The Narrative Turn

The narrative turn began with the works of French literary scholars in the 1960s. They focused their analytical interest on the role of narratives and narration in human life. The role appeared to be essential.

Nowadays, we use different narration methods as instruments of management everywhere. Producers equip goods with stories to sell them better. Marketing specialists use storytelling to promote brands. Developers explore narrative strategies to create bots and other internet production. Narrativisation in all spheres of life works well because people like stories. People live within stories.

However, stories can disturb people significantly due to their particular structures. Especially biographies of other people if we compare them with our real life. Narratives always have a beginning, a vector of story movement and an end. Every day we meet many stories that influence our lives crucially.

We are excited with biographies of millionaires and celebrities in business, finding that “this businessman began his first successful business being a six-year-old boy”. From the immigrant literature, we learn about the suffering of our compatriots when they wandered far from their motherland. As a result, their lives were unhappy. We feel pain and envy while reading somebody’s resume and thinking about her or his rocket career built on ambitious positions. In the formal narrative of resumes, we find meanings of (un)success forgetting that resumes are just formal representations. Then, many people desperately think about their career problems because of the pandemic, serious political cataclysms or family situations. They rarely can show in their professional stories how they struggled against force majeure circumstances. As a result, people are afraid of improving their lives because they did not earn the silver dollar in their childhood, fearing unknown places or thinking they are not competent enough in their professional skills.

After Michael G. Powell’s anthropological reflections on his work during the pandemic (Journal of Business Anthropology, 2022), we understand that our career is just a narrative retold in a resume or an interview. Our life experience hardly resembles it. Our life throws us in different directions, puts obstacles, and chases us ahead. This experience of inconsistency with narratives confuses and takes our powers and self-confidence. On the other hand, creating a self-narrative can play a dirty trick. We see ourselves as a final product when we tell a success story about ourselves. Still, our life is a process. It continues after thirty, forty, and eighty years of living. Thus, we do not need to sentence ourselves to the end of our narrative.

On the contrary, it is better to look at our life, work, production or enterprise without creating a linear narrative with the dead end. We can think about our life and experience as a process and update our life schedule. We can tell, in a way, escaping a rigid scheme, a life, a career, migration and success. Photo: Sophocles “Oedipus Rex” Do you want to know how to use it in business? CONTACT US:

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