Narrative Network

Vienna 2009

Workshop: Narrative Fact and Fiction - Patterns of narrative construction in media stories and differential effects

Hosted by the "Narrative Network", the ECREA Section "Audience and Reception Studies" and the Department of Communication of the University of Vienna

4-5, April 2009, University of Vienna

One of the most important functions of media is to inform and connect citizens, enabling them to participate in democratic processes and providing the grounds for integration and social cohesion in a society. Specifically, media stories support and uphold these functions. Both journalistic stories referencing real life events as well as fictional stories referencing fictitious worlds contribute to the audience's knowledge and world view - possibly complementing or contradicting each other. Fictional and factual stories increasingly converge in terms of style and content. Topics are followed up across pragmatic boundaries. A good example of this is Dan Brown's book "The Da Vinci Code" that reinterprets biblical history, which has solicited popular historical books scrutinizing the novel's assertions. While the distinction of fact and fiction is clear on the production side, it seems to be less clear in the audience's mind and next to irrelevant for actual story experience and effects.

The workshop deals with the question how fictional and factual stories are intertwined at various levels and intends to deepen insights of how patterns of construction and the effects of stories differ with respect to its factual or fictional background. Contributions address aspects such as: What different types of narrative patterns exist in factual and fictional media stories? What are characteristics of effective stories? How do factual and fictional stories interact in the audience's mind?

Organisation: Susanne Kinnebrock, University of Vienna; Helena Bilandzic, University of Erfurt

>>> Programme (PDF)