Glossary

Successful collaboration begins with a shared language, hence the need for a glossary. This joint effort of contributors from several teams ensures, on the one hand, terminological and conceptual coherence across not only our theoretical approaches, but also the qualitative case studies and quantitative research conducted in OPPORTUNITIES. On the other hand, our glossary facilitates communication between the academic side of the project and the fieldwork conducted by NGOs, uniting our teams working from Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ghana, Italy, Mauritania, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania and Senegal.

For more information about the Structure and Objectives of the Glossary, click here...)

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Narrandum

The term narrandum (Latin for “what needs to be told”), first proposed by Banzer, Quaderer and Sommer (2017), refers to the individual’s need and urge to share personal experience with others and a community’s desire to learn about otherwise inaccessible experiences through such testimonials and life stories. In practice, however, individuals can rarely share their stories freely for a variety of reasons (violation of taboos, cultural or social constraints, fear of putting others in danger, personal trauma, etc.)

⇢ see also experience, life story, narrative identity, representation of migration, tellability

References and further reading: Banzer, Roman, Hansjörg Quaderer, and Roy Sommer. 2017. Liechtenstein erzählen I: Demokratische Momente. Zurich: Limmat Verlag.

Category: C

Work Package: 2, 3, 5, 6, 7

[RS]

Narrative

Interdisciplinary narrative research conceives of narrative as a “travelling concept” (see Bal 2002) – that is, “a semiotic phenomenon that transcends disciplines and media” (Ryan 2008 [2005], 344; see also the contributions in Ryan 2004). According to Marie-Laure Ryan (2008 [2005], 345), inquiry into the nature of narrative can take two forms: descriptive and definitional. While the former describes what narrative can do for human beings (e.g., serving as a tool for thinking, sense-making, or constructing and understanding models of reality), the latter seeks to identify the distinctive features that are constitutive of a text’s or medium’s narrative quality, its narrativity (see Abbott 2014). David Herman (2009) foregrounds the multidimensionality of the concept, acknowledging that narrative can be conceived differently in one or the other discipline, for example “as a cognitive structure or way of making sense of experience, as a type of text [or discourse mode], [or] as a resource for communicative interaction” (x). According to Herman, narrativity can be broken down into four “basic elements” or criteria that a text or medium needs to fulfill in order to be considered a narrative, a story. These are (i) situatedness, (ii) event sequencing, (iii) worldmaking or world disruption, and (iv) qualia or the sense of “what it’s like” (Herman 2009, 9). As an interdisciplinary project, OPPORTUNITIES seeks to broaden understanding of the forms, functions, and effects of narratives in migration discourses.

⇢ see also fictions of migration, migrant narrative, narrative ~, representation of migration

References and further reading:

Abbott, H. Porter. 2014. “Narrativity.” In The Living Handbook of Narratology, edited by Peter Hühn, Jan Christoph Meister, John Pier, and Wolf Schmid. URL: https://www.lhn.uni-hamburg.de/node/27/revisions/280/view.html. Date of access: August 24, 2021.

Bal, Mieke. 2002. Travelling Concepts in the Humanities: A Rough Guide. Toronto, ON et al.: University of Toronto Press. Herman, David. 2009. Basic Elements of Narrative. Malden, MA et al.: Wiley-Blackwell.

Ryan, Marie-Laure. 2004. Narrative across Media: The Languages of Storytelling. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press.

Ryan, Marie-Laure. 2008 [2005]. “Narrative.” In Routledge Encyclopedia of Narrative, edited by David Herman, Manfred Jahn, and Marie-Laure Ryan, 344–348. London and New York, NY: Routledge.

Category: A

Work Package: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

[CG]

Narrative analysis

A subset of discourse analysis (although not typically framed as such), narrative analysis is the reasoned study of the way in which storytellers shape meaning by building on culturally circulating ideas and forms. Narrative analysis is not limited to a specific medium but examines narratives across the range of media in which stories can be told, from oral conversation to novels and video games. The framework of narrative analysis has been developed since the 1950s by literary scholars and semioticians and, in parallel, by sociolinguists working in the wake of William Labov (1972). Like discourse analysis, narrative analysis focuses on interactions between story and context, where context is defined broadly as the existing narrative forms and techniques adopted by the storyteller, as well as the ideological assumptions with which he or she is in dialogue. From this perspective, the specific genre (e.g., tragedy or horror fiction) in which a story is positioned reflects its larger context. The evaluations voiced or implied by the storyteller are also a part of the narrative’s embedding in a certain context. Although content and form go hand in hand in the narrative production of meaning, narrative analysis places particular emphasis on the how of story – that is, how embracing specific narrative techniques steers meaning in significant (if easily overlooked) ways.

⇢ see also discourse analysis, narrative, narrative ~

References and further reading:

  • Herman, Luc, and Bart Vervaeck. 2005. Handbook of Narrative Analysis. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press.
  • Labov, William. 1972. Language in the Inner City: Studies in the Black English Vernacular. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Category: A

Work Package: 2, 5

[MC]

Narrative common good

 In a political context the common good is provided by members of a community to all members to satisfy interests everyone shares (cf. Hussain 2018, n. p.). In philosophy, the common good serves as a reference for political reasoning that aims at the common interest – that is, a “shared standpoint for political deliberation” (Hussain 2018, n. p.). Narratives can become such a common good, turning to a “narrative common good”: The “narrative common good” is the narrative good produced by all and for all. It is more than a collection of narratives; narratives are put into dialogue with one another recognizing that people have the right to their own story. In this sense, the narrative common good can be understood as the peaceful coming together of narratives, building on mutual recognition.

⇢ see also narrative goods, story References and further reading:

Hussain, Waheed. 2018. “The Common Good.” In The Standford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, edited by Eward N. Zalta. URL: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/common-good/. Date of access: August 24, 2021.

Category: B

Work Package: 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8

[BBK / CS / FK]

Narrative dilemma

We speak of a narrative dilemma when narrandum and tellability are not in sync. For instance, some experience may be too traumatic to be told, or sharing the experience may put storytellers and their families in danger. On the other hand, the public relies on testimonials and reports, often first published by investigative jonalists or human rights groups, to learn about human rights violations.

⇢ see also narrandum, tellability

Category: C

Work Package: 2, 3, 5, 6, 7

[RS]

Narrative dynamics

In literary theory (see Richardson 2002, 2019), narrative dynamics serves as a synonym for dramaturgy and is thus restricted to text-internal phenomena. However, new concepts like narrative market, the Level Telling Field, and narrative ecology require a reconceptualization of narrative dynamics as a text-external phenomenon, describing the interactions and interdependencies of narratives in the public sphere. Vital factors or parameters include the relationships between top-down and bottom-up narratives, the balance between centripetal and centrifugal forces, accumulative effects of repetition and resonance, and the role of digital technologies in amplifying and distributing narrative content.

⇢ see also narrative, narratives of migration, narratives on migration

References and further reading:

  • Richardson, Brian, ed. 2002. Narrative Dynamics: Essays on Time, Plot, Closure, and Frame. Columbus, OH: The Ohio State University Press.
  • Richardson, Brian. 2019. A Poetics of Plot for the TwentyFirst Century: Theorizing Unruly Narratives. Columbus, OH: The Ohio State University Press.

Category: B

Work Package: 2, 5

[RS]

Narrative ecology

The concept of a narrative ecology is inspired by the anthropological notion of the ecology of the mind (see Bateson 1972). It describes the ways bottom-up and top-down narratives interact with lived experience, prejudices and opinions to widen or close horizons (Gadamer 1975). Narrative ecologies are highly individual ways of negotiating both first-hand and second-hand experience, generating the subjectively convincing attitudes and beliefs that underlie a coherent worldview. Individual ecologies of this kind, which are the stuff of narrative fiction and therapy, are only partially accessible through scientific surveys and polls, or qualitative case studies.

⇢ see also attitudes, beliefs, narrative

References and further reading:

  • Bateson, Gregory. 1972. Steps to an Ecology of Mind: Collected Essays in Anthropology, Psychiatry, Evolution, and Epistemology. Northvale, NJ and London: Jason Aronson Inc.
  • Gadamer, Hans-Georg. 1975. Wahrheit und Methode: Grundzüge einer philosophischen Hermeneutik. 4 th ed. Tübingen: Mohr.

Category: B

Work Package: 2, 5

[RS]

Narrative equity

While equality refers to the same opportunities and level of support of everyone, equity provides varying levels of support, depending on individual needs or abilities (see Longley 2020). Thus, narrative equity makes sure that everybody can access, build up, and contribute to narratives.

⇢ see also Cross Talk, equality, fair dialogue, Level Telling Field

References and further reading:

Longley, Robert. 2020. “Equity vs. Equality: What Is the Difference?” ThoughtCo. URL: https://www.thoughtco.com/equity-vs-equality-4767021. Date of access: August 24, 2021.

Category: B

Work Package: 2, 3, 5, 6, 7

[BBK / CS / FK]

Narrative goods

Narrative goods are the stories told and created as contributions to a public discourse by stakeholders within a society.

⇢ see also narrative common good, stakeholder, story

Category: A

Work Package: 2, 3, 5, 6, 7

[BBK / CS / FK]

Narrative identity

Narrative identity is shorthand for narrative’s contribution to processes of identity formation. Increasingly, linguists, philosophers, and psychologists are recognizing that storytelling plays a crucial role in the construction of personal and collective identity. Not only do we tell stories to convey information or entertain one another, but the narratives we share help define who we are by positioning the storyteller vis-à-vis existing cultural frameworks. At the individual level, the self is bound up with stories that mirror our past experiences and projections into the future. In social contexts, we perform an identity by telling stories in ways that suggest, more or less deliberately, our political beliefs and ethical values. In discussions on narrative and identity in sociolinguistics and psychology, it is customary to distinguish between “big” and “small” stories. Big stories are elaborate narratives, such as one may find in an autobiography or life story interview, that claim to paint a comprehensive picture of one’s identity. Small stories, by contrast, are fleeting narratives that emerge in everyday conversation and that also contain important information as to the storyteller’s identity. In different ways, both kinds of narrative are involved in the formation and performance of identity.

⇢ see also life story, narrative analysis, migration and identity, values

References and further reading:

  • Bruner, Jerome. 1986. Actual Minds, Possible Worlds. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
  • Bamberg, Michael. 2007. “Stories: Big or Small. Why Do We Care?” In Narrative: State of the Art, edited by Michael Bamberg, 165–74. Philadelphia, PA and Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Category: A

Work Package: 2, 3, 5, 6, 7

[MC]