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Memories of Me: Comparisons from Osnabrueck (Germany) and Delhi (India) Students and Their Mothers

Abstract

The present study explores the dialogical relationship between autobiographical remembering, self and culture from a developmental and trans-generational perspective. It draws on a comparative design including self-describing memories of 10 Indian students from Delhi and 13 German students from Osnabrueck. Moreover, stories often told about oneself during childhood were investigated from the students’ as well as from their mothers’ perspective. Analysis revealed not only culture-specific ways of telling about one’s past that point to different prevailing socio-cultural philosophies, but also trans-generational similarities of stories repeatedly told to and about the child. The findings suggest that self-defining stories develop and are dialogically intertwined with the cultural narrative practices that children engage in during the course of socialization. Theoretical implications for our understanding of self-development are discussed from a Bakhtinian perspective.

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Correspondence to Carolin Demuth.

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Demuth, C., Chaudhary, N. & Keller, H. Memories of Me: Comparisons from Osnabrueck (Germany) and Delhi (India) Students and Their Mothers. Integr. psych. behav. 45, 48–67 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12124-010-9136-5

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12124-010-9136-5

Keywords

  • Autobiographical remembering
  • Self
  • Culture
  • India
  • Germany
  • Narrative practices
  • Trans-generational mediation