Notes on Narrative as Medium and a Media Ecology Approach to the Study of Storytelling
AbstractStorytelling, as a distinctively human characteristic, is a product of our capacity for language and symbolic communication. Just as language is considered a medium within the field of media ecology, so too can narrative be understood as a medium of communication, as well as a kind of language, and as a fundamentally social phenomenon. As a medium, narrative interacts with and is modified by other media, undergoing significant change as it is expressed through oral tradition, dramatic performance, written documents, and audiovisual media. In particular, major changes in the nature of character and plot accompany the shift from orality to literacy, and writing and especially printing make possible new forms of tragedy as opposed to comedy, prose as opposed to poetry, and fiction as opposed to nonfiction. Storytelling continues to mutate through the introduction of new media, with increasingly greater emphasis on narrative as an environment, especially one associated with social interaction and gaming.
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