Being Fred: Big stories, small stories and the accomplishment of a positive ageing identity
Sparkes, Andrew C.
This article is informed by recent trends in narrative research that focus on the meaning-making actions of those involved in describing the life course. Drawing upon data generated during a series of interactive interviews with a 70-year-old physically active man named Fred, his story is presented to illustrate a strategic model of narrative activity. In particular, using the concepts of `big stories' and `small stories' as an analytical framework, we trace Fred's use of two specific identities; being fit and healthy , and being leisurely to analyse the ways that he accomplishes an ontological narrative where the plot line reads; `Life is what you make it'. The ways in which this narrative enables Fred to perform a narrative of positive self-ageing in his everyday life is illustrated. Finally, the analytical possibilities of being attentive to both big and small stories in narrative analysis are discussed.
This is a postprint of an article published in Qualitative Research, Volume 9 (2), 83 - 99. © 2009 copyright SAGE Publications. Qualitative Research is available online at: http://www.uk.sagepub.com/journals.nav
Qualitative Research, 2009, 9 (2), 219-236