Publication event: Real Fictions: Fictionality, Factuality and Narrative Strategies in Contemporary Storytelling

Special issue of Narrative Inquiry 29:2 (2019)

Editors Sam Browse (Sheffield Hallam University), Alison Gibbons (Sheffield Hallam University), Mari Hatavara (Tampere University)

November 19th, 2019, 4 pm. Tampere University Linna building, room 5026-27.

The special issue: In today’s so-called “post-truth” age, the boundary between reality and fiction seems increasingly hard to distinguish: politicians spin stories; everyday reality in (social) media is invested in live narratives; historical events are narrativized in literary texts; fantasy as a genre is more popular than ever. This affects the way people live their everyday lives together with and inspired by the stories that surround them. Stories are tools for making sense of human action in situated social realities: they organize what is happening while they exemplify, explain, and predict the intentions of others. Moreover, the spread of new media affects the affordances and constraints available in interaction and interpersonal sense making. Contemporary and new forms of storytelling thus entail formative force when stories serve as vehicles to comment on and challenge social expectations and the limits of the tellable. This special issue comprises nine articles discussing the theoretical and methodological ramifications of post-truth modes of storytelling across a range of cultural contexts and narrative forms. The first article is a comprehensive introduction to the theme and the latest developments in the fields involved, while the other articles each offer a theoretical reflection and methodological application on the subject through the analysis of varied materials. More information on the issue: https://benjamins.com/catalog/ni.29.2

The program includes an introduction from one of the editors, three talks by authors of the articles, and a commentary:

16.15 Mari Hatavara: introduction

16.25 Kim Schoofs: Adjusting to new “truths.” The relation between the spatio-temporal context and identity work in repeated WWII-testimonies

Matias Nurminen: Narrative warfare. The ‘careless’ reinterpretation of literary canon in online antifeminism

Samuli Björninen: The rhetoric of factuality in narrative. Appeals to authority in Claas Relotius’s feature journalism

17.00 Hanna Rautajoki: Comments on the issue, followed by general discussion

17.30 Drinks and small snacks

Free lecture: The dialectic relation between narrative and context from an interactional sociolinguistic perspective: The case of World War II-testimonies

PhD student Kim Schoofs (Department of Linguistics, KU Leuven) is visiting Narrare for the Autumn 2019. She is presenting her research on November 6 at 16.15 in PinniB 1096, Tampere University.

The event is open for all, welcome!


In this talk, I will scrutinize how narrators construct their stories and identities in relation to the dominant discourses circulating in the global context. Only recently have interactional sociolinguists increasingly examined this dialectic relation between the local interactional level of narrative and the surrounding socio-cultural context and its ‘big D’-discourses (Gee, 1999). This is, in part, thanks to Positioning Analysis (Bamberg, 1997b), which links ‘local’ levels 1 and 2 – the storyworld and storytelling world – to a more ‘globally’ oriented level 3 – the construction of the narrator’s’ identities in respect to ‘big D’-discourses.

The exploration of positioning level 3 will thus be the focus of this talk. To this end, I will make use of a dataset of Belgian WWII-testimonies, as the memory of WWII offers a myriad of dominant discourses, since the Belgian state failed to create one homogeneous patriotic narrative in the post-war period. Instead, fragmented master narratives emerged in the Flemish versus the Walloon language communities on the one hand and the group of Jewish survivors versus former political prisoner groups on the other hand. Furthermore, the corpus consists of pairs of testimonies. Each pair contains at least one spoken and one written testimony, by the same narrator. Since the narratives were repeated at different times, they are also situated in and related to different global contexts and allow us to tap into the way changing dominant discourses influence – and are influenced by – the local construction of stories and identities.

Methodologically, I will draw on Bamberg’s description of positioning level 3 as the construction of ‘a (local) answer to the question: ‘Who am I?’’ (Bamberg, 1997a, p. 337). Membership Categorization Analysis (MCA) and the principle of indexicality will be used to carry out discursive analyses of the narrators’ identity work. Additionally, and in line with recent developments in positioning level 3 research (see Clifton & Van De Mieroop, 2016; De Fina, 2013; Georgakopoulou, 2013), I will aim to discern repeated patterns and diachronic changes in the narrators’ stories and the identities they construct. Overall, the talk will explore various ways in which to scrutinize the dialectic relation between the discursive construction of stories and of identities on the one hand, and ‘big D’-discourses on the other hand.


Kim Schoofs is a PhD student at KU Leuven within the Department of Linguistics. She obtained a bachelor’s degree in linguistics and literature (KU Brussels, 2013), a master’s degree in linguistics and literature (KU Leuven, 2014) and a master’s degree in broadcast journalism (KU Leuven, 2015). In 2016, she started working on her PhD project, under the supervision of Dorien Van De Mieroop. Kim’s PhD project aims to gain insight into new ways of scrutinizing the dialectic relation between the discursive construction of local stories and of identities on the one hand, and dominant discourses circulating in the global context on the other hand. The theoretical elaboration of Positioning Analysis is at the core of her project. In general, Kim’s research interests cover Narrative, Life stories, Identity Construction, Discourse Analysis and Interactional Sociolinguistics.


On Friday September 20, 2019, Narrare: Centre for Interdisciplinary Narrative Studies hosts the fourth annual seminar for PhD students. The seminar provides a chance to meet PhD researchers from diverse backgrounds who work on or with narrative, but also to participate in Narrare’s ongoing endeavor of developing theories, methods and analytical tools for the interdisciplinary field of narrative studies. Our visiting scholars this year are Professor Molly Andrews and Professor Lois Presser.

The seminar day consists of seminar workshops and two keynote lectures by our invited visiting scholars. The two workshop panels are for the participating PhD researchers only. The keynote lectures are open for everyone – all welcome!

10 Keynote (PinniB 1096 – FREE): Molly Andrews, University of East London

Using Personal Narratives to Study Social Change

11 Keynote (PinniB 1096 – FREE): Lois Presser, University of Tennessee

Dangerous Narratives: Narrative Criminology and ‘Why We Harm’

13 – 15.15 Panel I (PinniB 3112 – closed session)

13.00 – 13.45 Anni Reuter, University of Helsinki

Deportations and Internal Exile in the 1930s Soviet Union in the Private Letters of Ingrian Finns: Counter Narratives of persecution, marginalization and diaspora

13.45 – 14.30 Rosalchen Whitecross, University of Sussex

Writing time in their own words – Encounters with the lived experiences of women in prison

14.30 – 15.15 Tanya Beetham, University of Stirling

Young women’s accounts of domestic abuse in childhood: a dialogical narrative analysis focusing on the ‘transitions’ narrative typology

Panel II (PinniB 3113 – closed session)

13.00 – 13.45 Pasi Raatikainen, Tampere University

Significance of Narratives for Information Systems Developers

13.45 – 14.30 Richard Fejes, ELTE University

Transmedia Discourse

14.30 – 15.15 Sofia Wanström, Åbo Akademi

Positioning in personal narratives of sexual assault

15.30 – 17.45 Panel I continues (PinniB 3112 – closed session)

15.30 – 16.15 Noora Vaakanainen, Tampere University

”Speaking art is design”. Materiality and Artificiality in Kaj Kalin’s Design.

16.15 – 17.00 Pernille Meyer Christensen, Aarhus University

The Development of Second Person Narratives in Danish Literary History

17.00 – 17.45 Diána Mosza, ELTE University

Narrative and corporeal aspects of two novels from the 1970s

Panel II continues (PinniB 3113 – closed session)

15.30 – 16.15 Hanna Fontana, University of Arts

“Vissi d’Arte, when work is passion and calling”

16.15 – 17.00 Sari Kuusela, independent scholar

Leadership stories

18 Reception (PinniB 1029-30)


Molly Andrews, University of East London: Using Personal Narratives to Study Social Change

Narratives are not only the means by which individuals breathe public life into personal experience, they are a primary tool by which individuals recognise and affirm themselves as members of a group, thereby often acting as a catalyst for the raising of political consciousness.  Narratives can thus play a vital role in de-individualising that which is personal; rendering experience into a narrative form can help individuals to become more actively engaged in shaping the conditions of their lives. Using a range of different kinds of political talk, this session will explore the relationship between micro and macro narratives of political change.

Molly Andrews is Professor of Political Psychology, and Co-director of the Centre for Narrative Research (www.uel.ac.uk/cnr/index.htm) at the University of East London. Her research interests include political narratives, the psychological basis of political commitment, political identity, and patriotism and intergenerational dialogue.  Her books include Lifetimes of Commitment: Aging, Politics, Psychology Shaping History: Narratives of Political Change (both Cambridge University Press), and Narrative Imagination and Everyday Life  (Oxford University Press). She serves on the Editorial Board of five journals which are published in four countries, and her publications have appeared in Chinese, German, Swedish, Spanish, Czech, and German.  For the academic year 2019-2020, she is the Jane and Aatos Erkko Visiting Professor at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies at the University of Helsinki.

Lois Presser, University of Tennessee

Dangerous Narratives: Narrative Criminology and ‘Why We Harm’

Later than most other academic disciplines, the field of criminology took an explicit ‘narrative turn’ in the space of the last decade. The central idea of a burgeoning narrative criminology is that experiences of and resistance to harm are conditioned by narrative discourse. Thus narrative criminologists have discerned narrative bases of terrorism and counterterrorism, genocide, social drinking, drug use, drug trafficking and drug “wars,” partner violence and other assault, meat-eating, and more. Narrative criminology avoids the individualism and especially the mentalism of other causal variables advanced within criminology (e.g., self-control, strain, rational choice). It sidesteps the question of whether narrators truly believe their stories or only present them to enable otherwise motivated harmful action. Both individuals and groups tell and live by stories, hence narrative criminology pertains to various levels of harm and participation therein. In this presentation I will discuss the theoretical and empirical development of narrative criminology, providing a diverse set of research examples from around the world, and describe my own contributions to the field in the form of a general theory of harm. I will lastly consider problems and opportunities facing narrative criminology.

As a Fulbright Professor, located within the Faculty of Social Sciences at Tampere University and affiliated with Narrare: Centre for Interdisciplinary NarrativeStudies, I will conduct research and teach in the area of narrative criminology which I founded.  I am a professor of Sociology at the University of Tennessee in the USA, a faculty I joined in 2002 after earning my Ph.D. in Criminology/Criminal Justice from the University of Cincinnati.  I have published extensively in the areas of narrative, harm, identity, and restorative justice.  My books include Been a Heavy LifeWhy We HarmNarrative Criminology (co-edited), Inside Story: How Narratives Drive Mass Harm and The Emerald Handbook of Narrative Criminology (co-edited).  My Fulbright/Tampere project concerns the development of methods for pinpointing facts and understandings that have been rendered invisible in dominant cultural stories.  My concern is with the logics taken for granted in, and the real constraints on people’s lives omitted from, hegemonic narratives.

Narrare on mukana Metodifestivaaleilla 27.-29.8.2019!

Metodifestivaali on vuodesta 2009 alkaen järjestetty tieteellinen tapahtuma, joka kokoaa yliopistojen ja tutkimuslaitosten eri alojen tutkijoita keskustelemaan ajankohtaisista menetelmäkysymyksistä ja tutkijan taitoihin liittyvistä teemoista.

Metodifestivaaleille osallistuvat saavat tietoa niin uusista kuin myös vakiintuneemmista tutkimusmenetelmistä, haasteista niiden käytössä, tutkijalta edellytettävästä osaamisesta tutkimusmenetelmien käytössä sekä muista menetelmiin liittyvistä ajankohtaisista teemoista. Festivaaleilla kuullaan asiantuntijoita ja keskustellaan erillisissä sessioissa myös siitä, mitä erityispiirteitä tutkimusmenetelmien opettaminen sisältää ja miten kehittää opetusta. Nyt jo kuudetta kertaa järjestettävä festivaali on suunnattu kaikille tutkijoille, metodeista kiinnostuneille ja niitä opettaville.