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Personal History, Beyond Narrative: an Embodied Perspective

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Narrative theories currently dominate our understanding of how selfhood is constituted and concretely individuated throughout personal history. Despite this success, the narrative perspective has recently been exposed to a range of critiques. Whilst these critiques have been effective in pointing out the shortcomings of narrative theories of selfhood, they have been less willing and able to suggest alternative ways of understanding personal history. In this article, I assess the criticisms and argue that an adequate phenomenology of personal history must also go beyond narrative. Drawing on a distinction between history and narrative, I outline an account of historical becoming through a process of sedimentation and a rich notion of what I call historical selfhood on an embodied level. Five embodied existentials are suggested, sketching a preliminary understanding of how selves are concretely individuated on a pre-narrative level.

Affiliations: 1: Aarhus University, Department of Educational Psychology


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