The Role of Personal Narrative in Bringing Children into the Moral Discourse of Their Culture
This study examined personal narratives written by 364 inner-city 4th–6th graders about an experience with interpersonal conflict. Stories were coded for three sets of variables based on Bruner’s 1990 work on narrative thought. The co-occurrences of these variables lent support to the notions that (a) establishing a moral voice involves noting what is culturally non-canonical and providing culturally recognizable explanations, (b) taking an epistemological stance that recognizes the importance of what the protagonists know and think and of what can count as a true or meaningful representation of events, and (c) making moral evaluations and positioning the self relative to what is construed as good or bad. Comparisons between children from a high-crime, high-poverty neighborhood to those from a less dangerous environment raised questions about how we bring children into the moral discourse of a culture, and how their appropriation of interpretive repertoires to explain their own experiences may contribute to cultural change.
Published online: 27 May 2002
Cited by 11 other publications
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