Tales of the City: A Study of Narrative and Urban Life

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Cambridge University Press, Oct 8, 1998 - History - 212 pages
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How do we picture urban life and formulate our experience of it? Tales of the City brings together the academics' abstract tales with the vivid stories about a particular city, Milton Keynes, and the often moving self narrations of its residents. It explores the role of story-telling processes for the creative constructing of experience, with particular attention to personal narrations. The story that is now emerging, told by many individual actor narrators, is of the city as a natural setting for human life, in stark contrast to the pessimistic anti-urban tales of many academic narrators. Drawing on narrative studies, cultural and linguistic anthropology and social theory, Professor Finnegan skillfully examines the narrative conventions and cultural implications of our multiple tales of the city, and relates them to profound mythic themes about urban life, community, and to the creative role of the active, reflecting individual.
 

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Contents

Whats in a story?
9
cows gardens and other urban tales
24
realm of the dreadful dragon and the concrete cows?
41
the tales of individual urban dwellers
56
storytelling as well as story
73
Time and event in the personal stories
89
Shirley Lamberts tale
106
Personal narratives and urban images
124
Rachel Jacobs tale
138
Intimations of community
153
Interacting stories
166
Note on sources and methods
181
Index
205
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About the author (1998)

RUTH FINNEGAN is a visiting research professor and emeritus professor in the faculty of social sciences at the Open University in the U.K.

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