Last updated:
May 19, 2004

Narrative Psychology Search

[Narrative Psychology]

  Theorists and Key Figures


This subpage provides very brief biographical notes regarding individuals who are important theorists, researchers, or contibutors to narrative psychology, the interpretive turn in psychology and the social sciences, and the diverse influences upon narrative which this resource guide details.

Return to Theorists and Key Figures: Index

Theorists/key figures whose names begin with A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Z Y

Theorists & Key Figures
found on this page
Peirce, Charles Sanders (1839-1914)
Plummer, Ken (1946- )
Polkinghorne, Donald K.
Prince, Gerald
Propp, Vladimir I.
Quine, W. V. O. (1908-2000)
Ratner, Carl
Ricoeur, Paul (1913- )
Riessman, Catherine Kohler
Rimmon-Kenan, Shlomit
Runyan, William McKinley
Sarbin, Theodore R. (1911- )
Saussure, Ferdinand de
Schafer, Roy
Scheibe, Karl E. (1937- )
Sedgwick, Edie
Shweder, Richard
Silbey, Susan S.
Singer, Jefferson (1958- )
Spence, Donald P.
Online Resource Sites:   PP Philosophy Pages (Garth Kemerling) SEP Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy  IEP Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
[Homepage Icon] = Homepage of Figure        [Tinysubhead Icon] links to a page within this site MIA Internet Archive 

 [Charles Sanders Peirce]

Peirce, Charles Sanders (1839-1914). PP SEP

American philosopher (pragmatism) and semiotician


Plummer, Kenneth  (1946- )  [Homepage]

Professor of Sociology, University of Essex, UK.

Ken Plummer was born in London on April 4, 1946. After completing his undergraduate work at Enfield College in 1967, he earned a Ph.D. from the London School of Economics in 1973. He first lectured in sociology at Middlesex Polytechnic Institute before joining the University of Essex in 1975 where he continues to teach as a Professor. His fields of interest include what he calls "the sociology and politics of personal life" and he has a particular concern for issues of alternative sexualities (gay and lesbian sexuality, etc.). Upholding a broadly social interactionist perspective, Plummer has concentrated upon sociological research methods employing personal documentary sources (see Plummer, 2001) and is particularly attuned to the voices and stories of individuals from marginalized communities (e.g., Plummer, 1995a, b).

[Icon] Sociology: Bibliography: Kenneth Plummer

Sources: Contemporary Authors Online. (2001). The Gale Group; Plummer Homepage.


Polkinghorne, Donald    [Homepage]

Professor & Fahmy and Donna Attallah Chair in Humanistic Psychology, Division of Counseling Psychology, University of Southern California

  Prince, Gerald
 [V. I. Propp] Propp, Vladimir I.
 [W. V. O. Quine]

Quine, W(illard) V(an) O(rman) (1908-2000) [Homepage Icon] PP

American philosopher, mathematician, and logician, W. V. O. Quine offers a philosophical voice radically at variance with the viewpoint of narrative psychology. Recognized as one of the prime figures of the analytic school of philosophy in the latter half of the 20th century, Quine represents a challenge to narrativists to articulate how a narrative perspective could possibly be seen as a scholarly domain within psychology as a "science". Nonetheless, Quine's own challenge to the dogmatism of logical positivism resonates with many in the narrative perspective.


 Ratner, Carl   [Homepage Icon]

Since 1999, Director, Institute for Cultural Research & Education. 1968-1999 Psychology Department, Humboldt State University, CA.


Ricoeur, Paul (1913- )  PP (scroll down page)

French philosopher and Protestant theologian in the hermeneutic tradition (taught in US at the University of Chicago as well as five other schools in Europe). A student of French philosopher Jean Nabert and the Catholic existentialist, Gabriel Marcel. Author of Time and Memory (3 vols.)
[C K Reissman]
© V Hevern

Riessman, Catherine Kohler

Research Professor of Sociology, Boston College and
Professor Emerita, Boston University

Riessman graduated from Columbia University in 1977 with a Ph.D. in sociomedical science. She taught for many years at Smith College and was named Professor Emerita at Boston University, her later academic venue, on her retirement. She moved to Boston College as a Research Professor where she has continued to work extensively on issues of narrative identity as "crafted and performed" (in her words) when persons face significant disruptions in their lives. A student of Elliot Mishler (she completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School's Department of Psychiatry in 1988), Riessman has focused upon both medical and non-medical contexts in her research. Her work has tended to involve issues of gender identity, illness as it shapes identity, and methodology in interview-based qualitative research. Her small 1993 volume, Narrative Analysis (currently under revision), has been widely used across graduate courses in qualitative research methodology in the United States and elsewhere. In 1998 she served as Chair of the Medical Sociology section of the American Sociological Association. She was married to the social psychologist, Frank Riessman (1924-2004) with whom she had three children. Their marriage ended in divorce.

  Video (RA): A Thrice-Told Tale: Masculinity and Multiple Sclerosis. (+ Discussion). Narrative Medicine Rounds, December 4, 2003.

[Icon] Selected Bibliography

Riessman, C. K. (1987). When gender is not enough: Women interviewing women. Gender & Society, 1(2), 172-207.

Riessman, C. K. (1990). Divorce talk: Women and men make sense of personal relationships. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.

Riessman, C. K. (1990). Strategic uses of narrative in the presentation of self and illness. Social Science & Medicine, 30(11), 1195-1200.

Riessman, C. K. (1993). Narrative Analysis. Qualitative Research Methods Series, No. 30. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

Riessman, C. K. (2002). Accidental cases: Extending the concept of positioning in narrative studies. Narrative Inquiry, 12(1), 37-42.

Riessman, C. K. (2002). Analysis of personal narratives. In J. Gubrium, & J. Holstein (Eds.), Handbook of interview research. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

Riessman, C. K. (2003). Performing identities in illness narrative: Masculinity and multiple sclerosis. Qualitative Research, 3, 5-33.

Sources: Unpublished biographical notice. Narrative Medicine Colloquium, May, 2003. New York: College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University.

[Shlomith Rimmon-Kenan]
© V Hevern

Rimmon-Kenan, Shlomith

Rimmon-Kenan is the Renee Lang Professor of Humanistic Studies and a member of the Departments of English and General and Comparative Literature at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She received her Ph.D. in 1974 from the University of London and began to teach at HU as a lecturer in 1975 (promoted to Senior Lecturer in 1978, Associate Professor in 1981, and Professor in 1990). Her fields of interest are narrative theory, the modern novel, and literature and psychoanalysis. She has served as a visiting professor at Harvard (1990) and the University of Helsinki (1993).

Source: HUJ Faculty Directory


Runyan, William McKinley  [homepage]

Professor, School of Social Welfare, University of California (Berkeley)

[Icon] See separate page for William McK. Runyan


Sarbin, Theodore R. (1911- )

[Icon] See separate page for Theodore R. Sarbin

 [Ferdinand de Saussure] Saussure, Ferdinand de
  Schafer, Roy
 [Karl Scheibe]

Scheibe, Karl E. (1937- )  [Homepage]

Professor of Psychology, Wesleyan University, and Psychotherapist in Private Practice.

Karl Edward Scheibe was born in Illinois on March 5, 1937. He attended Trinity College as an undergraduate and completed a Ph.D. in 1963 at the University of California (Berkeley) with Theodore R. Sarbin as mentor. He began teaching at Wesleyan University that same year as a social psychologist and has remained on its faculty throughout his career. He served as a Fulbright Fellow at the Catholic University in Sao Paolo, Brazil, in both 1972-73 and 1984 and taught as a visiting professor at both the Universities of Brasilia (1968) and Southern California (1974). At Wesleyan, his course, PSY 363 The Dramaturgical Approach to Psychology, has received considerable attention for its use of modern plays, readings in theories of psychology and psychodrama, and selected exercises (such as pantomime and role play) to explore crucial issues in human life (hatred, dependency, etc.)

[Icon] Selected Bibliography: Karl E. Scheibe

Scheibe, K. E. (1979). Mirrors, masks, lies, and secrets: The limits of human predictability. New York: Praeger.

Scheibe, K. E. (1994). Yet another preacher's kid finds psychology. In D. J. Lee (Ed.), Life and story: Autobiographies for a narrative psychology (pp. 39-60). Westport, CT: Praeger.

Scheibe, K. E. (1995). Self studies: The psychology of self and identity. Westport, CT: Praeger.

Scheibe, K. (2000). The drama of everyday life. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Reviews of Scheibe's 2000 book appeared in

  • Bates, S. (2001,Winter). Wilson Quarterly, 25(1), 136-137.
  • Hammersmith, J. P. (2001, Winter). Southern Humanities Review, 94-97.
  • Harré, R. (2000, August 25). Acts of living [Review of The drama of everyday life. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press]. Science, 289(5483), 1303-1304. ("Psychologists won't listen [to his dramaturgical analysis-Ed.] because they are locked into their own little boxes. Like the apocryphal savants at Pisa who refused to look through Galileo's telescope, they will not read Scheibe's fascinating and subtle book. The loss is theirs." (p. 1304)
  • Henry, M. (2001). Research in Drama Education, 6(1), 119-121.

Allen, V. L., & Scheibe, K. E. (Eds.). The social context of conduct: Psychological writings of Theodore Sarbin. New York: Praeger.

Ruark, J. K. (2000, May 26). The drama of everyday life [Interview of Karl E. Scheibe]. Chronicle of Higher Education, 46(38), p. A24.

Sarbin, T. R., & Scheibe, K. E. (Eds.). (1983). Studies in social identity. New York: Praeger.

SYLLABUS: Psychology 363 Wesleyan University. "The dramaturgical approach to psychology." (2000, June 23). Chronicle of Higher Education, 46(42), p. A16.

Sources: Contemporary Authors Online (2002). Gale; Scheibe (1994)

  Sedgwick, Edie

Shweder, Richard A.  [Homepage]

Professor of Human Development, University of Chicago. Cultural anthropologist.

 [Jefferson Singer]

Singer, Jefferson Alan  (1958- )  [Homepage]

Professor of Psychology, Connecticut College. Areas of interest include clinical and personality psychology.

Jefferson Singer completed a double major in English and psychology as an undergraduate at Amherst College. Subsequently, at Yale University he obtained both an M.S. (1983) and M.Phil (1984) in psychology and, after a predoctoral internship (1986-87) at the UCSF School of Medicine, a Ph.D. (1987) in clinical psychology. He returned to UCSF as a postdoctoral fellow for a year (1987-88) and then joined the faculty of Connecticut College in 1988. In addition to his ongoing teaching and extensive research program at Connecticut, Singer has served both as Director of the Holleran Center for Community Action and Public Policy and as Chair of its Psychology Department. Licensed as a clinical psychologist, Singer has worked both in an agency setting (he was staff psychologist for the Southeastern (CT) Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence during 1989-1997) and in private practice. In the Fall, 2003, he traveled to the United Kingdom as a Fulbright Distinguished Scholar to conduct research on autobiographical memory and personality at the University of Durham with Dr. Martin Conway and others.

His 1987 dissertation, Affective Responses to Autobiographical Memories and Their Relationship to Life Goals, focused upon a topic which he has continued to explore in subsequent research: the relationship between memory, autobiography, and emotion. Singer's work has led him to posit a particular kind of autobiographical memory -- one which he terms "self-defining" -- that is crucial in the development of personal identity. These self-defining autobiographical memories (SDMs) have five distinguishing characteristics: they are "vivid, affectively intense, repetitively recalled, linked to other similar memories, and focused on an enduring concern or unresolved conflict of the personality" (Singer & Blagov, 2003). SDMs arise within an individual's working self-system and are integratively linked to the schemas of a person's life story/stories.

Singer's clinical experience has also shaped his understanding of narrative and its role in the evolution and treatment of disorders. His 1997 book, Message in a Bottle, reported in narrative form the results of focused life history interviews (2-3 hours) with men whose alcoholism and other addictions had generally defied successful treatment by traditional 12-Step approaches. Singer suggests that the prototypical scripts associated with AA-type explanations for alcoholism are simply too narrow to apply to some chronic adicts. Their alienation and disrupted identity are too profound for the traditional "disease" concept of alcoholism to serve as the basis of effective recovery. His 1997 volume and other work (Singer, 2001) have advanced clinical case methodology by an explicit attention to the explanatory potential of the life story of individuals to clarify clinical diagnostic and therapeutic dilemmas. Singer has been strongly influenced in his work by the general life story theory of adult development of Dan McAdams whose methods of interview research he had adapted and extended.

Singer's father, Jerome, is the well-known Yale psychologist and theorist of consciousness and emotions. His mother, Dorothy Singer, is a Senior Research Scientist in the Yale Department of Psychology and Co-Director of the Yale University Family Television Research and Consultation Center. Her research has focused on early childhood development, the effects of television on development, and parent-child interactions.

[Icon] Selected Bibliography: Jefferson A. Singer

Blagov, P. A., & Singer, J. A. (2004). Four dimensions of self-defining memories (specificity, meaning, content, and affect) and their relationships to self-restraint, distress, and repressive defensiveness. Journal of Personality, 72(3), 481-511.

Singer, J. A. (1995). Seeing oneself: A framework for the study of autobiographical memory in personality. Journal of Personality, 63, 429-457.

Singer, J. A. (1997). Message in a bottle: Stories of men and addiction. New York: Free Press.

Singer, J. A. (2001). Living in the amber cloud: A life story analysis of a heroin addict. In D. P. McAdams, R. Josselson, & A. Lieblich (Eds.), Turns in the road: Narrative studies of lives in transition (pp. 253-277). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Singer, J. A. (2004). A love story: Self-defining memories in couples therapy. In A. Lieblich, D. P. McAdams, & R. Josselson (Eds), Healing plots: The narrative basis of psychotherapy (pp. 189-208). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. (a)

Singer, J. A. (2004). Narrative identity and meaning making across the adult lifespan: An introduction. Journal of Personality, 72(3), 437-459.
Singer, J. A., & Blagov, P. (2003, August). Self-defining memories: The link between memory and meaning in psychotherapy. In L. E. Angus (Chair), Narrative experession and psychotherapeutic change. Symposium conducted at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association, Toronto, Canada.

Singer, J. A., & Bluck, S. (2001). New perspectives on autobiographical memory: The integration of narrative processing and autobiographical reasoning. Review of General Psychology, 5(2), 91-99.

Singer, J.A., & Salovey, P. (1993). The remembered self: Emotion, memory, and personality. New York: Free Press.


Sources: US/UK Fulbright Commission (2003); Jefferson A. Singer (personal communication); Singer, J. A. & Blagov, P. (2003).


Silbey, Susan S.   [Homepage]

Professor of Sociology & Anthropology, MIT

  Spence, Donald P.

When citing this document, you may wish to consider this form for the reference (derived from APA Style [5th ed.])

Hevern, V. W. (2004, March). Theorists and key fgures: P-Q-R-S. Narrative psychology: Internet and resource guide. Retrieved [enter date] from the Le Moyne College Web site:

     Narrative Psychology: Internet and Resource Guide
is copyright © 1996-2004 by Vincent W. Hevern, SJ, all rights reserved.

No portion of this guide may be reproduced or used for commercial or other purposes without the express written consent of the author.