Becoming a Nazi: A Model for Narrative Networks

Bearman, Peter Shawn; Stovel, Katherine

This article illustrates a strategy for representing and analyzing narratives as networks. The strategy that we use considers narrative sequences as networks. Elements are treated as nodes which are connected by narrative clauses, represented by arcs. By representing complex event sequences as networks, inducing 'narrative networks', it is possible to observe and measure new structural features of narratives. The narratives we focus on are autobiographical accounts of becoming, and being, a Nazi. The substantive idea that we develop in this article is that the observable narrative structure of life stories can provide insight into the process of identity formation. We illustrate our approach to narrative networks by analyzing a single story that, in conjunction with the analysis of other stories, yields a set of insights into becoming and being.


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Interdisciplinary Center for Innovative Theory and Empirics
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April 24, 2019