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12 MAY 2013

Can Histories Be True? Narrativism, Positivism, and the MetaphoricalTurn

"Narrativism, as represented by Hayden White and Frank Ankersmit, can fruitfully be analyzed as an inversion of two brands of positivism. First, narrativist epistemology can be regarded as an inversion of empiricism. Its thesis that narratives function as metaphors which do not possess a cognitive content is built on an empiricist, 'picture view' of knowledge. Moreover, all the non–cognitive aspects attributed as such are dependent on this picture theory of knowledge and a picture theory of representation. Most of the epistemological characteristics that White and Ankersmit attribute to historical narratives therefore share the problems of this picture theory.

The article's second thesis is that the theories of narrative explanation can also fruitfully be analyzed as inversions of positivist covering–law theory. Ankersmit's brand of narrativism is the most radical in this respect because it posits an opposition between narrative and causal modes of comprehension while simultaneously eliminating causality from narrativist historical understanding. White's brand of narrativism is more of a hybrid than is Ankersmit's as far as its theory of explanation is concerned; nevertheless, it can also be fruitfully interpreted as an inversion of covering–law theory, replacing it by an indefinite multitude of explanatory strategies.

Most of the striking characteristics of both White's and Ankersmit's narrativism pre–suppose positivism in these two senses, especially their claim that historical narratives have a metaphorical structure and therefore no truth–value. These claims are had to reconcile with the factual characteristics of debates by historians; this problem can be tracked down to the absence in 'metaphorical' narrativism of a conceptual connection between historical narratives and historical research."

(Chris Lorenz, 1998, Wiley–Blackwell)

Lorenz, C. (1998). "Can Histories Be True? Narrativism, Positivism, and the "MetaphoricalTurn"." History and Theory 37(3): 309–329.

TAGS

causal modes of comprehensioncausality • cognitive content • conceptual connection • empiricism • emplotment • explanatory strategy • factual characteristics • Frank Ankersmit • Hayden White • historical chronicles • historical narrative • historical narrativeshistorical researchhistorical understandinghistoriesknowledge • metahistory • metanarrativemetaphormetaphoric reference • metaphorical narrativism • metaphorical representation • metaphorical structure • metaphorical turn • narrative explanation • narratives • narrativism • narrativist epistemology • picture theory • picture view of knowledge • positivismrepresentation • storied ways of communicating • storied ways of knowing • truth claims • truth-value

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
04 DECEMBER 2012

Joseph Campbell's Hero's Journey

"The Hero's Journey is a pattern of narrative identified by the American scholar Joseph Campbell that appears in drama, storytelling, myth, religious ritual, and psychological development. It describes the typical adventure of the archetype known as The Hero, the person who goes out and achieves great deeds on behalf of the group, tribe, or civilization"

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1949archetypal characters • basic pattern • call to adventure • character archetypecharacter oversimplificationcharacter-driven storiescharacterisation • classic myths • cycleelixir • Erich Neumann • Finnegans Wake (1939) • flight • formulaic • fundamental structures • hero • hero myth • hero myth archetypes • hero myths • heros journeyJames Joyce • Joseph Campbell • journey • journey model • journey process • monomyth • mythological hero • narrative model • narrative structure • narrativesplot structuresqueststereotypes • tests • The Hero with a Thousand Faces (1949) • typical elements • universal principlesuniversalising

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
23 NOVEMBER 2009

Intertextual Enterprises: Writing Alternative Places and Meanings in the Media Mixed Networks of Yugioh

"The media mix of Pokemon, and subsequent series such as Digimon and Yugioh, create a virtual world that manifests in multiple media forms, and though which consumers can craft their own narrative trajectories through play with video and card games (Allison 2002; Tobin 2004a). This is a networked world of expanding reference that destabilizes the prior orthodoxy of children's media (Tobin 2004a). Rather than spoon–feed stabilized narratives and heroes to a supposedly passive audience, Pokemon and Yugioh invite children to collect, acquire, recombine, and enact stories within their peer networks, trading cards, information, and monsters (Buckingham and Sefton–Green 2004; Yano 2004) in what Sefton–Green has called a 'knowledge industry' (Sefton–Green 2004, 151). These media mixes challenge our ideas of childhood agency and the passivity of media consumption, highlighting the active, entrepreneurial, and technologized aspects of children's engagement with popular culture. They also create a proliferating set of contact points between practice, media, and imaginings, as players perform and identify with media characters in multiple and often unexpected ways.

An early draft of a paper published in Debbora Battaglia Ed. Encountering the Extraterrestrial: Anthropology in Outerspaces. Duke University Press. 2005. This paper was first presented at the 2002 meetings of the American Anthropological Association"

(Mimi Ito)

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TAGS

2005 • alternative places • card gamechildhood agencychildrens mediacollaborationcollectcommunityconsumersDigimondigital culture • enact • engagemententrepreneurshipgamesheroesimaginingsinteractionintertextuality • knowledge industry • media characters • media consumption • media mix • Mimi Itomonster • narrative trajectories • narrativesnetworked worldorthodoxypassive audience • peer networks • play • players • Pokemonpopular culture • recombine • social interaction • stabilisation • story • technologised • trading cardsvideovirtual worldYugioh

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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