The zone of narrative distance : between agency and authenticity




Zeid, Heba-T-Allah Wagdi

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This is a qualitative study of more than 600 personal narratives of explanation, imagination, celebration, transportation, elevation, and circumspection. Participants (n=130) recreated narratives of their lived experiences in response to prompts and corresponding six angles of appreciation adapted from an “Open Architecture of Narratology ” (Browning & Morris, 2012). Through a constant comparative analysis, recurrent concepts and categories emerged to support the theoretical development of a communicatively constructed “Zone of Narrative Distance”. Grounded theory analysis (Glaser & Strauss, 1967, 2008) also supports “narrative authenticity” as a perceived possible seventh angle for narrative appreciation. In enacting variations of narrative agency, narrators communicatively construed an epistemic distance afforded by remoteness in retrospective reflection and sense making of past experiences. Ontological and epistemological characteristics of the “Zone of Narrative Distance” are discussed in light of potential contribution to the greater discipline of narrative impact across multiple disciplines.


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