Review Essay: Narration Theory as Possible Common Denominator of the Humanities


  • Harald Weilnböck Universität Zürich



narratology, psycho-therapy, pedagogy, and social research, clinical psychoanalysis, schizophrenia, literary criticism, interactional linguistics, family research, intercultural communication, operational psychodynamic diagnostics


The compiled conference proceedings touch upon different fields of research in psychotherapy, teaching/consulting, and social research and place them within a narratological framework. The contributions refer not only to resources of qualitative sociology and psychoanalysis, but also in part draw upon literary criticism and interactional linguistics. The array of projects presented reach from narratological analyses of psycho-therapy sessions, interviews with the off-spring of parents afflicted by symptoms of psychosis and diary entries of a schizophrenic person to biographical investigations of the lifespan development of particular psychopathological symptoms as well as genographic reconstructions in family research. A psychoanalytic oral history study working in multi-generational group settings with former followers of National Socialism is presented that would profit from a higher degree of methodological transparency. Research in intercultural communication underlines the importance of the ability to deal with processes of culture-specific counter-transference. A project in organizational psychology presents a narrative technique by which businesses and organisations might better collect and disseminate the informal practical work experiences which have been acquired through collaboration. This reader, by LUIF, THOMA and BOOTHE, underscores the great scientific potential of interdisciplinary narratology and its applications. Its interactional theory will certainly become more consolidated in the future. A highlight of interdisciplinary work is the psychological and linguistic analysis of psycho-therapy transcripts performed by two literary studies researchers who convincingly propose a method of determining narrative (in-)coherence. This makes all the more evident how much the main stream philologies, (which participate only indirectly here), will have to do to catch up with developing interdisciplinary projects. This becomes quite visible within a paper given by physicians that shows the methodological problems of "deconstructionist" approaches. URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0603226


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Author Biography

Harald Weilnböck, Universität Zürich

Harald WEILNBÖCK ist Germanist, Literatur- und Filmwissenschaftler sowie Gruppenanalytiker in freier Praxis; er hat am German Studies Department der University of California in Los Angeles mit einer literaturpsychologischen Arbeit über Friedrich HÖLDERLIN promoviert, habilitiert derzeit zum Thema "Borderline, literarische Interaktion in frühen Kriegsschriften Ernst Jüngers" an der philosophischen Fakultät der Universität Leipzig und führt in der Abteilung der klinischen Psychologie und Narratologie der Universität Zürich ein qualitativ-empirisches Forschungsprojekt der Europäischen Union (sechstes Rahmenprogramm, Marie-Curie) im Bereich der Literatur- und Medienforschung durch: "Narrative media interaction and psycho-trauma therapy". Hierbei werden Methoden und Ansätze der qualitativen Sozialwissenschaft, Tiefenpsychologie und Psychotraumatologie für Fragen der qualitativ-empirischen Literaturforschung in den Sektoren der Rezeptions- und Textanalyse furchtbar gemacht. In der vorangegangenen Ausgabe von FQS findet sich von Harald WEILNBÖCK der Rezensionsaufsatz "Auf dem steinigen Weg zur Einlösung eines lange währenden literaturwissenschaftlichen Desiderats" (



How to Cite

Weilnböck, H. (2006). Review Essay: Narration Theory as Possible Common Denominator of the Humanities. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 7(3).