The threads of a narrative: An exploration of identity

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Grant Thomas Ryan, Master of Narrative Therapy and Community Work, Master of Counselling and Applied Psychotherapy, Bachelor of Science (Psychology). 



This theoretical paper begins by briefly exploring the structuralist and romantic ideas underpinning the modern concept of identity. The paper then attempts to shift away from this influence of modernity towards a post-modern view of identity through social constructionism. The paper continues by examining the role discourses and narratives play in the construction of identity through the use of the metaphor of interweaving threads and patchworks. The construction of identity is then further examined through positioning theory; identification, ideologies, and power. Finally, the influence of language on the construction of identity is addressed with specific reference to Jacques Derrida’s concepts of différance and deconstruction as well as their adaptation to therapeutic practices. The paper concludes that identity can be conceptualised as a metaphor of threads and patchworks that are relational and contextually dependent, and that it is through the use of discourses and narratives that identity is constructed. 


Keywords: identity, social construction, narrative, discourses, positioning, ideologies


Address for correspondence:
Grant Thomas Ryan
Email: grant.t.ryan@outlook.com