UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The ecology of identity : memoir and the construction of narrative Armstrong, Luanne Aileen


My dissertation is an inquiry into issues of life-writing, narrative, and, in particular, into the genre of memoir, and into the theory, complexities and strategies of memoir as a particular space within the larger genre of autobiographical writing. Writing a personal narrative and then examining the process of that writing raises questions and challenges about such issues as ethics, identity, experience, memory, subjectivity, storytelling, and the interpretation, meaning and place of stories within our current culture. This dissertation is a discursive, dialogic conversation between my process and my understanding as an active, practicing literary writer, and as a researcher inquiring into that process and into the knowledge and new awareness that can be generated by the process of inquiry into life writing, autobiography and memoir. It is also an autoethnographic and experiential inquiry in which I explore my own experience from the multiple positions of rural working class woman, single parent mother, political activist, writer and researcher. However, the pronoun "I" is also a position from which I can articulate some of the experiential, collaborative, and collusive positionality that has shaped my personal notion of selfhood. My research and writing is about (re)cognition, about memoir in particular, and narrative and storytelling as the construction and reconstruction of various texts and the various interpretations that can result from such an analytic and critical study of this process. Within this narrative, autobiographical and theoretical inquiry, my dissertation intends to add to new knowledge of autobiographical writing and its theoretical and ethical dimensions.

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