Versions of this paper were presented at the International Society for the Dialogical Self meeting in Braga, Portugal, in June 2006; at the Center for Family Studies, University of Cambridge, in November 2007; and as a keynote address for the Society for Research in Identity Formation, Washington, D.C., in March 2007. The author wishes to thank Bill Peterson, Avril Thorne, Hanoch Flum, Amia Lieblich, and two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments on earlier drafts of this paper.
The Present of the Past: Dialogues With Memory Over Time
Version of Record online: 13 MAR 2009
© 2009, Copyright the Authors. Journal compilation © 2009, Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Journal of Personality
Volume 77, Issue 3, pages 647–668, June 2009
How to Cite
Josselson, R. (2009), The Present of the Past: Dialogues With Memory Over Time. Journal of Personality, 77: 647–668. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-6494.2009.00560.x
- Issue online: 22 APR 2009
- Version of Record online: 13 MAR 2009
ABSTRACT This study analyzes the self-constructing meanings of an autobiographical episode in the life of one woman told at repeated intervals over 35 years. It demonstrates the ways in which the present constructs the past and shows how autobiographical memory may be used dialogically to create and contrast with current self-constructions, to disavow intolerable aspects of self, and to preserve disused but valued self-representations. Memories, in this sense, operate as texts whose meaning changes as the dialogue within self changes. The meanings of past memories, rather than their contents, are reshaped to hold aspects of a layered, multiple self.