Sociology Index


Metanarrative is a story, narrative or theory which claims to be above the ordinary or local accounts of social life. Postmodernists claim that the majority of the writings of Karl Marx, David Emile Durkheim and Max Weber are offered as metanarratives, presented as capturing universal properties of social life and thus superior to local or more grounded stories.

Postmodernist social theorists argue for a return to the local, the rejection of grand theory and a privileged position for science and its narratives, and an acknowledgment of the inherently political nature of all narratives.

Science(s) - which, when and whose? Probing the metanarrative of scientific knowledge in the social construction of nature - Pedynowski, Dena - Abstract: The role of 'scientific knowledges' in the social construction of reality has become a focal point of deconstruction and debate in both geography and science and technology studies over the past decades. I demonstrate that many authors have constructed a metanarrative of 'science' as a discursive strategy for their critiques of society. This metanarrative belies the contemporary complexity of scientific endeavor and its diverse epistemic cultures.

Cultural Authenticity as Entropic Metanarrative: A Case from Ryukyuan Studies
Assistant Professor Yoshinobu Ota - Hokkaido Tokai University, Japan
Concepts: authentic, culture, Japanese, paper, process, search, study
In examining an history of ethnographic investigations of the Ryukyus, a long chain of islands south of Japan, this paper proposes to identify a process by which the Ryukyuan culture is constructed as the authentic, exotic Other, a process to which not only Japanese ethnographers and folklorists but also Western anthropologists have actively contributed.

Interjected Routines as Metanarrative Commentary - Roemer, Danielle M. 
This report considers some of the expectations, conventions, and strategies relied upon by Anglo children when they are participating in the speech event of storytelling, with particular focus on the children's interweaving of narrational and metanarrational speech. The data were obtained from white middle-class schoolchildren, aged six through nine years, who attended after-school day-care centers at two Austin, Texas, public elementary schools. The children in freely-chosen groups were tape-recorded while they were telling stories. The data were examined for information concerning their expectations and techniques for managing peer-group storytelling. It is generally understood that as intra-performance, metanarrative commentary, the interjections by the participants in the group call attention to various aspects of story-telling in progress, and are interwoven with the discourse of the story-telling itself.

The Development of Metanarrative Speech and Gesture in Children's Storytelling - Cassell, Justine 
This study examined interaction between non-referential gesture and discourse-structuring linguistic devices in the development of metanarrative ability. Specifically, the development of the interaction between beat gestures and all metanarrative devices was analyzed in 9 children aged 5-6, 8-9, 11-12, and in 3 adults. Subjects viewed a cartoon and were videotaped recounting the story to listeners of the same age. Results showed that (1) adults produce metanarrative and narrative statements when telling a story, with the beat gestures accompanying metanarrative statements; (2) young children do not produce many metanarrative statements, but the percentage of metanarrative clauses in a story increases with age; (3) young children do produce as many beat gestures as adults, but they do not have the same distribution and do not occur primarily in metanarrative clauses; and (4) young children's beat gestures occur with time words. In conclusion, young children do provide structure, in their speech and gesture, in the stories they tell.

Telos, Chronos, and Hermeneia: The Role of Metanarrative in Leadership Effectiveness through the Production of Meaning - Justin A. Irving and Karin Klenke
Justin A. Irving, M.Div., Instructor of Ministry Leadership, Center for Transformational Leadership, Bethel University, St. Paul, MN
Karin Klenke, Ph.D., Professor, School of Leadership Studies, Regent University, Virginia Beach, VA
Abstract: In this article, we argue for the existence of a relationship between metanarrative and leadership effectiveness that is mediated by personal meaning. After analyzing the relevant literatures, we present a model that attributes this relationship to the capacity of metanarrative to produce meaning through the interpretive frames of Telos (teleological context), Chronos (historical-narrative context), and Hermeneia (interpretive context). We begin with a review of the leadership effectiveness literature followed by a discussion of the theoretical foundations of the concepts of meaning and metanarrative.