The New Narrative: Applying narratology to the shaping of futures outputs

Article English OPEN
Raven, P.G. ; Elahi, S. (2015)
  • Publisher: Elsevier
  • Journal: Futures, volume 74, pages 49-61 (issn: 0016-3287)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.1016/j.futures.2015.09.003
  • Subject: Business and International Management | Development | Sociology and Political Science

Both scenario development and design practices incorporate elements of storytelling, but this use remains undertheorised. This paper will draw upon literary theory, film theory and science fiction criticism to develop an analytical model of narrative structure and rhetorics which speaks to the concerns of scenario developers and designers when engaged in shaping the final outputs or deliverables of a futures project.\ud \ud After highlighting the differing role of telos in art and futures and defining the metacategory of “narratives of futurity”, this paper then defines the terms “story”, “narrative”, “narrator” and “world” in the literary context. It then shows how those concepts map onto futures practice, before going into detail regarding the variety of narrative strategies available across a range of different forms and media, and the qualitative effects that they can reproduce in audiences. There follows the construction of a 2 × 2 matrix based on the critical concepts of narrative mode and narrative logic, within which narratives of futurity might be usefully catalogued and compared, and from which certain broad conclusions may be reached as regards the relation between choice of medium and rhetorical effect. The implications of this analysis are explored in detail.
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