Facts/Fictions Challenges of Authority and Authenticity in the Study of Family Stories
Kevin Roy, Sam Allen, Laura Golojuch; Presider: Isaac Washburn
About the Session
“The narrative turn” seems to have swept into and transformed many aspects of our science and even our daily lives. In this discussion-based workshop on family stories, we explore the seam that both distinguishes and joins the facts and the fictions of the narratives that we tell about our families. In doing qualitative research with families, how do we struggle with the malleability of memory? Can stories be taken as “fact” if they have meaning outside of “what really happened”? What is the purpose of an account of an individual storyteller, if not identity? Who is the authority for stories told by groups – like families with complicated membership? And, given these challenges, how can we do “better research” with family stories? In preparation for this session we ask participants to read The good story: Exchanges on truth, fiction, and psychotherapy (Coetzee & Kurtz, 2015). This will not be a book club discussion, but we will use concepts from the authors’ discussion to inform and enhance our understanding of how to conduct rigorous research and even effective therapy.