Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Narrative identity in Paul Ricoeur and Luce Irigaray: The circularity between self and other
by Farren, Katrina Mcneely, Ph.D., Michigan Technological University, 2010, 229; 3403377
Abstract (Summary)

In its broadest terms, this dissertation seeks to explore the conditions for the possibility of human flourishing beyond mere survival through the study of narrative identity. It is grounded in the notion that our understanding of narrative identity can affect human relationship: personally, culturally, and globally, and can move us beyond mere survival into a more flourishing life.

In this project, I explore the strengths and shortcomings of the traditional theory of narrative identity as developed by narrative theorist Paul Ricoeur. Although Ricoeur understands that our lives become more readable and understandable when considered through narrative, he neglects the ways in which gender, class, and race affect our ability to create our own narrative identities. Such identity categories also affect the ways in which we relate to others. I turn to Luce Irigaray’s theory of sexual difference to build upon and extend Ricoeur’s theory of narrative identity, making it more flexible, pertinent, and useful.

In Chapter One, I introduce the reader to the theoretical backgrounds of Paul Ricoeur and Luce Irigaray. In Chapter Two I introduce narrative identity and what it means to look at our lives in terms of narrative, especially when viewed in terms of the Flourishing-versus-Survival Continuum. In Chapter Three I explore the benefits, concerns, and critiques of mapping narrative elements, particularly Mimesis, onto human existence. Chapter Four addresses the difficulties of identity through Ricoeur’s twin concepts of idem and ipse identity. I introduce the double gyres of circularity to illustrate the relationship between self and other and our need for the other in order to exist as a self. In Chapter Five I assert that while Ricoeur recognizes our need for the other in order to exist as a self, he neglects to examine the ways in which we revolve around the other. Irigaray’s theory of sexual difference addresses this shortcoming, thereby extending the theory of narrative identity and making it useful for personal, collective, and global transformation. In the Conclusion I illustrate how narrative identity can be useful for transformation, using examples from the classroom, an international tutoring center, and family life.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Bostic, Heidi
Commitee: Green, Sarah, Johnson, Robert, Seigel, Matt
School: Michigan Technological University
Department: Humanities
School Location: United States -- Michigan
Source: DAI-A 71/06, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Philosophy, Technical Communication
Keywords: Irigaray, Luce, Mimesis, Narrative identity, Other, Ricoeur, Paul, Self
Publication Number: 3403377
ISBN: 978-1-109-76878-7
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