Multiple Versions of MidWest's History

Charlotte Linde

in Working the Past

Published in print January 2009 | ISBN: 9780195140286
Published online January 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780199871247 | DOI:
Multiple Versions of MidWest's History

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This chapter analyzes five temporally complete tellings of the history of MidWest, and posits the existence of a core story repertoire, the set of retold tales that are most frequently told. These include stories about the founder, the growth and expansion of the company, and difficulties overcome. It is the details of the stories that characterize the institution: the particular virtues of the founder, the particular types of effort required. This comparison also shows how narrators use their position in the company and their relation to their addressees to shape a particular telling to be appropriate to an occasion, or to make points particularly salient to the time of the telling. Thus, the core story repertoire is not an inert archive. It is a set of stories which are retold to make them continuously relevant.

Keywords: core story repetoire; temporally complete telling; retold tales; positionality; narrator's position; origin story; founders' stories

Chapter.  19336 words. 

Subjects: Sociolinguistics

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