Sept. 28, Narratives and choice



Ja. Ju, would you say that one can choose everything in life?

Ju.    Eeeer, well … actually I cannot properly understand what do you mean by saying  everything in life”, but I assume that there are several issues that cannot be changed or chosen.

Ja.  You mean choices like the nationality you were born to? Or even gender?

Ju.  I think gender can be changed, sometimes it is consider only as a social frame. I am not so sure talking about nationality, but I feel as if it’s a private thing and one can decide whether he is able to change it or not.

According to out todays lecture Annamaria told is that the nationality is given and can be chosen.
What about other things what’s your attitude towards identity creation process and if there are any limitation of possibilities to decide about your life and ways of self- developing?

Ja. The conditions and let’s call it –  the surroundings –  of your birth and how you grow up have a strong influence of what kind of choices you can make. I also think that the term of „having a choice” is also limited to a very privileged group that lives in the so called “western hemisphere”. For instance people that grow up in areas like Cambodia or in the sub-Saharan area very often don’t achieve their simplest dreams. And even in this western hemisphere they are lots and lots of people who don’t archive a stage like us and can have choices that we make. In the lecture she gave examples of ways out of this feeling of powerlessness, like solidarity or support from friends I thought as to simple. What do you think? What else do you think was important?

Ju. Speaking about power and powerlessness I agree these are two feelings that exist in ingroup-outgroup narration. What I believe is far more important, is the fact that existing in a group people tend to preserve their positive self´-image.. That’s the most important common feeling inside a group. It can also causes problems when the positive self image is threatened, because that’s when people strongly tend to fix it and sometimes ways of solving this innergroup conflict is a beginning of a between – groups conflict.  So what about pride and shame do these two also correlate with keeping high positive image of a group?

Ja. I think yes. Speaking about pride, I think it is the kit that builds groups. If you are proud of your collective it may help you to find your identity. This applies to nations but also to a group of friends. Shame as the opposite can also be constitutive for a group. But I don’t think that pride and shame should be the only things that are important for creating your individual identity. For example the pride to be part of a nation seems for me kind of irrational, but that’s another point. But I feel to describe pride and shame as pure opposites is not precise enough. Can those both be described as a process?

Ju. According to Lory Britt and David Heise (1997) feelings of shame and pride can be reffered as a part of a continuous process of pleasure and displeasure axis. Shame is responsible for emotion of fear, fear that is not spoken out becomes anger and then as the strongest feeling and motivation to feel good and pleasant becomes pride.
That structure gives as more complete view on how complex is the whole issue that includes pride on one and shame on another side of group emotions.

Ja. That’s a good explanation, indeed. Let’s say something together for the ending ok?


Ju. Ok?
Ja. Ok!

Ju.Ja. Several days after a lecture we have some mixed feelings towards its main message, we strongly believe that some statements were just a shortcuts, but the way they were presented gives us an impression of simplyfing some crucial complex processes.

Ju.Ja. Krzyżowa; Warszawa; Frankfurt.

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