Becoming a subject: a memory work study of the experience of romantic jealousy

Langdridge, Darren; Barker, Meg; Reavey, Paula and Stenner, Paul (2012). Becoming a subject: a memory work study of the experience of romantic jealousy. Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 13(2), article no. 5.



In this article we aim to contribute to psychosocial debates around selfhood by focusing empirically upon memories of jealousy and the ways in which potential subjectivities are both opened up and closed down. The paper presents a phenomenological narrative analysis of our research on jealousy produced through a memory-work group. We identify three types of jealous memories (real, virtual and in-between) and elucidate the narrative structure of jealous experiencing. Memories of jealousy invariably involved some anticipatory context in which the actors engaged with potential subjectivities, which were then disrupted when the physical or psychological presence of another became apparent, triggering powerful embodied feelings. We argue that much of the power of jealousy is the way in which it is ambiguous and anxiety provoking as a result of a challenge to perceived subjectivities. Our findings are discussed in relation to extant mainstream literature on jealousy and critical theories of subjectivity, embodiment and relationality.

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