NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ1014996
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Aug
Pages: 16
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0741-7136
If the Self Is a Text, What Genre Is It? Structure and Ideology in Narratives of Adult Learning
Michelson, Elana
Adult Education Quarterly: A Journal of Research and Theory, v63 n3 p199-214 Aug 2013
In this article, the author argues that the narrative forms imposed on students closely follow the narrative conventions of the "Bildungsroman," the novel of human emergence that has traditionally been associated with what educators of adults would call experiential learning. The author's presenting question--If the self is a text, what genre is it?--is the literary form of the question of where the life narratives valorized in adult learning originate, why they appear to be unmediated and authentic, and what ideological meaning they carry. The author further argues that students are expected to reproduce quite particular narrative conventions: the use of the past to explain the present, and vice versa; memory as a form of psychic coherence; a double plot that has an echo in a split protagonist; and the erasure of social conflict. In the conclusion, the author briefly focuses on magical realism as an alternative narrative of experience. (Contains 10 notes.)
SAGE Publications. 2455 Teller Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91320. Tel: 800-818-7243; Tel: 805-499-9774; Fax: 800-583-2665; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Adult Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A