Mini-Course: Narrative Analysis Spring 2020

ARSC 5040-001

1 credit, 5 weeks

Instructor: Leslie Irvine, Sociology, 

Spring 2020 Mini Session 1 (1/15/-2/12)

Wed, 12-2:30, IBS 150

Narrative, or stories of various sorts, constitutes a basic aspect of human interaction. A narrative research approach is characterized by the convictions that people make meanings, that meaning is organized in sequences (which is to say that meaning is made through stories), and that these meanings have consequences at both individual and collective levels. Because people construct narratives from available social and cultural materials, the analysis of narratives can shed light on longstanding questions — where identities come from and how they influence social action; how inequalitites are maintained and reproduced; why some social movements gain traction when others don't; how authority and power become institutionalized — while upsetting longstanding answers to ideas about culture, self-interest, and instrumental rationality. This mini-course addresses general issues such as the definition of narrative and the narrative turn in social science, the distinction between those who approach narrative as explanation and those who understand it as an object of inquiry, the work narratives do in constructing meaning, selves, social groups, institutions, collective resistance, and inequality, and varied methodological approaches to analyzing narratives.