Article published in:Narrative Identity
Michael Bamberg and Allyssa McCabe
[Narrative Inquiry 10:1] 2000
► pp. 81–109
Autobiography, Mediated Action, and the Development of Moral Identity
This paper explores a sociocultural approach to the development of moral identity, by considering the recently published autobiography of Ingo Hasselbach. Hasselbach, the founder (in 1991) of the National Alternative neo-Nazi party in East Germany, writes about his childhood and youth, how and why he embraced the neo-Nazi perspective, and how and why he ultimately repudiated the movement that he had helped to create. The analysis of Hasselbach’s story employs a “mediated action” approach to identity formation (Penuel & Wertsch, 1995; Wertsch, 1998). Such an approach entails taking human action as the starting point for the study of identity development, and understanding that mediated action, rather than an inner sense of identity, continuity, or sameness, provides the primary unit of analysis. In bringing a sociocultural perspective to bear on Hasselbach’s autobiographical narrative, this paper thus highlights the connections that emerge in his autobiography between his changing/developing sense of moral identity and his moral actions and interactions in the world. In so doing, it explores and explicates the relationship between Hasselbach’s moral identity and the sociocultural context in which it develops.
Published online: 07 December 2000
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