- The Japanese Association of Sociology of Law
- 法社会学 (ISSN:04376161)
- vol.2006, no.64, pp.28-42,274, 2006-03-30 (Released:2012-06-20)
In this paper, I will examine Kenneth Gergen's self-narrative theory and try to make clear what differences there are between that theory and modernistic view of self. According to his theory, self is constructed as a narrative or story within or through various kinds of social interaction. That is a narrative about his/her own life in the past and future prospective. That is, any self-narrative can be characterized by the following three features:1) Various events in his/her life are chosen and structured by him/herself (reflexive)2) This structuring or storying depends on temporary sequence (diachronic)3) That self-narrative is always told to others (relational)Therefore in the self-narrative view self is understood to be more reflexive, more diachronic and more relational than a modernistic view has supposed it to be.This view does not make any difference as long as people believe in a modern story about 'subject', which is told about mechanical/synchronic/individual self. In 'postmodern' societies, however, it is gradually considered to be of less advantage than the narrative view of self, that is, a story about self told from a narrative perspective. It is more advantageous especially in those two respects as follow:1) Relational understanding of self2) Access to uniqueness or singularity of each individualBut, nevertheless, it is difficult to reject the concept of 'subject' completely because we need that concept in order to attribute responsibility to an agency of various acts. Narrative theory of self faces difficulty in this regard. On the one hand, relational view tends to dissolve the concept of 'responsibility' itself because 'responsibility' can be dispersed into infinite social relations in this view. On the other hand, any kind of agency cannot be identified because uniqueness or singularity can be grasped only negatively in self-narrative theory.