Allegiance and Childhood Narratives

The reason why allegiance become so important in children is that the narrative of the family fundamentally determines how a child (and the parents, too, but certainly the parents) sees his or her own self fitting within the larger framework of adult society.  As Alice Miller writes in The Gifted Child, “I had completed two…

Allegiance to Social Identity

“Allegiance,” as I’m seeing it, is about a deeper affinity that mere alliance, and it’s a bit different from relationship.  Relationship would be that your life (or fate, or destiny) is tied to the life of another.  A child has a relationship with parents, a CEO has a relationship with the corporation.  But relationship does…

Allegiance, King of the Hill, and the Telephone Game

Autobiography within the frameworks of Berlant’s intimate publics becomes a telephone game.  “Normative” expectations become warped as informational integrity becomes attenuated.  One person says something, then another person has to say something “more real” (i.e. more extreme) as a way to maintain authority within a shifting political framework. This doesn’t always happen.  People like Ghandi,…

Personal Narratives and Self-Help

Perhaps one of the most important genre conventions of self help books is the personal narrative. In some cases, the personal narrative is used to describe the authors past life, past mistakes, and past successes – this personal narrative is meant as a kind of resume to support the author’s position as an authority figure.…

Self-Help Books Use Personal Narratives from Therapeutic Settings

I have trouble “trusting” books by Susan Forward and some others because the examples seem rather inflammatory, possibly even exaggerated.  But the experiences described are very, very relatable – clearly effective rhetorically due to that sense of interpersonal resonance, but does this also indicate epistemic validity?  Is the ethos “real” as in authentic?  Or manufactured…

Montaigne’s “good witness”

Michel de Montaigne indicates a distrust of witnesses who are sophisticated enough to bend and manipulate a story to fit a preconceived point of view, individuals who “cannot help changing their story a little in order to make their views triumph and be more persuasive” (6): That man of mine was a simple, rough fellow…

Schwartzkopf – It Doesn’t Take a Hero

General Schwarzkopf’s autobiography opens with the mention that he was shaped by emotion – by Vietnam and his mother’s alcoholism as much as by his father being a general (x).  And I wonder now if it it was his experience in Vietnam that led to what I would consider a “conservative” approach to Desert Shield…