Talk, narrative, and social interaction in a Cape Breton general store

Macpherson, Natalie Dawn (1987) Talk, narrative, and social interaction in a Cape Breton general store. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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    Available under License - The author retains copyright ownership and moral rights in this thesis. Neither the thesis nor substantial extracts from it may be printed or otherwise reproduced without the author's permission.
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Abstract

A portrait of a rural community and the attitudes and values held by the people of this community is documented through this study of talk, narrative and social interaction. The focus of this thesis is MacPherson's general store, located in Margaree Valley, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. The contents include the history of the store and its merchants, the physical environment, and the socializing patterns which occur within it. The purpose of this study is to document the tradition of storytelling in Margaree Valley, to describe the context in which the storytelling takes place and to highlight the patterns of social behaviour associated with the art of communication. -- As a native of the community and a member of the MacPherson family, the author provides an insider's perspective on talk, narrative and socializing patterns in Margaree Valley. Fieldwork was conducted from January to April, 1982. During this time period, the author was involved in participant-observation fieldwork in the general store. Additional field notes were collected in 1978 and from May 1982 until June 1985. A total of seventeen formal interviews were also conducted. -- The documented research indicates that the tradition of storytelling in Margaree Valley is changing but not dying. Narrative performances, once more common, have given way to more subtle narratives which are now imbedded in the routine daily conversations. MacPherson's general store is the focal point in the community from which one can observe patterns of socialization. It is an integral component of everyday socialization for members of Margaree Valley. As this environment has changed, so have the patterns of sociability. Observations indicate that storytelling is both versatile and flexible. It continues to adapt and adjust to changes in the environment in order to survive. The significance of the store's role to the community, and its relation to the author, have enabled her to present an intimate ethnographic study of socializing patterns in this Cape Breton community. The contents are pertinent to anyone interested in the history of general stores, the function of general stores in a rural environment or the socializing patterns that have evolved within this setting.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/5506
Item ID: 5506
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 284-296.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Folklore
Date: 1987
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Canada--Nova Scotia--Margaree Valley
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Storytelling--Nova Scotia--Margaree Valley; Folklore--Nova Scotia--Margaree Valley; Margaree Valley (Nova Scotia)--Social life and customs

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