Catherine Kolher Riessman

The pleasure of the text: sensual and seductive aspects of narrative inquiry

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The interview has been conceptualized by social scientists as a data gathering method, a conversation, and a relational encounter. Drawing on a case study from a research interview and liberally adapting the idea of narrative seduction from Roland Barthes, I explore sensuous elements that reach beyond existing ways of thinking about research interviews. A man's intensely personal narrative about the body, my reflexive analysis of the text over time, and sensuous dimensions only hinted at in the written text suggest how Barthes' concept of narrative seduction can illuminate hidden processes in narrative inquiry.


  • narrative seduction
  • reflexivity
  • research interviewing
  • sensuous scholarship
  • illness narrative


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