Document Actions

Stefan Iversen

Strange Narratives in Rhetorical Discourse (11.11.2017)

During the last decade, narrative theory has seen a burst of interest in what has been called the nexus of mind and narrative (Herman 2013), carried forth by ideas of the similarities between understanding real life and understanding fiction (Zunshine 2007; Palmer 2010). This interest has been accompanied, and at times directly challenged, by an equally energetic interest in how experimental and strange narratives found in literature, film and other media may obstruct, subvert, or deconstruct real-world protocols for sense making by presenting readers with “strange” (Caracciolo 2016), “unreadable” (Abbott 2014), or “unnatural” phenomena (Richardson 2015; Alber 2016; Iversen 2013). The starting point for this talk is the observation that storytelling constellations that defy, test or mock everyday processes of sense-making also exist outside of the realms of generic fiction. Elaborating on a rhetorical reading of the concept of defamiliarization, the aim of the talk is to show that not only do experimental, strange and unnatural narratives materialize across contemporary public discourses; they also come to serve communicative functions. This will be shown trough readings of cases from a range of traditionally nonfictive rhetorical genres such as the discourse of humanitarianism, NGO-branding, protest movements and present-day political rhetoric.

Main Research Interests

  • Narrativity and storytelling
  • Text theory and analysis
  • Rhetorical analysis

Publications (selected)

  • Interrogating Caribbean Masculinities: Theoretical and Empirical Analyses. St. Augustine: University of

    With Mikka Lene Pers-Højholt: Interlocking Narratives: The Personal Story and the Masterplot in Political Rhetoric. In: Narrativity, Fictionality and Factuality and the Staging of Identity. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2016.

  • Narrative. In: Mads Rosendahl Thomsen, Dan Ringgaard: Literature: An Introduction to Theory and Analysis. London: Bloomsbury, 2016

  • With Henrik Skov Nielsen: The Politics of Fictionality in The Act of Killing and The Ambassador. In: European Journal of English Studies, 2016.


To watch the video please login here.