Narrative Conscience and the Autoethnographic Adventure Probing Memories, Secrets, Shadows, and Possibilities

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Christopher N. Poulos, Associate Professor & Department Head (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:

Abstract: This article explores the common practice in families of keeping secrets close, allowing them to develop a life of their own. The problem with this practice is that the secrets often won‘t stay put, emerging into everyday life as (sometimes unwelcome) interruptions in the flow of healthy living. Indeed, secrets and memories—if they remain untold stories—may, at times, be crippling. In this article, the author discusses the process of storying family secrets as a way to engage personal and family healing. In the writing of autoethnographic research, the relationship between the researcher and his or her significant others becomes a primary locus of ethical action. Relational research ethics, informed by narrative conscience, calls the researcher to embrace new layers of complexity in the search for the right story, written with care, while offering narrative and dialogic methodologies for dealing with the dilemmas that come with the territory.

Additional Information

Qualitative Inquiry 14:1, 46-66.
Language: English
Date: 2008
Autoethnography, Deception, Ethics, Memory, Secret, Shadow, Silence, Story

Email this document to