Fictional narratives and identity change: Three pathways through which stories influence the Dialogical Self

I.M. Brokerhof*, P.M. Bal, Paul G. W. Jansen, Omar N. Solinger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

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Fictional narratives have the potential to influence people who read, view or listen to them. A body of studies has found that stories can change people’s identity or sense of self. This chapter proposes a theoretical model conceptualizing the impact of fictional narrative experiences on the dialogical self. Three pathways are proposed through which stories influence identity: a personal pathway (through fictional role models and possible selves), a cultural pathway (by offering narrative themes and structures used in interpersonal and intrapersonal self-dialogue) and a reflective pathway (when stories increase self-awareness and help people to adopt or switch between alternative selves or I-positions). The objective of this chapter is to introduce a new model to explain the impact of narrative fiction on the self, grounded in Dialogical Self Theory, which can shed a new light on the processes that underlie this impact.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDialogical Self
Subtitle of host publicationinspirations, considerations and research
EditorsMałgorzata M. Puchalska-Wasy, Piotr K. Oleś, Hubert J.M. Hermans
Place of PublicationLublin
PublisherTowarzystwo Naukowe Katolickiego Uniwersytetu Lubelskiego Jana Pawła II
Number of pages29
ISBN (Print)9788373068131
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Fictional narratives
  • Narrative impact
  • Dialogical Self Theory
  • Identity
  • Narratives
  • Fiction
  • Novels
  • Movies
  • Career identity


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