life stories provide us with an opportunity to create a coherent self-presentation. Assuming that we consist of bits and pieces that do not fit coherently by themselves, repeated tellings of our story allow us to introduce coherence into our constructed life stories even if it did not previously exist, as this is essentially the implicit demand placed on us by our social system (Bar-On, 2006; Linde, 1993). When one tells one’s life story, one constructs it carefully and intentionally, choosing which parts of one’s story and identity to present to the specific audience. Thus, listening to stories as a research technique presents a number of problematic methodological issues. For instance, should we accept the teller’s narrative as it is told, or should we attempt to comprehend the meaning beyond the narrator’s words, in search of “untold” stories hidden within those that are told outright (Bar-On, 1990; Josselson, 2004)?

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