The effort and intricacies of generating experience-near language – David Newman

By: David Newman

In this paper I explore Clifford Geertz’s distinction between experience-near and experience-distant language. In the process, I draw from mad studies and mental health service user epistemology, both written and generated through my work. I also draw on the work of the historian of emotion Tiffany Watt Smith. Three specific practices in relation to language use are proposed: how we can invigorate the agency or meaning-making in language use; how we can use language to assist people to become familiar with, not alienated from, their experience; and how we might name and question the values or obligations that get smuggled in with emotion talk. I also provide three exercises to explore these themes.

Key words: experience-near; language; narrative practice

Newman, D. (2024). The effort and intricacies of generating experience-near language. International Journal of Narrative Therapy and Community Work, (1), 70–83.


The collective document referred to in this paper can be downloaded here.

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