narrative/discourse

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Gabriel Malheiros

Senior Member
Portuguese - Brazil
Hi, there

I have been trouble figuring out the difference between "narrative" and "discourse". For example, if I want to talk about the bias in the media, which one should I use?

"This book offers you instruments to see through the biased media discourse/narrative and unravel the intricacies of the construction of that narrative/discourse"

Neither?

Thank you, everybody!
 
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Both words seem possible to me, but I prefer "narrative". I associate "discourse" with conversation and essays. I don't typically think of "discourse" when I think about news stories.
     

    Gabriel Malheiros

    Senior Member
    Portuguese - Brazil
    I assume you know what a narrative is, what caused difficulties with discourse - WordReference.com Dictionary of English

    I recite a narrative, we have a discourse.
    A discourse is a discussion, a narrative is a story.
    Both words seem possible to me, but I prefer "narrative". I associate "discourse" with conversation and essays. I don't typically think of "discourse" when I think about news stories.
    So both of you would say ""This book offers you instruments to see through the biased media narrative and unravel the intricacies of the construction of that narrative."?
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    So both of you would say ""This book offers you instruments to see through the biased media narrative and unravel the intricacies of the construction of that narrative."?
    That's your sentence, of course, and I'd probably come up with something else if I wanted to express those ideas. But I approve of the word "narrative" in that sentence.
     

    Gabriel Malheiros

    Senior Member
    Portuguese - Brazil
    That's your sentence, of course, and I'd probably come up with something else if I wanted to express those ideas. But I approve of the word "narrative" in that sentence.
    Owlman5, what do you mean by "that's your sentence"? Do you find it odd? Would you say something else?
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    No. There's no need to be paranoid, GM. I'm perfectly capable of thinking for myself, so I come up with my own sentences when I need to write something. That's what every individual does. Right?
     

    Vovan

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Gabriel, your choice depends on what the book is trying to unravel in the first place: the structure of the monologue (e.g. the logic used) or the structure of the dialogue (e.g. authoritative opinions that change common people's opinions; foreign influences on the subject).

    I agree with Paul's definitions:
    A discourse is a discussion, a narrative is a story.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    "Discourse" is used nowadays to refer to any spoken or written communication, while "narrative" tells a story. I would be happy to see "discourse" in the OP's sentence. (Well...maybe not happy, but I think the word can be used to talk about the stuff the media puts out, "the dissemination of information".)

    If it's a question of media bias, I think probably "discourse" is the more general word and would cover just about anything broadcast or printed by the media.
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    You make a good case for "discourse", velisarius. A large part of the news over here is devoted to people responding to some host's questions, disagreeing with each other, and trying to dominate the conversation. I must admit that "narrative" doesn't convey this meaning at all.
     

    Gabriel Malheiros

    Senior Member
    Portuguese - Brazil
    "Discourse" is used nowadays to refer to any spoken or written communication, while "narrative" tells a story. I would be happy to see "discourse" in the OP's sentence. (Well...maybe not happy, but I think the word can be used to talk about the stuff the media puts out, "the dissemination of information".)

    If it's a question of media bias, I think probably "discourse" is the more general word and would cover just about anything broadcast or printed by the media.
    You make a good case for "discourse", velisarius. A large part of the news over here is devoted to people responding to some host's questions, disagreeing with each other, and trying to dominate the conversation. I must admit that "narrative" doesn't convey this meaning at all.
    But if by saying "media discourse/narrative" I am referring to this information just as I refer to any other sort of thing that is promoted by some kind of group or sector of society? Like : the marxist narrative/discourse, the liberal narrative/discourse, the companies' discourse/narrative? I mean, a particular way of seeing and describing the facts and putting across your message.
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    I am referring to this information just as I refer to any other sort of thing that is promoted by some kind of group or sector of society? Like : the marxist narrative/discourse, the liberal narrative/discourse, the companies' discourse/narrative? I mean, a particular way of seeing and describing the facts and putting across your message.
    Either word seems possible with that particular meaning. If some group has a particular message that it wants others to accept, I would choose "narrative". To me, "narrative" does a better job of expressing "an official position/story about something". "Discourse" does a better job of expressing the idea "a conversation/discussion about something."
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    I'm whether there's a reference to a more technical use in narrative studies.

    Seymour Chatman (1928-2015) the American critic made the distinction between story and discourse. Story is to do with what happened, and discourse with how the story is told. A narrative has these two components then: story and discourse.

    See Discourse01 (Freiburg University).

    An analysis on the discourse answers questions such as
    What is the narrative situation? Whose point of view is presented? Which narrative modes are employed? How are the thoughts of characters transmitted?
     
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