Reconstructing silenced biographical issues through feeling-facts

Dan Bar-On, Elke Rottgardt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The undiscussible within daily discourse can have intentional and unintentional forms. The first occurs when someone intentionally gears the discourse so that it will not reveal certain facts which have happened (such as being an abused child, or a perpetrator during the Holocaust). We assume that even if they were difficult to reconstruct as part of one's biography, these facts could be verified externally (not only through the feelings of the victim). In the first part of the paper, we analyze the paradoxical nature of such discourse, and show how difficult it is to work through intentional undiscussibility. In the second part, we discuss what happens when the undiscussible facts can not be verified, meaning that there is doubt if events have taken place. By presenting a case study of a German woman who tried to construct a biography in face of certain undiscussibility in her family, we discuss the different social reactions evolving in such reconstruction of feeling-facts. We thereby hope to confront the psychoanalytic approach to narrative analysis with the constructivist hermeneutic one.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-83
Number of pages23
JournalPsychiatry (New York)
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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