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Open Access journal
ISSN (Print) 1837-0314
Published by U of Wollongong [8 journals]
- Four Stories: Feral
Authors: Amy Lindley
Abstract: Feral: one of four stories published in Current Narratives, 4, 2014.
PubDate: Wed, 28 Jan 2015 20:00:44 PST
- Four Stories: The Last Killer in Eden
Authors: Jake Evans
Abstract: The Last Killer in Eden: one of four stories published in Current Narratives, 4, 2014.
PubDate: Wed, 28 Jan 2015 19:55:32 PST
- Four Stories: A fragile life
Authors: Lucy Dean
Abstract: A fragile life: one of four stories published in Current Narratives, 4, 2014.
PubDate: Wed, 28 Jan 2015 19:45:32 PST
- Teaching literary journalism: Intentional meandering in the literary
Authors: Marcus O'Donnell
Abstract: What makes the literary journalism classroom a particularly creative one is the permission to experiment. It is an opportunity towards the end of a degree program to rethink core ideas about journalism, core ideas about writing, core ideas about ethics and core ideas about how to bring all these ideas into alignment. This is the unique pedagogical value of literary journalism. It is one of the few areas of journalism that takes both the world and the personal immensely seriously. The symbolic and the factual, emotion and observation, the tangible and the intangible all jut up against one another. So it becomes one of the few opportunities within the journalism curriculum where the deeply personal – who am I and how do I express what is unique and important to me – is given space.
PubDate: Wed, 28 Jan 2015 19:20:38 PST
- Analysing literary journalism: De(composing) narrative: writing true crime
in Death at the Darlo Bar
Authors: Ruth G. Walker
Abstract: This paper is in two parts: a true crime story, Death at the Darlo Bar, I wrote about a violent death at one of my local bars near Kings Cross, Sydney and an essay reflecting on the writing process. I first heard about the death of Brett Adam Sparks through rumours that circulated in my neighborhood, which presented him as a homeless man who had been attacked and killed at the hands of a group of respectable chess-playing locals. The second part of this paper is an exegetical essay that reflects on the issues arising from my writing a true crime story as a resident of Kings Cross and a regular patron of the Darlo Bar, whose research and writing process was informed as much by local encounters and gossip as painstaking research into the archive of inquest reports, police statements and witness testimonies held at the local Coroner’s Court. The essay discusses the uncanny experience of investigating and writing a story about violent crime that was quickly glossed over by local stakeholders and authorities, and which has no satisfactory resolution or truth claim. In particular, the essay explores the uncanny concept of homelessness and how it folds into competing narratives about Kings Cross as an alcohol-fuelled crime hot-spot in the Australian cultural imaginary. My own story reconstructs one of a number of competing versions of the same event. But it can’t really claim to be closer to an objective reality than any other account, let alone the Coroner’s preferred version, even though it relies on the same facts as presented in the archival documents and witness testimonies. I started out by looking for a true crime story, but the findings from the inquest meant that Sparks’ death is not actually considered a “crime”. Any other claims that it was a crime, and that people got away with it, therefore can’t be “true”.
PubDate: Wed, 28 Jan 2015 19:20:37 PST
- Analysing literary journalism: Twentieth century stories: objectivity and
authority in Wilkerson and Hersey
Authors: Bret Schulte
Abstract: Isabel Wilkerson’s award-winning The Warmth of Other Suns (2010) is an evolutionary marker for transparency and authority in a genre that remains in flux. This paper examines the presence/absence of the narrator in this masterwork, in particular how Wilkerson negotiates the journalistic goal of objectivity and the inevitable confrontation with subjectivity. This paper argues that Wilkerson taps the literary tradition of John Hersey’s Hiroshima (1946). Like Hiroshima, Wilkerson’s Warmth embodies the soundest of journalistic conventions: third person point of view, extensive sampling/interviews, and secondary research. Structurally, Warmth also mirrors Hiroshima. Wilkerson chose characters that span spectrums of privilege, age, and circumstance, winnowed down as emblematic of a cast of millions who fled the Jim Crow South. Just as in Hiroshima, the camera eye rotates among them, providing alternating vignettes in an advancing chronology. However, Wilkerson breaks from Hersey in important ways, namely the authorial detachment that has come to be known as Hiroshima’s hallmark. Wilkerson, on the other hand, has been praised for her empathy and transparency. She lays bare her connection to the story, her techniques, and her decision-making process in an extensive methodology section written in first-person. In a historical moment marked by increased reader anxiety and distrust of the press, the reception of Warmth has rewarded this subjectivity and increased transparency.
PubDate: Wed, 28 Jan 2015 18:45:29 PST
- Current Narratives, 4, 2014: Editorial
Authors: Marcus O'Donnell
Abstract: Editorial for Current Narratives, Issue 4, 2014.
PubDate: Wed, 28 Jan 2015 18:30:29 PST
- Contents of Current Narratives, 4, 2014
Abstract: Table of contents for Current Narratives, Issue 4 (2014).
PubDate: Wed, 28 Jan 2015 18:25:31 PST
- Narrative Coherence, Co-incidence and Listening In-between (Book Review)
Authors: Julie McLeod
Abstract: This collection of essays explores the challenges of researching personal narratives and the many levels of ambiguity that beset such an endeavour. The volume aims to disturb the dominance of an interpretive and ethical paradigm that privileges ’narrative coherence’. As such, it immediately invites meditation on where (in)coherence lies – the teller, the tale or the listener, or the in-between relations among them. The collection is framed as an attempt to move away from or beyond the conventional structure of narrative form as following a beginning, middle and end. It argues for a more generous sense of narrative possibilities, ones not confined by what the editors characterize as Aristotelian conceptions of narrative coherence that favour linear sequencing and thematic closure. Of course, fictional narratives take many forms – they play, subvert, parody, delight in and disappoint conventions – but so too do personal narratives, as the authors elaborate in their diverse examples. Related to this, the editors propose to question what they see as a dominant presumption that ‘persons live better and in a more ethical way, if they have a coherent life-story and coherent narrative identity’ (p.2). There is, then, a strong voice questioning perceived assumptions about narrative form and effects, and a corresponding interest in elaborating some alternative ways of recognizing and writing about narratives that may take different a form, or struggle to be recognized. I have some mixed responses to these ambitions, in part because I had thought that the conceptions of narrative coherence which the editors dispute had already been profoundly unsettled – by, among others, modernism, psychoanalysis, memory studies, and numerous variants of post-structural theorizing. It was, however, with somewhat of a refreshing jolt that I encountered reflections on the authority of narrative coherence and its necessary undoing, making me think again about making meaning from personal or identity narratives and the constellation of aspirations animating narrative enquiry.
PubDate: Tue, 06 Dec 2011 20:53:39 PST
- Inauthentic Tales or Resonating Voices'
Authors: Mark Vicars
Abstract: As folk taxonomies of contemporary sexual identities continue to proliferate, this paper positions narrative research as a productive methodology for troubling the coherence of the ‘normal’. Re-presented from life-history interviews, conducted within a friendship group of gay men over a six month period, are reconstructed accounts of the ‘…processes, procedures, and apparatuses whereby [our] truth and knowledge are [became] produced (Tamboukou & Ball, 2003, p.4). Our endeavors attempt to show something of how we talked ourselves in and out of our scattered, obscure and partial stories of self. Throughout this paper, our disjointed and chaotic narrations aim to undo ‘normalizing’ narratives of educational research. In piecing together our adolescent queering experiences, our fragmented and incoherate voices mingle on the page to show something of the complexity of our narrative experience(s) of self.
PubDate: Tue, 06 Dec 2011 20:53:38 PST
- Broken Narratives in the Immigrant Folktale
Authors: Senem Yekenkurul
Abstract: Folktales contain a life-force embedded within their structure. Life narratives are carried along in an autobiographical form as folktales are transmitted from one generation to another. This autobiographical nature of folktales inspires the unique approach of narrative identity in understanding the construction of a meaningful self-identity. Growing up, my mother would tell me Turkish Arab folktales. Today, I realise not only the impact they have had on my life but also on my mother’s. One folktale, which I title The Angel, when contextualised in accordance with the storyteller’s (my mother’s) life, produces some dazzling insights into the reason behind the telling. The Angel is embedded in the life histories of my grandmother and mother and is abundant with insight into their life-worlds. The experience of the fragmentation caused by migration and the choices made has turned The Angel into a ‘broken narrative’. Their life story is the driving force behind the telling of the folktale and can be a touchstone for children who seek to locate themselves within the narratives of significant others and broader social structures.
PubDate: Tue, 06 Dec 2011 20:53:38 PST
- The Haunted Photograph : Context, Framing and the Family Story
Authors: Stefan Schutt
Abstract: In this paper we examine conceptions of framing and context as they apply to photographs and other visual historical material. In particular we focus on the ways that context and framing are operationalised in the intimate, fragmented space of family history and how they play out through the construction of narrative coherency, what these sites are, what we bring to the sites, and how the interactions between beholder and object manifest as encounters. To investigate this we present a selection of photographic items representing key moments from our own European family histories. Throughout we ask: is meaning primarily created through devices such as framing and context, or may there be subtle, inherent meaning embedded in items that we can sense'
PubDate: Tue, 06 Dec 2011 20:52:14 PST
- Discontinuous Narrative : The Trace Dance
Authors: Julia Prendergast
Abstract: I am working on a novel, which takes the form of a collection of interrelated stories. In each story, the narrative is framed by the idiosyncrasies, and prejudices, of a different first-person voice. There are gaps in narrative time, and there is disparity between the narrators’ voices. The result is a ‘discontinuous narrative’; this term describes the early work of Frank Moorhouse: ‘an innovative narrative method using interconnected stories’ (Griffith University 2011). This paper explores Derrida’s concept of alterity: specifically the ‘trace’ of ‘otherness’, as it corresponds to presence (Rivkin & Ryan 2004, p.278). I call this trace of otherness: The Trace Dance, because of the way alterity operates in discontinuous narrative. The playoff between the narrators’ voices occurs in the shadowy place: in the realm of alterity. Derrida’s concept of alterity explicates the gaps and disparity in discontinuous narrative: the process whereby reverberations simulate presence. I compare the act of narrative representation with the process of remembering. In particular, I compare the relationship between the historical event of the memory, and the rememberer’s sense of that event. Idiosyncratic associations determine the shape of the memory and, crucially, these associations need not be either consciously determined or logical. I argue that remembering is an act of Experiential Representation; I formulate this concept to clarify the metaphorical manoeuvre that occurs in remembering: the attempt to capture the meaning of one thing in terms of the other. This metaphorical manoeuvre connects memory with narrative: which is the attempt to capture an idea in the context of a story. The concept of alterity allows for a new way of looking at discontinuous narrative, because it reconfigures gaps in narrative time, and disparity in narrative voice, as crucial rhythmic forces that give the narrative its shape.
PubDate: Tue, 06 Dec 2011 20:52:14 PST
- Magical Realism and Experience of Extremity
Authors: Jo Langdon
Abstract: Examining magical realist texts including Tim O’Brien’s Going After Cacciato (1991), and Jonathan Safran Foer’s Everything is Illuminated (2002) and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2006), this paper discusses how magical realism examines the extremities of trauma and fear, proposing that magical realist narratives afford a unique ability to represent trauma in a way that is not open to the stylistics of literary realism. Blending the real or believable with the fantastically outrageous, magical realist narratives typically destabilise and disorder privileged centres of ‘truth’ and ‘reality’, demonstrating the constructedness of knowledge and history. Accordingly, magical realist strategies are frequently used in interventionist or counter narratives that refuse to adhere to privileged versions of truth or history and insist upon a multiplicity of experience. The majority of magical realist scholarship explores how the genre undermines hegemonic perspectives of history to clear a space for marginal representations of the past. However, as this paper argues, magical realist narratives also provide a unique space for writing about experiences of extremity. Examining the role of fantasy in representations of violence and trauma, this paper proposes that rupturing a realist narrative with the magical or un-real accommodates representations of extremity by conveying the ‘felt’ experience of trauma.
PubDate: Tue, 06 Dec 2011 20:52:12 PST
- 'Portraits of Moments' : Visual and Textual Entanglements in
Authors: Maria Tamboukou
Abstract: In this paper I consider questions of coherence and sequence in narrative research and explore their conditions of possibility and their effects. What happens, I ask, when the Aristotelian plot and the coherent self cannot be identified' Who gets excluded and to what effect when narratives are trapped within restrictive models of analysis' In focusing on a quantifiable and divisible model of time that underpins the conception of narratives in terms of linearity, completeness and closure, the paper charts a plane of analysis wherein narratives are taken as ‘portraits of moments’—textual and visual traces of eruptions and events. Such an analytical stance draws on Hannah Arendt’s philosophy and particularly the connections she has made between life histories and the discourse of History. In this context completion is examined not in terms of narrative closure but as an agential cut in making meaning about ‘the lives of others’.
PubDate: Tue, 06 Dec 2011 20:52:12 PST
- Introduction : Losing the Plot - Tangling with Narrative Complexity
Authors: Ruth Ballardie
Abstract: What is narrative' The question lies at the heart of narrative approaches to research. The simplicity of the common response to this question, however, ‘a story with a beginning, a middle and an end’, with its implied coherence, veils significant tensions and ambiguities. This special edition brings together a range of papers from a recent conference that explored some of the uncertainty around the role of coherence in narrative and narrative research. The conference ‘Losing the Plot – Tangling with Narrative Complexity,’ held in Melbourne, in July, 2010 was inspired by a recent publication, Beyond Narrative Coherence (Hyvarinen, Hyden, Saarenheimo and Tamboukou, 2010). This present collection of papers is a response to these questions and ideas from an Australian perspective and it represents a range of disciplinary backgrounds including media and communication, creative writing and psychosocial studies.
PubDate: Tue, 06 Dec 2011 20:50:50 PST
- Current Narratives 3 : Contents
Authors: Ruth Ballardie
Abstract: Table of contents for Current Narratives, issue 3, 2011.
PubDate: Tue, 06 Dec 2011 20:50:49 PST
- Commentary: Getting behind closed doors: The process of conducting
research in a criminal justice setting
Authors: Jenny Wise
Abstract: Engaging with narrative inquiry research methods, such as indepth interviews, can provide researchers with valuable qualitative data. However, the processes involved with conducting in-depth interviews can often be problematic. This paper examines the barriers in the way of conducting research into criminal justice organisations within New South Wales (Australia) and in the Thames Valley (United Kingdom). It presents the personal experiences of the researcher in trying to gain access to organisations such as the police, judiciary, corrective services and forensic science services. Such organisations are often considered to be ʻclosed organisationsʼ because they are resistant to externally-based research. The paper also examines the practical difficulties of interviewing criminal justice practitioners even where official permission to conduct research has been granted. Some of the problems that were faced included fear and suspicion about what the research was examining and fear of reprisal from senior colleagues about what was said to the researcher. This fear led to some participants declining to answer certain questions, or when they did answer, using the ʻofficial organisation lineʼ.
PubDate: Thu, 11 Aug 2011 17:07:48 PDT
- Commentary: Narrative inquiry as a means of moral enquiry in higher
Authors: Corinne Buckland
Abstract: Narratology has long been a formal, major strand of literary studies, and narrative theory has more recently entered the fields of social science, psychology and theology. In all these fields, analysis of narrative reveals valuable insights into the structure and meaning of story-making, and narrative is now a widely used therapeutic tool. This paper revisits an original source of narrative inquiry, literary texts, to show how they can be used in higher education as a significant means of ethical and moral thinking. More than any prescriptive moral code or set of professional ethics, these texts have the capacity to enlarge our sensibility, sharpen, yet soften, our judgements, and make an immense contribution to human flourishing.
PubDate: Thu, 11 Aug 2011 17:07:47 PDT
- Gimmelife: Listening for dialogic voices in the email self-narratives of
gifted young adolescents
Authors: Lisette Dillon
Abstract: The art of listening for voices within narrative research is a positive endeavour that has specific value within research design and subsequent approaches to analysis. This paper details an investigation into the dialogic nature of voices among gifted young adolescents who engaged in the co-construction of email-generated self-narratives. Data are drawn from a study involving ten adolescents, aged between ten and fourteen years, diagnosed as gifted according to Australian guidelines. Individual participants were asked to produce self-managed journal entries written and sent as asynchronous emails to the researcher who was the sole recipient and respondent. Within this approach, specific techniques of listening were used to examine a series of multi-vocal narratives generated over a period of six months. This paper proposes that an adaptation of the everyday convenience of email with the traditional journal format as a self-report mechanism creates a synergy that fosters self-disclosure. Individual excerpts are presented to show that the harnessing of personal narratives within an email context has potential to yield valuable insights into the emotions, personal realities and experiences of gifted young adolescents. Furthermore, the co-construction of self-expressive and explanatory narratives supported by a facilitative adult listener appeared to promote healthy self-awareness amongst participants. This paper contributes to narrative exploration in two distinct ways: first, in using online methods for gaining access to the everyday, emotional realities of participants; and, second, in demonstrating the value of listening as a narrative technique for uncovering layers of voices across a body of texts produced over time. These methods represent an innovative attempt to move beyond face-to-face approaches and away from a focus on content and coding techniques that might oversimplify complex emotions.
PubDate: Thu, 11 Aug 2011 17:07:46 PDT