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Human/Nature Narratives and Popular Films: Big, Bad, Bold, Beneficent, Bountiful, Beautiful and Bereft

  • Mary Gergen

Abstract

As narrative theorists claim, we are made from the stories we tell. Yet, we may also say that the stories we tell are made from the lives we live. These two versions of narrative analysis summarize the central contention of narrative research.1 Within these boundaries, it is clear that the focus of narrative research has been almost exclusively on the relationships people have with other human beings.2 Overall stories range from the intrapersonal and intimate interpersonal relationships to those of the broader societal groups — clans, communities and nations. The emphasis of philosophers, literary theorists, social scientists, psychotherapists, and other narrative scholars has been on the ways in which narratives create meaning for groups of people in terms of their customs, roles, behavioral expectations, status hierarchies, power relations and moral order. Stories teach people how to act with each other in their social groups. Stories shape people’s identities, provide them with appropriate goals, inform them of their social value, and teach them how to feel and think. Stories tell people what is meaningful, good, and worth caring about. Changing our stories can change how we feel about life (White and Epston 1990). They can frame the way we relate to friends and enemies (Schon and Rein 1994). According to Boje et al. (2006) a story becomes a framework for everything we think and do.

Keywords

Natural World Moral Virtue Narrative Analysis Narrative Research Narrative Study 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mary Gergen
    • 1
  1. 1.Penn State UniversityMediaUSA

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