chapter  19
Narrative Performance Theory
Making Stories, Doing Family
ByKristin M. Langellier, Eric E. Peterson
Pages 11

Narrative performance theory is based in phenomenological and semiotic traditions of studying human communication. One goal of narrative performance theory is to take communication context seriously, that is, to locate how family storytelling is embodied and situated in history and culture. Family storytelling, embodied and constrained by material conditions, is known through the discursive practices in which it participates. Therefore, a second goal of narrative performance theory is to analyze how discourse operates according to rules of power and knowledge. A third goal of narrative performance theory is an explicitly critical focus on relations of power. Making stories and doing family in storytelling highlights embodied and situated communication: emotional, dynamic, and creative. One obvious and understudied variation of family storytelling can be found in the growth of computer-mediated practices, such as Facebook and video chats with extended family members.