Joan Scott ¿Tæ†ÒË, serif">This question over narrative brings me to the last historian you’ve read Joan Scott: We will meet this particular text again when we talk about women’s history and gender.
¿Tæ†ÒË, serif">Scott is an example of an Amercian scholar who coming from social history and womens’ history makes the move to postmodernism and particularly structuralism in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The text you’ve read is an example of her poststructural and deconstructionist take on narrative.
¿Tæ†ÒË, serif">Her text is about experience and you remember that for Thomson and many historians ‘experience’ is what they were after. They believed that they would recover the experiences of the past by their work.
¿Tæ†ÒË, serif">Now, Scott as a fierce deconstructionist accuses the whole project as conservative and naïve. Experience -- she argues is never intuitive and never a heuristic tool for historians to use – and then claim that they are objective or neutral and recover the past. Experience and she explicitly mentions also our bodily experiences are constructions of language. They only exist through language which historically changes. Therefore we need to deconstruct the term when we use it. We need to get behind what it meant at the time we look at and, here she is very postructural again, we need to take into account how our own experience is constructed in our own time, because it is with this experience that we approach the past.