Life-stories after fundamental regime-change
Life-stories are usually seen as showing considerable coherence even where they include turning points. More recent work has in contrast noted that “living” or “small narratives” do not follow this rule but contrastingly enable the pondering of unresolved life-events helping to develop understanding. This potential is particularly valuable in contexts of fundamental regime-change where changes of the value-system, such as after transition from state socialism to democracy, pose considerable challenges to narrative coherence. The article suggests reconsidering the question of coherence in life-stories and draws on two examples of individuals who experienced life in East Germany and German unification to argue that struggles for coherence in the life-story can be indicative of the lack of wider shared frameworks for the understandings of national events and historical problems.
Keywords: turning points, living narrative, life-story, meaning-making, coherence, regime-change
Published online: 30 June 2016
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