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Fragmented Selves in Late Modernity: Making Sociological Sense of Multiple Personalities

Опубликовано на портале: 22-03-2007
Sociological Review. 1999.  Vol. 47. No. 3. P. 432-460. 
Sociological responses to the increase in recent years of psychiatric reports of multiple personality (latterly redefined as Dissociative Identity Disorder) have focused upon its discursive production as a diagnostic category. Drawing on life-history interviews with survivors of extreme childhood abuse - some of whom defined themselves as having 'multiple personalities' - this paper suggests that an adequate sociological account needs to combine analysis of the popular and clinical discourses of dissociation/multiplicity, with an understanding of the relationship between these and particular individual auto/biographies. The production of a narrative of fragmented subjectivity is considered as an active engagement with previously denied and silenced autobiographical experience and with the dominant contemporary discourse that allows for the episodic denial of self-reflexive selfhood. In the light of DID diagnoses being largely applied to/adopted by women, questions are raised concerning the possible impact of the adoption of a multiple identity on individual integrity and autonomy.
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