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Narrative Theory

Developing Narrative Theory: life histories and personal representation

Narrativity, Learning and Flexibility: towards the narrative future

Curtis points out that a key figure in the twentieth century was Edward Bernays, who advised corporations and US presidents on how to manipulate people’s unconscious desires.

In Bernays’ future you didn’t buy a new car because the old one had burnt out; you bought one to increase your self-esteem, or a more low-slung one to enhance your sense of sex appeal … you didn’t vote for a potential party out of duty, or because you believed it had the best policies to advance the common good; you did so because of a secret feeling that it offered you the most likely opportunity to promote and express yourself. (Curtis 2002a: 5)

People’s individual desires and narratives therefore advanced to a centre-stage position in the terrain of selfhood. This process has been acutely analysed by Christian Salmon in his book, Storytelling, which purports to show ‘the timeless human desire for a narrative form and how it is abused in the marketing mechanism behind politicians and products’ (Salmon 2010: cover page).

Individual narratives, then, can be used to service the power of the corporations and the people who increasingly seek only to represent these coporations, namely – politicians. Moreover, new technologies sponsor individual niche identities in a similar fashion, but also in ways that can disempower as well as empower.

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  • Date of publication: 10/09/2012
  • Number of pages (as Word doc): 160
  • Publisher: Routledge
  • Subject:
    Curriculum Studies, Narrative Theory
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  • Appears in:
    Developing Narrative Theory: life histories and personal representation
  • Number of editions: 1
  • Paperback
  • Price of book: £22.99
  • ISBN: 978-0-415-60362-1
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  • E-book ISBN: 978-0-203-81770-4
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