Faculty Books and Book Chapters

An Interpretive Poetics of Languages of the Unsayable

An Interpretive Poetics of Languages of the Unsayable

Book Title

Making Meaning of Narratives


Ruthellen Josselson; Amia Lieblich


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Document Type

Book Chapter


The most challenging aspect of narrative research is to find and select stories that go beyond “a good story” to some kind of wider, theoretical meaning or implication. How can we know what is good work in narrative research if there are no methodological commandments? How can nonlinear concepts, such as persuasiveness, credibility, and insightfulness be measured? Exploring these provocative questions, the contributors to this volume examine such issues as the various guides to doing qualitative research, how scholars from two different disciplines (psychology and literature) respond to an analysis of several autobiographies that were published and analyzed by a third scholar, how to make meaning of narrative interviews by considering the problem of interpreting what is not said, how cultural meanings and values (particularly about gender) are transmitted across generations, the transformational power of stories within social organizations and the use of these stories as an agent of change, and more. The papers in this volume come from five countries (United States, Finland, Holland, Israel, and England) and five disciplines (criminology, literature studies, nursing, psychology, and sociology). These chapters will spur and support the quest for understanding through narrative and reflect the many ways to approach this type of research.


credibility, culture, insightfulness, meaning-making, persuasion, qualitative research, storytelling, values



Publication Date



SAGE Publications, Inc


Thousand Oaks, California



An Interpretive Poetics of Languages of the Unsayable
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