Comm Theory Narrative Paradigm


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Comm Theory Narrative Paradigm

  1. 1. By Walter Fisher<br />1984<br />Narrative Paradigm<br />Presentation by Dana McGrath<br /> James Donachie<br />
  2. 2. Human Nature of Narrative Paradigm<br />People are storytellers who understand and interpret life experiences as ongoing narratives with many conflicts, characters, beginnings, middles and ends – all forms of human communication that appeal to our reason can be regarded as stories.<br />Forrest Gump comparison<br />Note: Exception includes phatic communication – communication aimed at maintaining relationships rather than passing information or saying something new.<br />
  3. 3. Rhetoric<br />Good Reasons<br />Rhetoric is a matter of evidence, facts, arguments, reason and logic.<br />People can better relate to a compelling story rather than piled up evidence or a tight argument.<br />Narratives that coincide with our good reason (values) will be persuasive.<br />Narratives that go against our good reason, even if they are sound arguments, will not be persuasive.<br />Historical Views vs. Fisher’s View<br />
  4. 4. Root Terms<br />Narration: Symbolic action – words and/or deeds – that have sequence and meaning for those who live, create, or interpret them.<br />Communication rooted in time & space; Covers every aspect of our lives & the lives of others in regard to character, motive, and action; Verbal and nonverbal to act in a certain way; Abstract messages embedded in speaker’s ongoing story.<br />Paradigm: A conceptual framework; a universal model that calls for people to view events through a common interpretive lens<br />Thomas Kuhn’s argument: Paradigm is the mark of a mature science – 1970’s comm scientists challenge this idea and sought to create a universal model for communication behavior<br />
  5. 5. Rational-world vs. Narrative Paradigm<br />Rational-world paradigm: A scientific or philosophical approach to knowledge that assumes people are logical, making decisions on the basis of evidence and lines of argument.<br />Narrative paradigm: A theoretical framework that views narrative as the basis of all human communication.<br />
  6. 6. Rational-World Paradigm<br />Narrative Paradigm<br />1. People are essentially rational.<br />2. We make decisions on the basis of arguments.<br />3. The type of speaking situation (legal, scientific, legislative) determines the course of our argument.<br />1. People are essentially storytellers.<br />2. We make decisions on the basis of good reasons, which vary depending on the communication situation, media, and genre (philosophical, technical, rhetorical, or artistic.)<br />3. History, biography, culture, and character determine what we consider good reasons.<br />Comparison of Five Assumptions<br />
  7. 7. Rational-World Paradigm<br />Narrative Paradigm<br />4.Rationality is determined by how much we know and how well we argue.<br />5. The world is a set of logical puzzles that we can solve through rational analysis. (Discovery)<br />4. Narrative rationality is determined by the coherence and fidelity of our stories.<br />5. The world is a set of stories from which we choose, and thus constantly re-create, our lives. (Decisions)<br />Comparison of Five Assumptions cont…<br />
  8. 8. Narrative Rationality: Coherence & Fidelity<br />Narrative Rationality: A way to evaluate the worth of stories based on the twin standards of narrative coherence and narrative fidelity<br />Together, coherence and fidelity are the measures of a story’s truthfulness and humanity.<br />
  9. 9. Narrative Coherence<br />Internal consistency with characters acting in a reliable fashion; the story hangs together<br />The story is one piece<br />It must make sense to the hearer<br />No jumping back and forth between conflicting ideas <br />
  10. 10. Narrative Fidelity<br />Congruence between values embedded in a message and what listeners regard as truthful and humane; the story strikes a responsive chord.<br />How the story relates to the external world – follows through with the background of the hearer’s familiar world <br />A story has fidelity when it provides good reasons to guide our future actions<br />
  11. 11. Narrative Fidelity cont…<br />People tend to prefer accounts that fit with what they view as truthful and humane.<br />The Logic of Good Reasons – Five value-related issues:<br />The values embedded in the message<br />The relevance of those values to decisions made<br />The consequence of adhering to those values<br />The overlap with the worldview of the audience<br />Conformity with what the audience members believe is “an ideal basis of conduct”<br />
  12. 12. An Ideal Audience<br />An actual community existing over time that believes in the values of truth, the good, beauty, health , wisdom, courage, temperance, justice, harmony, order, communion, friendship, and oneness with the Cosmos.<br />The humane virtues of the ideal audience shape our logic of good reasons – the character we should be.<br />A good story is a powerful means of persuasion.<br />
  13. 13. Critique<br />According to Fisher:<br />People with ordinary common sense are competent rhetorical critics.<br />The very fact that the narrative paradigm can be applied to a wide range of communication genres provides strong evidence of its validity.<br />Other’s Point of View:<br />Fisher is too optimistic when saying people have a natural tendency to prefer the true and just.<br />Warnick’s Mein Kampf example: great communicative power of evil or wrongheaded stories.<br />
  14. 14. Narrative Paradigm Analysis<br />Humanistic<br />All people construct their own ideas of what falls under narrative coherence and fidelity and they decide on their own accounts if the story is persuasive or credible.<br />Grand Theory<br />Applies to all communication genres for all people when passing information or saying something new.<br />