Psikhologicheskie Issledovaniya • ISSN 2075-7999
peer-reviewed • open access journal


2017 Vol. 10 Issue 52

Avanesyan M.O. Time organization in autobiographical narrative

Full text in Russian: Аванесян М.О. Организация времени в автобиографическом нарративе

St. Petersburg State University, St. Petersburg, Russia

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Autobiographical time is usually regarded as one of the structure-forming components of the life-story. The aim of this study was to identify the main ways of organizing time in the short autobiographies. We analyzed the autobiographies of 39 people aged 17 to 52 years old. Empirical evidence has shown that the different modalities of time (past, present, future) do not exist separately from each other, but are merged to provide time perspective. The past is linked with the present by means of open time periods and recurring events, unfulfilled alternative history of life ("if I then, that ...." "If not, then ..."), the movement of the starting point from past into the present. The active presence of "I" of the author, which appears in explanations, evaluations, breaking of the chronological sequence of events and etc., strengthens the current modality of the present. The present and future are linked with the past as its consequences. The future is connected with present due to the contrast principle ("other" than the present) or, alternatively, through the extension of the present to the future state (status quo). It is hypothesized that the particular representation of events in the autobiographical text can influence the perception of events the reader (acceleration or stretching of the passage of time). Cultural cognitive scheme "past-present-future" is the basis for life segmentation, but the reverse is also important as the process of integration of the various components of life experience in a holistic representation of life.

Keywords: autobiographical narrative, the representation of time, an autobiographical time, time modalities


The study was supported by Russian Foundation for Humanities, project 15-36-01357.


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Received 29 October 2016. Date of publication: 30 April 2017.

About author

Avanesyan Marina O. Ph.D., Senior Lecture, St. Petersburg State University, Universitetskaya nab., 7/9, 199034 St. Petersburg, Russia.
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Suggested citation

Avanesyan M.O. Time organization in autobiographical narrative. Psikhologicheskie Issledovaniya, 2017, Vol. 10, No. 52, p. 4. (in Russian, abstr. in English).

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