chapter  4
The deployment of meaning in story
Pages 23

Chapter 3 considered story in the way it relates to learning. It was the first of the three sections on theoretical aspects of story. This chapter covers the second section of theoretical material, focusing on the deployment of meaning in story. The chapter consists of three sections. The first (and largest) (p. 54) examines the ways in which meaning is constructed for tellers and listeners of stories by reviewing various ways in which stories and features of story are distinctively ‘framed’. The idea of a frame seems to provide a useful structure for the discussion of deployment of meaning. Factors that frame story include the most obvious ways in which a person knows that a story is being told, the notion that there is a distinctive ‘grammatical structure’ of stories and the way in which story can remove the listener from what we understand as reality. I look also the quality of engagement, and at reality and fiction and listener responses to story such as the ‘suspension of disbelief’. The last part of the discussion about the framing of meaning in story relates to the way in which a story, acting as a unit, is often used to stimulate the listener into particular kinds of thinking and reflection. This is the manner in which story is often used in therapy and in organisational change. The other shorter two sections of the chapter have more general reference to

the interpretation of meaning in story. I address the idea that story can be seen as a form of knowledge and therefore its interpretation varies with the understanding that the listener and teller have of the nature of knowledge (epistemological beliefs) (p. 69). In the last section I consider the ways in which the processes of memory influence the manner in which stories are told, heard and retransmitted (p. 73).