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Tales of the City

Tales of the City
A Study of Narrative and Urban Life


  • Date Published: October 1998
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521626231

£ 39.99

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About the Authors
  • How do we picture urban life and formulate our experience of it? Tales of the City, first published in 1998, brings together the academics' abstract tales with the vivid stories about a particular city, Milton Keynes, and the often moving self-narrations of its residents. It explores the role of story-telling processes for the creative constructing of experience, with particular attention to personal narrations. The story that is now emerging, told by many individual actor narrators, is of the city as a natural setting for human life, in stark contrast to the pessimistic anti-urban tales of many academic narrators. Drawing on narrative studies, cultural and linguistic anthropology and social theory, Professor Finnegan skilfully examines the narrative conventions and cultural implications of our multiple tales of the city, and relates them to profound mythic themes about urban life, community, and to the creative role of the active, reflecting individual.

    • Narrative analysis is catching on in the social sciences, and this is an excellent example of its application, covering many familiar issues but also inventing new territories
    • Combines insights from recent work in narrative studies and urban theory to analyse a great range of stories about the city
    • High profile author in the field of anthropology, linguistics and folklore, and book will sell on her name
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Finnegan is an expert in the field of narrative, as she knowledgeably summarises the academic discussion on the categories of story and narrative in a wide range of disciplines …'. Anthropos

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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 1998
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521626231
    • length: 228 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 153 x 16 mm
    • weight: 0.487kg
    • contains: 10 b/w illus. 4 maps
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Opening:
    1. Story: 'the orders by which we live our lives'
    Part II Stories of Cities and of a City:
    2. Abstract tales: the narrative in urban theory
    3. Storying the concrete city: cows, gardens and other urban tales
    Part III. Storied Lives and Urban Experience:
    4. Stories and lives: the lates of individual urban dwellers
    5. 'That's my story': narrative conventions in personal tales
    6. Personal narratives and urban images
    Part IV. Ending:
    7. Whose stories of the city?

  • Author

    Ruth Finnegan, The Open University, Milton Keynes

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