LACE Winter School: Narrative Values, the Value of Narratives

University of Groningen
January 28 – February 1 

Since the narrative turn, the interest in the concept of narrative and its values has become widespread, both inside and outside the academy. There is a growing interest in narrative fiction as an ‘experimental values laboratory,’ studying both the value of narrative fiction in society and the values that are circulated through narrative fiction. Outside the academy, storytelling has become the focus of interest in many professional practices, such as psychology, counselling, medicine and health, and journalism, where it is used as a tool to piece together broken lives and make sense out of chaos and destruction. Narrative thus appears to be everywhere.

The Winter School, organized in affiliation with the Literature and Change in Europe (LACE) network, offers cutting-edge narratological research with contributions from leading narrative scholars, such as Jan Baetens (Leuven), Hendrik Skov Nielsen (Aarhus), Marina Grishakova (Tartu) and Liesbeth Korthals Altes (Groningen). In it, a broad array of disciplines and practices will be showcased, exploring how narratives are shaped by ethical, aesthetic, epistemological, and social values, and how narratives function as varied and complex transmitters of values in contemporary society.

Special attention will be paid to the ‘dark side’ of the omnipresence of storytelling in contemporary virtual and mediatized culture: on the impact of simple stories catching people’s imagination and spreading like wildfire and the use of stories in politics and marketing to manipulate voters and consumers. There is a need for “narrative savviness”: the ability to critically assess narratives as constructed representations of reality, rather than reality itself, and to be aware of their implies yet often hidden values.

Participants of the Winter School will follow a series of lectures and participate in interactive workshops during which they can present their research projects. Included in the programme is a day-long symposium, organized in honour of prof. dr. Korthals Altes and her contributions to the field of narrative, where additional international speakers will present their work and engage in a lively debate on the negotiation of values in and through narratives.

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