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Identity, Narrative, and Lived Experience after Postmodernity: Between Multiplicity and Continuity

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The concept of multiplicity describes the fluid nature of identity and experience in the wake of postmodernity. Yet the question of how we negotiate and maintain our identities, despite our multiplicities, requires phenomenological clarification. I suggest that recognition of multiplicity needs to be combined with an acknowledgement of continuity, however minimal. I maintain that this continuity is evidenced in our pre-reflective self-awareness, embodiment and habitual activities. Our authorship of life narratives and our ability to deliberate and shape our identities takes place against the background of our lived, prereflective experience. I develop the notion of prereflective self-awareness using the work of Sartre, Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty. I suggest that prereflective self-awareness, embodiment and habitual activity are themselves shaped by our participation in sociocultural frameworks that give meaning to our lives.

Affiliations: 1: Simon Fraser University

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