Narrative imagination and everyday life

by Molly Andrews

Narrative imagination and everyday life It has been widely acknowledged that in the past few decades there has been a narrative turn an interest in the storied nature of human life However very little work has discussed the role of imagination Narrative Imagination and Everyday Life looks at how stories and imagination come together in our daily lives influencing not only our thoughts about what we see and do but also our contemplation of what is possible and what our limitations are Without imagination we are forever doom

Publisher : Oxford University Press

Author : Molly Andrews

ISBN : 9780199812394

Year : 2014

Language: en

File Size : 4.45 MB

Category : Used Textbooks

Narrative Imagination and Everyday Life

Explorations in Narrative Psychology
Mark Freeman
Series Editor
Books in the Series
Speaking of Violence
Sara Cobb
Narrative Imagination and Everyday Life
Molly Andrews

Narrative
Imagination and
Everyday Life

Molly Andrews

1

1
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Andrews, Molly.
Narrative imagination and everyday life / Molly Andrews.
pages cm
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 978–0–19–981239–4
1. Imagination. 2. Narration (Rhetoric)—Psychological aspects.
BF408.A54 2013
153.3—dc23
2013017561

9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Printed in the United States of America
on acid-free paper

I. Title.

Dedicated in loving memory
Siyanda Ndlovu
(1982 – 2010)

CONTEN TS

Acknowledgements

ix

1. Introduction: Trafficking In Human Possibilities
1
Time Travelling
2
The Real, the Not-Real, and the Not-Yet-Real
5
Constructing the Self and Other in Narrative Imagination
Everyday Imagination
10
2. Knowledge, Belief, And Disbelief
14
Magic and social beliefs
16
The Psychology of Magic
20
The Art of Deception
22
Imagination and Culture
25
Considering the Unbelievable in Scholarly Research
Vested Interest and the Ability to See
28
Magic and the Beyond
32

7

26

3. Ageing
34
Situating Ourselves
34
Blueprints for Aging
38
Creativity and Aging
43
Bodies
48
‘Taking Hold of Experience’
51
Contemplating Finitude
54
4. Education
58
The Feeling of Infinity
58
Becoming and Being a Teacher/Learner
62
‘Knowing Relationships’: Accessing the World of Others
Narrating the Lives of Teachers: The Search for Balance

65
70

Igniting Curiosity for the Subject
74
Teaching for Democratic Citizenship
77
5. Politics
82
Political Narratives: Some Background
85
‘Out of One, Many . . .’: Obama’s Unusual American Odyssey
The Great Emancipator and the Brother-in-Chief
92
Ripples of Hope
97
The Plurality of the Narrative
102
The Queen of Soul Is Just One of Us
104
Conclusion
108
Time and Timeliness
Imagining Difference
Possible lives
113
Notes
117
Bibliography
133
Credit lines
143
Index
145

[viii]

Contents

109
111

89

ACKNOW L ED GEM EN TS

I am indebted to many people for making this book possible. Indeed, the
topic is so over-arching, that really I should begin in my early years and
work my way forward, identifying those individuals who have helped me to
see the world from a slightly different angle. But that would be too much.
Rather I will limit myself here to the most immediate influences which
have contributed to the book’s creation.
I have been lucky to have had ongoing conversations through the years with
some very smart and generous people: Jens Brockmeier, Wolfgang Edelstein,
Mark Freeman, Ruthellen Josselson, Ann Phoenix, Cathy Riessman, Birgit
Schmitt, Nira Yuval-Davis, Shirin Rai and Jeremy Roche, thank you.
The Centre for Narrative Research provides a very special place for scholarship and community, which includes not only our members near and far,
but also our exceptional post-graduate students. Corinne Squire, Maria
Tamboukou, and Cigdem Esin, thank you for keeping life at CNR rolling,
and to all of our students and visitors who help to make it such a vibrant
place. I would not have been able to write the book had I not been granted
a sabbatical from the University of East London.
The book owes its existence firstly to Mark Freeman, who nurtured the
idea from the beginning and who provided very thoughtful and sometimes
challenging feedback on the original draft. Abby Gross and Suzanne Walker
at Oxford University Press have been most supportive and patient, helping
to guide the project to its fruition.
Thank you to my sister, Julia Andrews, Director of the Fine Arts Program
at the National Geographic Society, who helped me to find an image from
their archives to use as the cover for this book.
My parents Joan and Peter Andrews read the first complete draft of
the book, and gave me their characteristic blend of support and candid
feedback.
And last but always first, thank you Ted, Charlotte and Peter who make
everyday life fertile ground for the imagination.

Narrative Imagination and Everyday Life

CH APTER 1

Introduction: Trafficking In Human
Possibilities

N

arrative and imagination are integrally tied to one another; that
they are so is immediately clear to anyone who stops to think about
stories—real and imagined, about the past or in a promised, or feared,
future. Why and how this is so are questions that direct us to ruminate on
what it means to be human.
This book takes as its starting point that narrative and imagination are
combined, not only in our most elevated thoughts about the world as it
might be, but also in the very minutiae of our daily lives. Although we do
not often talk about the role of imagination in how we approach each day,
carrying out and evading those responsibilities to which we have committed ourselves, and simply being ourselves in the world, negotiating our
sometimes troubled paths between competing desires of our own and
those of others, its importance cannot be overstated. It is perhaps a sign of
our times that imagination, which so fascinated Aristotle and has continued to be a key concept throughout the development of Western thought,
has been relatively neglected in our current age. Philosophers of the late
20th century, such as Jean Paul Sartre, devoted much time to thinking
about not only the nature of imagination, but critically its function in the
human psyche as well; it was through this fascination with the world as it
is and its relationship to that which is not, but which may also yet be, that
led Sartre to write his first well known book, Being and Nothingness. More
recently, those inquiries into the nature of imagination which do exist
are less philosophical, less contemplative, and focus more typically either
on the anatomy of the brain and its critical faculties, or else on studies of
fiction. During this same period, the use of a narrative lens for exploring

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