The transformative possibilities of narrative inquiry

Authored by: Fiona Dowling , Robyne Garrett

Routledge Handbook of Physical Education Pedagogies

Print publication date:  August  2016
Online publication date:  August  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138820999
eBook ISBN: 9781315743561
Adobe ISBN: 9781317589518


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Narrative inquiry is best described as an approach to research that is cross-disciplinary and extremely diverse theoretically and methodologically (Riessman, 2008). Narrative research in PE reflects this variety (Dowling, Garrett, lisahunter, & Wrench, 2015). Common across the disparate perspectives is, however, the notion that narration is fundamental to human meaning-making: we construct ourselves via the stories we tell. Individual and collective embodied experience is mediated, and indeed, made ‘real’ via the linguistic shaping and telling of stories, and the processes of their consumption. Narratives are thus inevitably relational. The teller and the ‘listener’ are active meaning-making agents, and ‘small’ or what we can call personal stories are inevitably linked to ‘big’ or societal stories that are socio-economically and culturally situated.

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