A basic premise in narrative therapy and inquiry is that life story telling is a mechanism by which experiences are rendered meaningful within some form of structure. However, narrative inquiry has to take cognisance of difficulties ensuing from discursive practices for different populations when eliciting their life stories. In this article I explicate a unique method, the Collage Life story Elicitation Technique (CLET), geared towards scaffolding life story remembering. Based on the theoretical underpinnings of social constructionism (Gergen, 2000), symbolic interactionism (Berg, 2009) and performative strategies in social science research the CLET provides a mode of expression and narrative performance for positioning the dialogical self. As the individual engages in collage-making and narrating, cognitive, motivational and affective aspects of autobiographical memories emerge while telling her or his life story. Different forms of positioning in the dialogical self and significant attachments to people, objects and life events co-exist in the verbal and non-verbal communications elicited with this technique. As suggested by the pilot study, the CLET provides a structure within which non-English speaking participants could explore multiple forms of positioning in the dialogical self without the restrictions of a verbal interview conversation.


Dialogical Self, Positioning, Life Story Remembering, Autobiographical Memories, Narrative Performance, Representation Strategies, and Scaffolding

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