Our mother’s daughters: autobiographical inheritance through stories of gender and class SARA S C OT T AND SUE S C OT T
It is questions such as these – expressing sociology’s recognition of the centrality of ‘stories’ to social life – which have encouraged the analysis and writing of this chapter. In the past decade such questions about ‘other peoples’ stories have been accompanied by a reflexive awareness that ‘stories’ are also central to what sociology itself does: collecting them as data and telling them as theory. At the same time it is widely held that the more general production and interrogation of autobiographical stories constitutes a self-reflexive turn in the constitution of identity and is a particular feature of late modernity (Giddens 1991, 1992). Some commentators have dubbed this a ‘confessional culture’ and warn of hysterical epidemics (Showalter 1997) or the dangers of narcissistic societies (Lasch 1980).