TITLE

NARRATIVES IN SPACE AND TIME: BEYOND "BACKDROP" ACCOUNTS OF NARRATIVE ORIENTATION

AUTHOR(S)
Baynham, Mike
PUB. DATE
July 2003
SOURCE
Narrative Inquiry;2003, Vol. 13 Issue 2, p347
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
In this article I argue that narrative theory (at least in sociolinguistics) has treated orientation in space and time in a taken for granted, unexamined way, typically as establishing space/time coordinates as part of the contextual backdrop of narrative structure. Instead of single, homogeneous notions of time and space I will show how different versions of space and time, sometimes conflictual, routinely operate in narrative. Drawing on ideas from philosophy, cultural geography and social theory, including linguistic anthropology, I argue for more complex and nuanced accounts of the ways in which orientations in space and time contribute to the construction of oral narrative and examine the indexical resources which a narrator can deploy in space/time orientation, including transposed reference to past space/time in terms of current social space/time. In addition I suggest that accounts of narrative have typically privileged temporal orientation over spatial orientation and that, while every definition of narrative will contain some reference to a temporally ordered sequence of events, typically orientation in space is assumed and taken for granted. Using examples from a study of life stories of migration and settlement told by Moroccan migrants to London, U.K. I will argue, as does de Certeau, for the centrality of spatial orientation in the construction of narrative. I will show how these lifestories of migration and settlement are a promising site for developing more complex and nuanced accounts of narrative orientation in space and time because they are centrally constructed around experiences of dislocation and relocation, bringing into the here-and-now and the then-and-there of the storyworld different and potentially conflictual spaces and times.
ACCESSION #
12557746

 

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