Narrative as Social Practice: Anglo-Western and Australian Aboriginal Oral Traditions

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Walter de Gruyter, 2004 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 456 pages
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Narrative as Social Practice sets out to explore the complex and fascinating interrelatedness of narrative and culture. It does so by contrasting the oral storytelling traditions of two widely divergent cultures - Anglo-Western culture and the Central Australian culture of the Pitjantjatjara/Yankunytjatjara Aborigines. Combining discourse-analytical and pragmalinguistic methodologies with the perspectives of ethnopoetics and the ethnography of communication, this book presents a highly original and engaging study of storytelling as a vital communicative activity at the heart of socio-cultural life.

The book is concerned with both theoretical and empirical issues. It engages critically with the theoretical framework of social constructivism and the notion of social practice, and it offers critical discussions of the most influential theories of narrative put forward in Western thinking. Arguing for the adoption of a communication-oriented and cross-cultural perspective as a prerequisite for improving our understanding of the cultural variability of narrative practice, Klapproth presents detailed textual analyses of Anglo-Western and Australian Aboriginal oral narratives, and contextualizes them with respect to the different storytelling practices, values and worldviews in both cultures. Narrative as Social Practice offers new insights to students and specialists in the fields of narratology, discourse analysis, cross-cultural pragmatics, anthropology, folklore study, the ethnography of communication, and Australian Aboriginal studies.

 

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Contents

Chapter 1 Introduction
1
The narrative structuring of experience
31
The role of narrative in the sociocultural construction of reality
33
Storytelling as communicative interaction
87
The search for story schemata
137
A crosscultural perspective
163
Cultural specifics of AngloWestern narrative aesthetics
164
Text building strategies in Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara storytelling
219
The interrelatedness of story practice and culture
309
Chapter 8 Conclusions and implications
379
Transcription conventions
408
Notes
410
References
423
Index
450
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About the author (2004)

Dani le M. Klapproth is Lecturer in Linguistics at the University of Berne, Switzerland.

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