This chapter investigates the life stories of ten young adults told while they were under supervision by the Danish Probation Service. All the interviewees have formerly been imprisoned and, during their sentences, they received the psychiatric diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Having such diagnosis late in life, as adolescents or as young adults, provides the teller with a new cultural and highly valuable narrative frame for one’s life story. Life stories refer to the ways people “provide their lives with unity and purpose by constructing internalized and evolving narratives of the self”. Life stories are also crucial in understanding the manifold and central role of stories in society. In this particular case, the stories told by marginalized and deviant people in society, who are re-framed as people with a disability through their encounter with the criminal justice system by the introduction of a medically defined disorder. Supported and reflected by contemporary cultural themes, the diagnosis of ADHD provides a legitimate and meaning frame for understanding and narratively re-constructing life stories and possibly opens up for explaining often “hidden” or “untold” parts of their past in which suffering, losses, and pain are highly present. Life stories always contain moral experiences and a “transformative journey” (Mattingly 2010); they enable one to attend to the processes of change that these individuals are going through, when the interviewees hope for a better future and strive to do good. The chapter will make use of the theoretical framework by Cheryl Mattingly in order to identify different forms of narrative in data.
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