Genealogy and family history have reemerged as a popular interest in the West and its diaspora, fueled in part by the mediatized and commodified portrayal of family history and genetic ancestry as an integral pursuit of self-discovery, and by the accessibility of online genealogical research tools and DNA ancestry testing. Family history has been posited as a way of creating and understanding an existential self that is connected to others, and an integral aspect of constructing identity and feelings of “rootedness” with related others. Despite the current popular interest in family history for identity-work, made highly visible in media and online spaces, in psychology the existential relevance of family history has only been considered within a psychodynamic therapeutic context. While it is clear that family histories are integral to the constitution of narrative identities, further work is needed to clarify how the phenomenological lived body is interpreted through the narratives and discourses on transgenerational family relatedness. The driving phenomenological question of this research was: what is the experience of the lived genealogical body in lifeworlds of transgenerational kinship? To answer this, a critical narrative analysis (CNA) was applied to a diverse collection of online texts which accounted for aspects of the social psychological phenomenon of meaningful family history and transgenerational family relatedness. Using CNA, an existential-hermeneutic narrative method combining phenomenological and psychological approaches to qualitative research, four major streams of narratives and discourses were identified, encompassing 12 phenomenological and psychological themes. These streams are named: Identities, “Ghosts of Memories,” and Histories in the Lived Genealogical Body; Exploring the Genetic Past for the Present and Future; Embodied Cultures of Transgenerational Kin; and Catharsis Through Family Histories. Hermeneutics of suspicion were applied to the two themes of genetic fundamentalism and transgenerational belonging that arose in the data, in order to offer a critique of ideological narratives and discourses which circumscribed the meaning of the lived genealogical body. The results of this research evidence and clarify the theoretical concepts of the lived genealogical body and lifeworlds of transgenerational kinship, and suggest particular phenomenological and psychological themes for future analytical work.
|Commitee:||Langdridge, Darren, du Plock, Simon|
|School:||California Institute of Integral Studies|
|Department:||Integral and Transpersonal Psychology|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-A 82/3(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Existential, Family history, Hermeneutic, Phenomenological method, Psychodynamic, Ricoeur|
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