Pub. date: 2007 | Online Pub. Date: September 25, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952637 | Print ISBN: 9780761923879 | Online ISBN: 9781412952637| Publisher:Sage Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Susan S. Silbey
In the 1930s and 1940s, social scientists abandoned narrative for being an ambiguous, particularistic, idiosyncratic, and imprecise way of representing the world. During the 1980s and 1990s, narrative was resurrected as a means of challenging positivistic, reductionist, logico-deductive modes of knowing, gaining lively support as a form of representation in legal scholarship. Epistemological arguments claim that narratives have the capacity to reveal truths about the social world, truths that are flattened or silenced by more traditional methods of social science or legal scholarship. According to this view, social identity and social action—indeed, all aspects of the social world—are storied. Consequently, narrative is not just a form imposed on social life; rather, it is constitutive of that which it represents. Scholars argue ...