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Table of Contents

Preface 1. Studying the Lives and Work of Craftartists: Identity and Narrative 2. Sources and Routes: Variable Pathways in Identity Formation 3. Contingencies and Turning Points: Discontinuities in the Life Course 4. Tensions and Contradictions: Revisiting Claims for Coherence in Life Stories 5. Identities in/as Relationships within the Family and at Work 6. Narrative Studies of Identity: A Forward Look Notes References

Promotional Information

In the last two decades, there has been a significant shift in the study of persons and social life, away from counted-data methods to a focus on the life-story or narrative. Much of this shift has been a result of Elliot Mishler's pioneering contributions. In this newest book, Mishler explores the meaning of the 'hand-made' for artisans devoting their lives to crafts, and in the process, enlarges both theory and method of human science study. This is truly a fascinating, sophisticated, and important study and one unique in showing the significance of taking seriously a reflexive and dialogic perspective in the study of identity. -- Bertram J. Cohler, University of Chicago

About the Author

Elliot G. Mishler is Professor of Social Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.


Storylines is as much a narrative of Elliot Mishler's love affair with the crafts and his own craft as a researcher in narratives of identity, as it is a richly textured account of the creative forces in the lives of the five craft artists he interviewed. On the basis of these interviews...[he] concludes that life narratives are not factual histories of the past but rather constructions that can only emerge in the dialogic process of talking about one's life trajectory and personal identity to a participant listener...Mishler's celebration of the craft artist and non-alienated labor is eloquently moral and well worth the effort...Expect to be alternately enchanted, challenged, bewildered, sometimes even disoriented and finally enlightened. -- Louise J. Kaplan American Craft In this case, the researcher's affinity with the artists' lives is clear and, to my mind, makes the work on theory more readable and more credible because it emerges from Mishler's own story...ultimately, readers can learn more about difference from a researcher like Mishler, who has carved from more than a decade's research an unusual book that is both personal and professional in scope, philosophy, and evidence. -- Claire Badaracco Journal of Communication

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