Personal narratives and policy: Never the twain?

Journal of Philosophy of Education 42 (s1):121-143 (2008)
In this article the extent to which stories and personal narratives can and should be used to inform education policy is examined. A range of studies describable as story or personal narrative is investigated. They include life-studies, life-writing, life history, narrative analysis, and the representation of lives. We use 'auto/biography' as a convenient way of grouping this range under one term. It points to the many and varied ways that accounts of self interrelate and intertwine with accounts of others. That is, auto/biography illuminates the social context of individual lives. At the same time it allows room for unique, personal stories to be told. We do not explicitly discuss all the different forms of auto/biography. Rather, we investigate the epistemology underlying the personal story in the context of social action. We discuss the circumstances in which a story may validly be used by educational policy makers and give some examples of how they have done so in the past.
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