Identity and Agency in care narratives

Francesca Alby


The article analyzes the narratives produced within a support group for cancer patients and family members conducted with the analytical psychodrama device. On the basis of observational reports of the meetings, it is described how this 'support' is configured and realized in the sequential unfolding of the narratives produced by the group members and the director. The analysis revealed the polyphonic narrative structure of the device highlighting how the narratives of the director mark the passages, the turning points in the narrative sequence. By examining some dimensions of the narratives (topics, voices, temporality), we realize how specific configurations and narrative sequences play two functions at the same time: building both the agency and the subjectivation of the speaker and the belonging to a wider group (family, humanity, group of patients). These trajectories of action, presented in the literature as distinct and alternative, appear to be pursued simultaneously in the same narrative sequence. Application potentials, possible developments and limitations of the present study are discussed in conclusion.


narratives; agency; identity; support groups; oncology; analytical psychodrama

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  ISSN PRINT: 1125-5196  -   ISSN ONLINE: 1974-4854