Narrative Universes

Elias, Herlander, and Flávio Almeida ( ; both LabCom IFP). “Narrative-Verse: On Transmedia, Narrative, and Digital-Media Audiences.” Estudos em Comunicaçâo 27.2 (Dec. 2018): 3-16. (Alien films and fictional worlds). Online at IFP Labcom.*

DOI: 10.20287/ec.n27.v2.a01


2 Replies to “Narrative Universes”

  1. This article seems trapped in mourning the grand narratives:

    With no massive narrative to tie ourselves together, we stand vulnerable to narratives provided by films, TV shows, gaming and new novels targeting mass adoption.

    I think the authors, Herlander Elias & Flávio Almeida, under theorize “vulnerability”. They invoke this concept and then move on to dialogue as the main mode of mediating audience relation to narratives. They associate narrative drive with identification and a consumerist model of processing. We are left with the option of performing versus that of scripting:

    But we remain the performers of a situation, we are the searchers and the readers, the decoders and the viewers, the players and the consumers of stories that require the purchasing of many parts before we have a grasp of the full meaning.

    There are other ways of theorizing. The mediating relations can run in multiple directions. Interaction with cultural products can be imagined in productive terms rather than mere consumerism (I have in mind the 3Cs of constructivist pedagogy: collaborate, create, communicate, and such examples a fan fiction, meme elaboration, discussion threads). Note that such approaches posit a set of participants; the reader is always multiple.

    If I may be so bold, I would venture that narration is the mechanism that allows for the traversals and switches between narratives, worlds and games. Narration is vital to construction.

    With the demise of the grand narratives, we find writers as well as readers. Barthes at the end of Criticism and Truth invokes four functions: scriptor: who copies without adding anything; compilator: who adds nothing of their own; commentator: who makes a personal contribution to the copied text only to render it intelligible; auctor: who gives their own ideas, always justifying their views with reference to other authorities. Reader-to-reader communication has a place in this universe. Such a model assumes less a vulnerable reader and more an engaged writer of however tiny the narrative, small the world, or simple the game.

    1. There was also the “wreader” posited by Landow and others when the Web and hypertext began to be theorized. Well, we are all wreaders now, aren’t we, and feedback between authors and readers (and between wreaders) is more dynamic than ever, or at least it has that potential. The tools are available!

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