Notes on Narrative as Medium and a Media Ecology Approach to the Study of Storytelling

  • Lance Strate Fordham University, New York City


Storytelling, 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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Author Biography

Lance Strate, Fordham University, New York City
Lance Strate is Professor of Communication and Media Studies at Fordham University in New York City. A founder and past president of the Media Ecology Association, past president of the New York State Communication Association, and trustee and former executive director of the Institute of General Semantics, his research interests include media ecology, new media, and popular culture. He is the author of Amazing Ourselves to Death: Neil Postman's Brave New World Revisited (2014), On the Binding Biases of Time and Other Essays on General Semantics and Media Ecology (2011), and Echoes and Reflections: On Media Ecology as a Field of Study (2006), and a forthcoming book of poetry, Thunder at Darwin Station, and co-editor of The Medium is the Muse: Channeling Marshall McLuhan (2014), Korzybski And… (2012), The Legacy of McLuhan (2005), and two editions of Communication and Cyberspace: Social Interaction in an Electronic Environment (2003, 1996).


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How to Cite
Strate, L. (2014). Notes on Narrative as Medium and a Media Ecology Approach to the Study of Storytelling. Between, 4(8).
Metamorphoses of Narration