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Narratives in Academic and Professional Genres


Edited By Maurizio Gotti and Carmen Sancho Guinda

This book received the Enrique Alcaraz Research Award in 2015.

Through Narrative Theory, the book offers an engaging panorama of the construction of specialised discourses and practices within academia and diverse professional communities. Its chapters investigate genres from various fields, such as aircraft accident reports, clinical cases and other scientific observations, academic conferences, academic blogs, climate-change reports, university decision-making in public meetings, patients’ oral and written accounts of illness, corporate annual reports, journalistic obituaries, university websites, narratives of facts in legal cases, narrative processes in arbitration hearings, briefs, and witness examination accounts. In addition to exploring narration in this wide range of contexts, the volume uses narrative as a powerful tool to gain a methodological insight into professional and academic accounts, and thus it contributes to research into theoretical issues. Under the lens of Narratology, Discourse and Genre Analysis, fresh research windows are opened on the study of academic and professional interactions.


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YIANNIS GABRIEL Researchers as Storytellers: Storytelling in Organizational Research - 105


YIANNIS GABRIEL Researchers as Storytellers: Storytelling in Organizational Research Scholars using storytelling and narratives in their research embrace a fundamental distinction between two types of thinking. This distinction, first put forward by Bruner (1986) but traceable to Habermas (1972) and others, draws a line between logico-scientific thinking and narrative thinking, which address knowledge and truth in contrasting ways. The former aims at law-like generalizations while the latter constructs plots with motivated characters and inter-woven events. Logico-scientific thinking places great value on predictive validity and reliability of knowledge and searches for truth in quasi- objective relations between variables and concepts. It is guided by a logic of verification and falsification, even when these prove tempora- ry, provisional or even unattainable. Narrative thinking, on the other hand, is guided by a quest for meaning and sense, attempting to view events as outcomes, intended or unintended, of human actions, emo- tions and intentions. The first way of thinking is sometimes seen as nomothetic, engaging with the general, treating exceptions as devia- tions calling for theoretical elaborations and modifications. The sec- ond is idiographic, treating each particular event as unique, calling for a special kind of interpretation and explanation. The two types of thinking subscribe to distinct regimes of truth and, generally, follow different research methodologies. Logico-scien- tific knowledge usually adheres to quantitative methodologies and views truth as ultimately determinable by appeals to evidence and fact. Its ultimate aim is the discovery of immutable links between causes and effects, whereas narrative knowledge tends to...

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