Deborah de Muijnck - Post-Conflict Narratives


Post-Conflict Narratives: (Re-)Constructing Narrative Identity after Trauma

In her dissertation, Deborah de Muijnck combines cognitive and empirical approaches towards narratology. Her work tackles the question of how we (re-)construct narrative identities in non-fictional, autobiographical storytelling to form a (seemingly) coherent self and how the disruptive experience of contingency can be interwoven narratively to form a (relatively) stable, trans-temporal form of selfhood. To this date, there is no existing model for literary scholars to practically analyse narrative identity. Furthermore, the terms ‘identity’ and ‘selfhood’ are often used interchangeably, although branches within psychology suggest that these two are not just different concepts, but are situated at different levels in the human being. In her dissertation, Deborah proposes a model, which guides literary scholars in their analysis of narrative identities and the narrative self in non-fictional, autobiographical stories.

The model is applied to a qualitative study using narrative inquiry to analyse post-conflict narratives of English native speaking soldiers and veterans. The aim of the interview study is to emphasise the applicability of the model of the narrative self and how narrative is used to manifest a stable, trans-temporal narrative sense of self even after the experience of extreme contingency.