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ResearchThe Groningen Research Institute for the Study of Culture (ICOG)ResearchResearch centresResearch Centre for Arts in SocietyTheme groups

Narrative in/and Art

Arts and Narrative

Bringing into dialogue various theoretical and methodological perspectives (hermeneutic, phenomenological, cognitive, and sociological), research in this group aims to address these questions by investigating the following subjects: narrative art and the negotiation of values; the uses of narrative strangeness and complexity; subjectivity and identity construction through storytelling; commitment and autonomy in narrative art. Narrative has been characterized as one of our main tools for thinking about human experience, articulating consciousness and constructing our personal and collective identity. It can also be seen as a preferential vehicle for the transmission of values and for ethical reflection. Why is narrative so effective in fulfilling such functions? Is there any specificity to the ways in which these cognitive and socio-cultural functions are performed by the narrative practices that enjoy artistic status? How do current forms and conceptions of art reflect on the relation between aesthetics, politics, and ethics?

As of 2014 this group has temporarily merged with the theme group Art, Medium, and Moving Images , with which it had some overlap in staff and in thematic orientation. The group will be revived in 2017, as there is quite some interest among researchers across the Faculty, as well as in Medical Humanities.

Project showcase

An example of research within this theme group is the project ‘Defamiliarization and Empathy in the Reading Experience’. Marco Caracciolo’s NWO-funded Rubicon project seeks to study the interplay of defamiliarization and empathy in the experience of reading literary texts. What does it mean to empathize with “strange” characters whose bodies, cognitive capacities, or worldview differ dramatically from those of (most) readers? What effects can such empathetic perspective-taking have on the audience? This project addresses these questions by developing an empirical approach to the reading experience based on the principles of phenomenological research. Methodologically, qualitative research in consciousness studies and social psychology is the main source of inspiration for this study.

Involved researchers

Last modified:05 March 2019 12.39 p.m.