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Comments on Linda Garro's Narrating Troubling Experiences

Transcultural Psychiatry , Volume 40 (1): 44 – Mar 1, 2003


Sage Publications
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Comments on Linda Garro's Narrating Troubling Experiences


TPS 40-1 02 Adelson (dm/d) 3/20/03 11:51 AM Page 44 transcultural psychiatry March COMMENTARY Comments on Linda Garro's Narrating Troubling Experiences NAOMI ADELSON York University Garro examines anthropology's contribution to studies of the self and the narrative process as an integral component of interpreting and relating particular troubling experiences. More specifically, Garro revisits Hallow- ell's old stomping grounds, re-examining both his ethnographic domain and his theories of the cultural self in light of contemporary re-evaluations of theories of the self and her own more recent ethnographic studies among the Anishinaabeg (Ojibwa). Through her analysis of narratives of self-related experiences, Garro concludes that `subjunctive possibilities' ultimately frame subjective experience. In other words, while Hallowell originally broke new theoretical ground by linking cultural specificity to notions of the self, Garro removes the invisible yet highly problematic strongbox of cultural distinctiveness from his original contribution, offering a far more dynamic and hence more judicious resource in the concept of `cultural processes.' Garro's assessment and conclusions are based on her own study of narratives of troubling experiences and more specifically, the various ways in which Anishinaabe sickness is incorporated into peoples' life-worlds and their interpretations of those worlds. Garro's conclusion that `cultural
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