“In taking up the topic of ethics and narrative inquiry, The Narrative Study of Lives rightfully establishes itself as the site where the most critical theoretical, methodological, and interpretive work on narrative in the human disciplines is now occurring. The editor and the contributors to this volume are to be thanked for their deeply probing, forward-looking analyses of the ethical problems that arise when researchers produce narratives about persons with whom close personal relationships have been formed.” --Norman K. Denzin, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign “All of us who work with life-history narratives are grateful to Dr. Josselson and her colleagues for moving us step-by-step toward a discipline with definable ethics and methodology, and at the same time holding up for us the incredible diversity of ...
Chapter 18: Ethics and Narratives
Ethics and Narratives
At first sight, stories seem to be of little relevance to ethicists. Stories are about concrete events and experiences, whereas ethicists look for universal rules. Moreover, stories are presented in a descriptive way, whereas ethical norms are prescriptive. Of course, ethicists have often shown interest in stories. They have used stories to illustrate the point of general rules or to enlarge their plausibility by giving them a basis in history. In both cases, however, the story was regarded as secondary to the ethical rule that was at stake.
Recently, several ethicists have expressed a more fundamental interest in stories. They claim that ethical issues cannot be dealt with unless one thoroughly knows the situation and focuses on the ...