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“This Path Is Full of Thorns”: Narrative, Subjunctivity, and HIV in Indonesia

In this article, Samuels focuses on the active fostering of subjunctivity in processes of narrative worldmaking. Drawing extensively from the narrative of an HIV‐positive woman in Indonesia, she shows that by subjunctively leaving open multiple narrative trajectories and future possibilities, individuals may navigate the ethical complexities of their lives and maintain relationships with the world and others while staying true to the things that really matter to them. Samuels suggests that although entertaining a range of possible future trajectories may involve constructing several alternative narrative plots, most of the time there is no plot to be followed, and not determining future parallel plots may be more helpful in balancing conflicting ethical demands. By not imagining clear beginnings and endings of narratives yet actively retaining narrative possibilities, values that may seem incompatible in the present may then all be kept open for future moral striving.

Annemarie Samuels
05 March 2018
Ethos - Journal of the Society for Psychological Anthropology
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