1st Edition

Narrative and Genre Contexts and Types of Communication

By Paul Thompson Copyright 1998
    216 Pages
    by Routledge

    201 Pages
    by Routledge

    Any life story, whether a written autobiography or an oral testimony, is shaped not only by the reworkings of experience through memory and re-evaluation, but also by art. Any communication has to use shared conventions not only of language itself, but also the more complex expectations of "genre," the forms expected within a given context and type of communication. This collection of essays by international academics draws on a wide range of disciplines in the social sciences and the humanities to examine how far the expectations and forms of genre shape different kinds of autobiography and influence what messages they can convey. After investigating the problem of genre definition, and tracing the evolution of genre as a concept, contributors explore such issues as: How far can we argue that what people narrate in their autobiographical stories is selected and shaped by the repertoire of genre available to them? To what extent is oral autobiography shaped by its social and cultural context? What is the relationship between autobiographical sources and the ethnographer? Narrative and Genre presents exciting new debates in an emerging field and will encourage international and interdisciplinary discussion. Its authors and contributors are scholars from the fields of anthropology, cultural studies, literary analysis, psychology, psychoanalysis, social history, and sociology.

    1: Introduction; 2: Oral History As Genre; 3: Silences; 4: A Brazilian Worker’s Autobiography in an Unexpected Form; 5: Family Fables; 6: Anecdote as Narrative Resource in Working-Class Life Stories; 7: My Life as Consumer; 8: Distant Homes, Our Genre; 9: The Oral History Interview in a Cross-Cultural Setting; 10: In the Archive, in the Field; 11: Sharing and Reshaping Life Stories


    Paul Thompson