- Humanities-Social sciences
Narration, Life and Meaning is a research environment at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at Örebro University. The environment is interdisciplinary and organized jointly by the disciplines of comparative literature and history. The main aim of the environment is to examine different aspects of narration and narrative, as instruments for the formation of meaningful interpretative patterns relating to lived experiences. The individual research projects concern different kinds of narratives: oral and written, factual and fictional, individual and collective. The materials are varied, and among the genres studied we find autobiographies or memoirs, biographies, collective narratives, and works of fiction.
The collaboration began in 2009 and has since then, due to a grant from the Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation, arranged seminaries and workshops relating to topics like biography, fact and fiction, and narrative method. In an anthology, entitled Berättande, liv, mening [Narration, Life and Meaning], we sum up the first phase of the activities in the environment. The participating researchers take part in national and international networks in narratology and biography, such as Oxford Centre for Life Writing (OCLW) and European Narratology Network (ENN).
The environment comprises of four different groups. A first group concentrates on various aspects of autobiographies and biographies. Here, questions relating to the genres and their histories as well as on the fact – fiction distinction are central. A second group focuses on narrative method; that is the study of mainly oral narratives both as a source of knowledge and as a strategy of meaning-making. A third group concentrates on issues relating to the distinction between fact and fiction, focusing both on theoretical issues and on text that can be described either as hybrid or as border liners. The fourth group, finally, discusses theoretical issues relating to narratology, narrative theory, the narrative turn in the humanities and travelling concepts.