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Chapter 14 - Narrative negotiation

H. Porter Abbott
Affiliation:
University of California, Santa Barbara
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Summary

This chapter balances the previous one. Both are about ways in which we think with narrative. But where in the last chapter we focussed on the chemistry of narratives in combination, here we are looking at a chemistry taking place within narratives (or, more accurately, in our interaction with them). Where in the last chapter we looked at the ways in which narratives are used as armament in a larger contest of narratives like a trial or a political race or an intellectual controversy, here we are looking at narratives as structures made up of contests, the claims of which they may or may not negotiate successfully. In part, this chapter brings us back to the agon – the contest or conflict, which is so often the life of narrative. More broadly it brings us back to the observation I made in Chapter Five that larger cultural, psychological, and moral conflicts are at play in narrative, some but not all of them represented by the opponents in the agon.

Narrative without conflict

Conflict is such a powerful element in narrative that there are those (Todorov, Herman) who make it a necessary defining feature of the term “narrative.” But given the inclusive definition of narrative that I have adopted for this book – the representation of an event or events – conflict is not a necessary component for something to qualify as a narrative. There are many short narratives, by my definition, in which conflict is nonexistent. […]

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2008

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  • Narrative negotiation
  • H. Porter Abbott, University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Book: The Cambridge Introduction to Narrative
  • Online publication: 05 June 2014
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511816932.016
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  • Narrative negotiation
  • H. Porter Abbott, University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Book: The Cambridge Introduction to Narrative
  • Online publication: 05 June 2014
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511816932.016
Available formats
×

Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

  • Narrative negotiation
  • H. Porter Abbott, University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Book: The Cambridge Introduction to Narrative
  • Online publication: 05 June 2014
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511816932.016
Available formats
×