What does master story mean

What is a narrative?

About master stories

A Narration (Latin "narratio": story) is a representation or presentation of something. Some of you may know the word from literary studies or from German lessons. We can first use it as a fancier synonym for history understand. It depicts an action that could have happened like in a documentary, or that was fictitious, like in a fairy tale. This narration is told or written down by someone. Behind a story is a process of production in which all kinds of rules of art, such as stylistic means or popular figures and motifs, are used to create the most appealing representation possible. A narration is not just a mere listing of ingredients, but rather an artful kitchen in which the narrator processes his colors, emotions and plot into an overall composition with loving attention to detail and skilfully drapes them on the listener's table. He doesn't just put carrots, onions, tomatoes and a cow in the dining room. He processes them into a finely seasoned ragout that he serves with silver cutlery in shiny china. The skilful narrator tries to meet the tastes of his audience.

Maybe now some will think that they want to believe that when it comes to the mentioned fairy tales. “But the documentaries! This is not an invention, it's a fact! ”You may reply, wrinkling your forehead critically. Here it helps to use the English language, which translates the word history twice: once as story and once as History. The story is the narration, the story prepared by a storyteller. It is also from that Story telling spoken, which emphasizes again: Here is a helmsman at work who directs and guides the fortunes of young Frodo on his way to Mount Doom.

As for the history, the documentation of the past and the present, we have to take a closer look. These documentations also come from the pen of a person, be it a historian, a chronicler, a social or cultural scientist, a journalist or whoever claims to merely write down what happened. And even this battalion of top-class scientists and specialists will not lead the live cow into the dining room for the audience. They too make something out of it that is impressive.

To explain this a bit, the ethnologist Claude Levi-Strauss should be introduced here, who took a closer look at the history of colonialism of the 19th century in Central and Latin America, i.e. the traditions from this time. He collected various reports on this and compared the story of the colonial masters (the masters) with the stories of the slaves. His result was that the written and circulated history of colonialism only included the perspective of the masters and not the perspective of the slaves. So Levi-Strauss invented the term master narrative (master narratives), with which he wanted to point out that this was only half the story. With the word NarrativeAs Levi-Strauss used it, it was no longer just a story (a narration), but a certain established narrative that is meaningful, conveys values ​​and emotions and explains how the world order is composed. [1]

Two elementary properties of a narrative are now described: On the one hand, it is always about the narration from a certain perspective. On the other hand, a narrative arises and spreads through power structures. In other words, it is the established story, invented and / or enforced by those in power, but which becomes legitimate and therefore effective for the entire community.

Back to history: After the findings of Levi-Strauss and the debates that followed, critical reflection on history has changed and historiography as it is practiced today is also aware of the danger of the one-sided master narrative. In addition to listing dates, the greater significance of events is now largely told from multiple perspectives. From this, for example, the fields of Subaltern Studies and des Post colonialism developed. For our topic of diversity, however, the academic practice of history is of secondary importance. More central here is the knowledge of narratives, which Levi-Strauss also called myths.

We still have narratives today and they are as dynamic as they are pervasive in our societies. You negotiate life goals, values, orientation and identity. They explain what is, why it is and, above all, why what is right is what is. In the narratives we find the narratives of the cultures, the explanations and reasons for how things should go and why. Narratives are motivating and trend-setting, they explain the usefulness of an action, which outcome would be desirable and which value it implies. We find them not only in large cultures, but also in smaller units, such as in a club, a company, a department or a family. In the course of life, many people also develop narratives about themselves. “I'm the one who always does XY.” Or “If I just do XY, then Z will happen to me too.” Or “Because I'm XY, always will too Z be. "

What happens now and why we are dealing with the narrative here is the following: Based on the narrative, the binding and popular myth, people decide and evaluate their actions. It becomes a pattern for a way of life. Conversely, actions actually carried out by people are checked for correctness using the pattern. Now we live in a diverse society in which different myths collide and myths, once told, develop further. So what is right and correct in one logic and time will possibly meet with discontent and resistance in the other logic and time. Who is right now? Which myth is truer? How does the regulation of narratives work? Which master narrative does the other offer, which has to subordinate itself as a slave narrative?

The answer to this question is closely related to habit and taste. Those who prevail aren't just the most aggressive, the loudest, or the quickest to speak. The assertive are those who can cook particularly well, i.e. who have mastered their story-telling. The audience will not eat the cow that is herded into the dining room fastest and loudest. Anyone who encounters his audience in this way is more likely to be frightened, if we just think of the reaction of the readership to Darwin's "The Origin of Species", a publication that found the greatest impetus in the Christian socialized society of the 19th century. The reason for this was not that his cow was a farce, it was just chased into the room far too quickly and was simply too different from what had been eaten before. It took a lot of intermediate courses for the crowd to accept this suggestion.

No, the audience will eat the ragout that smells the finest, is served in the most enchanting bowl and is served before them in candlelight and violin heaven with the warm recommendations of the chef, who at best has already been spoken of in the highest tones. People love good stories with pretty characters, just as they love good food in pretty service. In the end, you will probably always choose the dish that tastes best for you. And that is always a question of what they are used to eating, because it shouldn't be too different from that. In summary, we can say that assertive narratives, like the most popular stories, always build on what is already known and accepted with a nuance of new, and present the audience with something flattering that they like.

Konrad H. Jarausch, Martin Sabrow (2002): “Master narrative” - On the career of a term. In this. (Ed.): “The historical master story. Lines of interpretation of German national history after 1945. " Göttingen: Vanderhoeck & Ruprecht, pp. 9–31.

Cultural theory in other words, power and resistance Claude Levi-Strauss, discourse, history, history, power, master narration, myths, narration, narrative, post-colonialism, story, story-telling, truth