Instrumental Narratives: The Limits of Storytelling and New Story-Critical Narrative Theory
Instrumental Narratives: The Limits of Storytelling and New Story-Critical Narrative Theory develops ideas and analytical instruments that help researchers, professional groups and non-academic audiences navigate today’s social and textual environments that are dominated by storytelling. We put contemporary literary fiction in dialogue with manipulative stories that are spread on the internet, in order to reveal the dubious relationship that some narratives have with identity, truth, politics, and complex phenomena such as climate change. In order to confront these issues, we reveal the sophisticated story-critical ideas and techniques offered by works of contemporary fiction.
The team in Turku focuses on the uses and abuses of narrative in the construction of lives and identities. Over the past few decades, the notion of “finding one’s own narrative” has pervaded the culture at large. In response, contemporary narrative fiction has increasingly come to reflect on the problematic uses of narrative in identity work. Our team brings into dialogue contemporary story-critical fiction and the broader uses of narrative in contemporary consumer culture in which narrative identity is often understood in narrow, limiting, and commercially motivated ways. It examines the relationship between narrative and identity from two interlaced perspectives: in relation to 1) metanarrativity and 2) the uses of narrative in promoting wellbeing.