Cover: Storylines: Craftartists' Narratives of Identity, from Harvard University PressCover: Storylines in PAPERBACK


Craftartists' Narratives of Identity

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$36.00 • £31.95 • €32.95

ISBN 9780674015869

Publication Date: 09/01/2004

Academic Trade

208 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches


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Storylines is as much a narrative of Elliot Mishler’s love affair with the crafts and his own craft as a researcher in narratives of identity, as it is a richly textured account of the creative forces in the lives of the five craft artists he interviewed. On the basis of these interviews...[he] concludes that life narratives are not factual histories of the past but rather constructions that can only emerge in the dialogic process of talking about one’s life trajectory and personal identity to a participant listener...Mishler’s celebration of the craft artist and non-alienated labor is eloquently moral and well worth the effort....Expect to be alternately enchanted, challenged, bewildered, sometimes even disoriented and finally enlightened.—Louise J. Kaplan, American Craft

In the last two decades, there has been a significant shift in the study of persons and social life, away from counted-data methods to a focus on the life-story or narrative. Much of this shift has been a result of Elliot Mishler’s pioneering contributions. In this newest book, Mishler explores the meaning of the ’hand-made’ for artisans devoting their lives to crafts, and in the process, enlarges both theory and method of human science study. This is truly a fascinating, sophisticated, and important study and one unique in showing the significance of taking seriously a reflexive and dialogic perspective in the study of identity.—Bertram J. Cohler, University of Chicago

In this case, the researcher’s affinity with the artists’ lives is clear and, to my mind, makes the work on theory more readable and more credible because it emerges from Mishler’s own story…ultimately, readers can learn more about difference from a researcher like Mishler, who has carved from more than a decade’s research an unusual book that is both personal and professional in scope, philosophy, and evidence.—Claire Badaracco, Journal of Communication

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