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stories of America: In search of national values in family memorate

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Date Issued:
2003
Summary:
This study examines American cultural values through the lens of family storytelling. It addresses: (a) the role of family stories in the transmission of cultural values, (b) the existence of shared American cultural archetypes, motifs and themes, (c) the existence of shared national values, and (d) the role of storytelling in promoting peace. Since September 11, 2001, American leaders and journalists have repeatedly emphasized the distinction between the American Weltanschauung and that of the terrorists and their supporters, particularly with regard to an orientation to life and death, and tradition and progress. As dynamic folklore, family stories are the ideal instruments with which to tease out deep-rooted values. Stories are rich repositories of cultural schemas, the bricolage of information and attitudes that form our identities. They are also replete with symbols that reflect shared, unconscious understandings. Unlike many other cultural products, moreover, family stories are relatively unaffected by government or corporate agendas. What is more, they typically resonate with Americans. For this study, I examined 54 family stories collected from 12 native-born informants of diverse backgrounds according to four modes of analysis: archetypes; motifs; themes and subjects. The analyses revealed that the primary relevant archetypes, motifs, themes and subjects present in these stories are unlucky accidents/survivors; tricksters/heroes; death/rebirth, and family feuds. National values that emerged from the stories tend to reflect many of the values that are historically attributed to Americans, including an emphasis on achievement, individualism, and, in particular, progress. In addition, the stories reveal a certain tension between past- and future orientation in American culture. Finally, storytelling both reflects and comprises the social drama characterized by Turner as breach/crisis/redress/integration that leads to communitas. This study attempts to help promote communitas by demonstrating how we can begin to connect with others through the common values found in our stories.
Title: The stories of America: In search of national values in family memorate.
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Name(s): Neile, Caren Schnur.
Florida Atlantic University, Degree grantor
Brown, Susan Love, Thesis advisor
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Electronic Thesis Or Dissertation
Issuance: monographic
Date Issued: 2003
Publisher: Florida Atlantic University
Place of Publication: Boca Raton, Fla.
Physical Form: application/pdf
Extent: 188 p.
Language(s): English
Summary: This study examines American cultural values through the lens of family storytelling. It addresses: (a) the role of family stories in the transmission of cultural values, (b) the existence of shared American cultural archetypes, motifs and themes, (c) the existence of shared national values, and (d) the role of storytelling in promoting peace. Since September 11, 2001, American leaders and journalists have repeatedly emphasized the distinction between the American Weltanschauung and that of the terrorists and their supporters, particularly with regard to an orientation to life and death, and tradition and progress. As dynamic folklore, family stories are the ideal instruments with which to tease out deep-rooted values. Stories are rich repositories of cultural schemas, the bricolage of information and attitudes that form our identities. They are also replete with symbols that reflect shared, unconscious understandings. Unlike many other cultural products, moreover, family stories are relatively unaffected by government or corporate agendas. What is more, they typically resonate with Americans. For this study, I examined 54 family stories collected from 12 native-born informants of diverse backgrounds according to four modes of analysis: archetypes; motifs; themes and subjects. The analyses revealed that the primary relevant archetypes, motifs, themes and subjects present in these stories are unlucky accidents/survivors; tricksters/heroes; death/rebirth, and family feuds. National values that emerged from the stories tend to reflect many of the values that are historically attributed to Americans, including an emphasis on achievement, individualism, and, in particular, progress. In addition, the stories reveal a certain tension between past- and future orientation in American culture. Finally, storytelling both reflects and comprises the social drama characterized by Turner as breach/crisis/redress/integration that leads to communitas. This study attempts to help promote communitas by demonstrating how we can begin to connect with others through the common values found in our stories.
Identifier: 9780496283606 (isbn), 12023 (digitool), FADT12023 (IID), fau:8938 (fedora)
Collection: FAU Electronic Theses and Dissertations Collection
Note(s): Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Florida Atlantic University, 2003.
Subject(s): Storytelling--United States
Family--United States
Values
Interpersonal relations
Held by: Florida Atlantic University Libraries
Persistent Link to This Record: http://purl.flvc.org/fau/fd/FADT12023
Sublocation: Digital Library
Use and Reproduction: Copyright © is held by the author, with permission granted to Florida Atlantic University to digitize, archive and distribute this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.
Use and Reproduction: http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC/1.0/
Host Institution: FAU
Is Part of Series: Florida Atlantic University Digital Library Collections.