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The bricolage of the here: young people's narratives of identity in the countryside

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Memories are crucial to our construction of place. They simultaneously offer an anchor for identity and different temporalities to encounters with landscapes. Memory allows different spaces, pasts, and futures to become embedded in particular locales. Yet the spontaneous assemblages of meaning that memory enables are not apolitical. Thus the mechanisms and processes by which meaning is articulated in these encounters are fundamental to our understandings of place. This paper, therefore, brings together the work of Henri Bergson on memory and Paul Ricoeur on narrative, to examine the stories individuals produce which define the self. By drawing on research into the lives of young people in the countryside, the paper does three things: it discusses the role of memory in creating identity; it examines the political process of narrative by which memories become woven into understandings of place and create a bricolage of the here; and finally, it offers the 'storied-self' as a resolution of the competing constructions and experiences of personal continuity and the inconsistencies and constant change in the project of the individual.

Keywords: identity; memory; narrative; storied-self; youth

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter, Cornwall, UK 2: Centrum for Genusvetenskap, Uppsala, Sweden

Publication date: 2011-03-01

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