About this topic
Summary For some, the problem of personal identity is a practical, not a metaphysical, problem.  Most generally, it is viewed as a problem of agency: what unifies our actions and experiences--both at a time and across time--as our own, and so what unifies us as the agents that we are? What most theorists have pursued is an answer that makes reference to narrative identity, according to which we are unified via the stories we tell about ourselves.  But there are other features of us independent of our self-construals that provide constraints on our movements in the world, namely, those features taken to be of societal importance, including race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, and so on.  These are the features of our social identity.
Key works Many have found seeds of talk of attribution and practical identity in Frankfurt 1971.  Later works on practical identity include MacIntyre 2007, Korsgaard 1989, Taylor 1989, Schechtman 1996, and Paul Ricoeur, "Narrative Identity," in D. Wood, On Paul Ricoeur: Narrative and Interpretation (London: Routledge, 1991) .  For important discussions on social identity, see Appiah 1990, and Amy Gutmann, ed., Multiculturalism: Examining the Politics of Recognition (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1994).  For an important critique of narrative identity, see Strawson 2004.
Introductions Encyclopedia entries discussing narrative identity include Dauenhauer 2008 and Shoemaker 2008.  Encyclopedia entries discussing aspects of social identity include Heyes 2008 and Mikkola 2008. An introductory collection of essays on practical identity and narrative agency is Atkins & Mackenzie 2008.
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  1. Anthony C. Ajah (2014). On Truthful Narrative-Identity and a Development Model for Nigeria. Open Journal of Philosophy 4 (4):531-540.
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  2. Daniel René Akendengue (2002). Narrative Anachronies In.. 201 Narrative Anachronies in Adam Bede and the Mill on the Floss. Humanitas 1:201.
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  3. Pamela Anderson (1993). Narrative Identity and the Mythico-Poetic Imagination. In David E. Klemm & William Schweiker (eds.), Meanings in Texts and Actions: Questioning Paul Ricoeur. University Press of Virginia. 195--204.
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  4. V. Barnard, J. Carson, Eugene Doe, Robin Driben, Anonymous One, Anonymous Two, Charles Kelley, Michael Kerins, D. Millman, Anonymous Three, Viesia Novosielski, Ben Zion & Anonymous Four (2011). Narrative Symposium: Personal Narratives Experiences of Psychiatric Hospitalization. Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics 1 (1):8-10.
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  5. Shape Bible (2010). Identity Pragmatics: Narrative/Identity/Ethics 41. In Eleanor Milligan & Emma Woodley (eds.), Confessions: Confounding Narrative and Ethics. Cambridge Scholars Pub.. 41.
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  6. Claudia J. Brodsky (1987). 2. Kant and Narrative Theory. In The Imposition of Form: Studies in Narrative Representation and Knowledge. Princeton University Press. 21-87.
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  7. W. J. Brown (1962). One Man's Life a Personal Narrative. Epworth Press.
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  8. Nico Buitendag (2013). Contrasting Differences in Identity and Agency Between Narrative and Autopoietic Systems. Hts Theological Studies 69 (1):01-09.
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  9. Richard Francis Burton (1893). Personal Narrative of a Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah & Meccah, Ed. By I. Burton. Memorial Ed.
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  10. Bruce Clarke (2014). Neocybernetics and Narrative. Univ of Minnesota Press.
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  11. J. L. Cullen (1998). Ruthellen Josselson (Ed.), Ethics and Process in the Narrative Study of Lives. Teaching Business Ethics 1:341-344.
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  12. Joy L. Cullen (1997). Ethics and Process in the Narrative Study of Lives, Ruthellen Josselson (Ed.). Teaching Business Ethics 1 (3):341-344.
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  13. Louise Du Toit (1997). Cultural Identity as Narrative and Performance. South African Journal of Philosophy 16 (3):85-93.
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  14. Hélène Eraly (2013). L'identité narrative mise à l'épreuve de la retraite : une analyse de récits biographiques. Temporalités 17 (17).
    Le passage à la retraite bouleverse les individus dans leur temporalité vécue aussi bien que dans leur temporalité narrative. Le récit de la retraite prend la forme d’une épreuve qu’il faut traverser et dépasser. Pour y parvenir, les individus puisent dans des schémas narratifs typiques de notre modernité, en particulier la rhétorique du choix, de la responsabilité et de la réalisation personnelle. Quelle forme prend le récit de l’épreuve de la retraite ? Quelles ressources réflexives sont-elles mobilisées ? Et en (...)
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  15. Linda Ethell (2010). Narrative Identity and Personal Responsibility. Lexington Books.
    The exploration of personal identity and theories of narrative in Narrative Identity and Personal Responsibility is extraordinarily suggestive, resulting in implications for theories of action as well as ethics and psychology. Taking seriously the thought that we mediate our relations with the world by means of self-defining narratives grounded in the natural phenomenon of desire provides new answers to old puzzles of what it means to be human.
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  16. Mark Freeman (2012). 12 Storied Persons: The Double Triad of Narrative Identity. In Jack Martin & Mark H. Bickhard (eds.), The Psychology of Personhood: Philosophical, Historical, Social-Developmental and Narrative Perspectives. Cambridge University Press. 223.
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  17. Chris Gardiner (2001). Whose Justice, Which Narrative*? Australian Journal of Professional and Applied Ethics 3 (2).
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  18. Jessica Garrahy (2009). His Controversial Materials: Philip Pullman and Religious Narrative Identity. Literature & Aesthetics 19 (2):105-122.
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  19. Kenneth J. Gergen (2005). Narrative, Moral Identity, and Historical Consciousness. In Jürgen Straub (ed.), Narration, Identity, and Historical Consciousness. Berghan Books. 3--99.
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  20. Joseph P. Gone (1999). "We Were Through as Keepers of It": The "Missing Pipe Narrative" and Gros Ventre Cultural Identity. Ethos: Journal of the Society for Psychological Anthropology 27 (4):415-440.
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  21. Herselman Hattingh & Pieter Van Veuren (1995). Identity and the Narrative Structure of Life. South African Journal of Philosophy 14 (2):60-71.
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  22. Silke Horstkotte & Karin Leonhard (2007). Intermedial Narrative: Ekphrasis and Perspectival Montage, or Sorting Out the Gaze of Narrative Agents. In Karin Leonhard & Silke Horstkotte (eds.), Seeing Perception. Cambridge Scholars Publishing. 166--96.
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  23. Kathryn Montgomery Hunter (1995). Narrative. Encyclopedia of Bioethics 4:1791.
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  24. Laurie Elizabeth Julian (1997). Narrative Act: The Path to Organizational Transformation. Dissertation, University of San Francisco
    This research explores how narrative act creates the path to organizational transformation. Narrative act is defined as entering into the stories of self, other, and the organization in order to recover the past and create the future. Transformation is defined as a fundamental change in condition and an increase in capacity; a movement from one of being to another. The articulation of a path to organizational transformation based in narrative is this work's distinct contribution to learning. The research develops six (...)
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  25. Sharon Kehoe (1997). One Woman's Way: A Self-Reflexive Narrative. Dissertation, California Institute of Integral Studies
    This dissertation is a cross-cultural and interdisciplinary study using the juxtapositions of East to West, ancient to contemporary, and masculine to feminine, for the purpose of showing embodied movement toward wisdom. It aims to show the translation of a philosophy of transformative learning into praxis through reflection and the creative process of narrative. Put more simply, it explores the relationship of stories within and as mirrors of themselves. It makes use of the disciplines of religion and philosophy, education, feminist thought, (...)
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  26. Peter Lamarque (2014). The Opacity of Narrative. Rowman & Littlefield International.
    What is narrative? What is distinctive about the great literary narratives? In virtue of what is a narrative fictional or non-fictional? In this important new book Peter Lamarque, one of the leading philosophers of literature at work today, explores these and related questions to bring new clarity and insight to debates about narrative in philosophy, critical theory, and narratology.
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  27. Tomas Lindgren (2004). The Narrative Construction of Muslim Identity: A Single Case Study. Archive for the Psychology of Religion 26 (1):51-74.
    This article presents an analysis of how a male convert to Islam incorporates events from his life history into a narrative structure in order to construct and maintain a Muslim identity. The study focuses on how the individual and in particular a person's life history becomes social and universal, and how the social and universal becomes particularized and individualized, in the narration of life. The results of the analysis showed that the valued endpoint determines the selection and ordering of different (...)
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  28. Ajit K. Maan (1997). Unbinding the Structures of Narrative Agency: Internarrative Subjectivity and the Classical Aesthetic Foundation of Ricoeurean Identity. Dissertation, University of Oregon
    While contemporary inquiries into the nature of the "self" are inclined to allow previously marginalized groups to assert their status as subjects and their stories as narratives, the postmodern denial of authorship and deconstruction of the self as a linguistic construction throws this entire inquiry into question. But while deconstruction calls autobiography into question by problematizing the authority and source of any utterance, others point out that the postmodern deconstruction of subjectivity is a luxury of the privileged. As one philosopher (...)
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  29. Giovanni Maddalena (2013). A Synthetic Pattern: Figural and Narrative Identity. Contemporary Pragmatism 10 (1):145-165.
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  30. David Massey (2010). Identity Pragmatics: Narrative/Identity/Ethics‖. In Eleanor Milligan & Emma Woodley (eds.), Confessions: Confounding Narrative and Ethics. Cambridge Scholars Pub.. 35--66.
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  31. D. Matravers (forthcoming). The Opacity of Narrative. Philosophical Quarterly.
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  32. Dan P. McAdams (2011). Narrative Identity. In Seth J. Schwartz, Koen Luyckx & Vivian L. Vignoles (eds.), Handbook of Identity Theory and Research. Springer Science+Business Media. 99--115.
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  33. Nancy McLoughlin (2008). Personal Narrative and the Systematization. Mediaevalia 29:83.
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  34. Nancy Mcloughlin (2008). Personal Narrative And The Systematization Of Knowledge In The Thought Of Jean Gerson. Mediaevalia 29 (1).
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  35. Lois McNay (2003). Having It Both Ways: The Incompatibility of Narrative Identity and Communicative Ethics in Feminist Thought. Theory, Culture and Society 20 (6):1-20.
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  36. Oliver Müller, Uta Bittner & Henriette Krug (2010). Narrative Identity and Therapy with 'Brain Pacemaker'. Ethik in der Medizin 22 (4):303.
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  37. Oliver Müller, Uta Bittner & Henriette Krug (2010). Narrative Identität bei Therapie mit „Hirnschrittmacher“. Ethik in der Medizin 22 (4):303-315.
    Der Artikel spürt den subtilen Veränderungen nach, die bei Patienten, die mit tiefer Hirnstimulation behandelt werden, möglicherweise beobachtet werden können. Dabei sollen im Rückgriff auf Konzeptionen zur narrativen Identität mittels einer möglichst genauen Beschreibung und Analyse der Selbstwahrnehmung der Patienten sowie der Wahrnehmung ihres Umfelds die Änderungen im praktischen Selbstverhältnis untersucht werden, u. a. am Beispiel technomorpher Metaphern, die von den Patienten in ihren Selbstbeschreibungen verwendet werden. Ziel ist es, die Neuartigkeit und das Spezifische der Neurotechnologien – über die bisherigen (...)
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  38. Robert O. Piehl (1999). From Narrative Therapy to Narrative Theology. Dissertation, Fuller Theological Seminary, School of Psychology
    Narrative therapists promote themselves as embracing both unique treatment techniques and a postmodern worldview based on a narrative metaphor and their own understanding of social constructionism. Many of the assumptions of this worldview are incompatible with traditional evangelical understandings of the Christian faith. This situation creates problems for Christian therapists who wish to incorporate recent advances within family therapy into their work. This dissertation explores the apparent impasse between narrative therapy and Christianity. The conclusion is that Christian therapists can profit (...)
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  39. Michael W. Pratt, Mary Louise Arnold & Heather Lawford (2009). Growing Towards Care: A Narrative Approach to Prosocial Moral Identity and Generativity of Personality in Emerging Adulthood. In Darcia Narvaez & Daniel Lapsley (eds.), Personality, Identity, and Character. Cambridge University Press.
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  40. Anne Querrien (2010). La propriété narrative. Multitudes 2 (2):38-40.
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  41. David Rasmussen (1995). Rethinking Subjectivity: Narrative Identity and the Self. Philosophy and Social Criticism 21 (5-6):159-172.
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  42. Paul Ricoeur (1991). Narrative Identity. Philosophy Today 35 (1):73-81.
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  43. Amy Rosen (2012). Narrative and the Unnarratable: The Role of Narrative in Wellness and Disorder. Emergence: A Journal of Undergraduate Literary Criticism and Creative Research 3.
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  44. Heather Ross (2003). Narrative (Review). Symploke 11 (1):267-269.
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  45. Anthony Rudd (2009). In Defence of Narrative. European Journal of Philosophy 17 (1):60-75.
    Over the last few decades, a number of influential philosophers, psychologists and others have invoked the notion of narrative as having a central role to play in our thinking about ethics and personal identity. More recently, a backlash against these narrative theories has developed, exemplified in work by, for instance, Galen Strawson, Peter Lamarque and John Christman. This paper defends an approach to personal identity and ethics, influenced mainly by Alasdair MacIntyre and Charles Taylor, in which narrative plays a central (...)
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  46. Marya Schechtman (2011). The Narrative Self. In Shaun Gallagher (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of the Self. Oup Oxford.
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  47. Margaret R. Somers (1994). The Narrative Constitution of Identity: A Relational and Network Approach. [REVIEW] Theory and Society 23 (5):605-649.
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  48. Donald P. Spence (2005). Narrative Truth and Identity Formation. In Jürgen Straub (ed.), Narration, Identity, and Historical Consciousness. Berghan Books. 3--120.
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  49. T. Tarockova (2005). Towards the Main Objects of Narrative Psychology. Filozofia 60 (7):490-497.
    The aim of the paper is the examination of the main objects of narrative psychology as related to the research of self-consciousness and personal identity. It focuses on experiencing of the Self and life. Contemporary psychological researches of traumatic events, e. g. chronic or fatal diseases, show the importance of experiencing the unity, meaningfulness, coherence in everyday life. Due to the trauma this feeling is lost and the basic presuppositions concerning the person and world brake down. The narration of one’s (...)
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  50. Wojciech Torzewski (2013). Jaką jesteśmy „historią”? Etyczne rozwinięcie tezy o historyczności człowieka. Filo-Sofija 13 (20).
    Wojciech Torzewski What Kind of ‘History’ are We? – the Historicity of Human from Ethical PerspectiveThis article presents the ethical aspect of the concept of narrative identity, especially in relation to the concept of Charles Taylor. The author makes also attemption to reconstruct the two main objections that can be drawn at this concept. Namely, firstly, the complaint relativization of the ethical and, secondly, the complaint absolutizing ethical perspective. Both objections to the concept of narrative identity shall be regarded as (...)
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