Identity authority, artistic authority, markets and meaning: contemporary English-language storytellers examined

Welch, Wendy (2006) Identity authority, artistic authority, markets and meaning: contemporary English-language storytellers examined. Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

This dissertation's central theme is who professional storytellers are and what they do. It investigates the occupation of professional storytelling in the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States. A partially autoethnographic study borrowing from concepts of life-writing, it examines the professional storytelling organizations of these nations, as well as the identity, individual and communal ownership ethics, and marketing practices of professional storytellers. It discusses how these factors affect the storytelling profession and the behavior of its practitioners. The background of professional storytelling stemming from oral tradition, literary and library work, theatre, spirituality and other sources is examined here. -- Key concepts in this examination are identity authority and artistic authority, and how storytellers, folklorists, and listeners perceive the differences between the two. Identity authority reflects on the background and heritage of the storyteller, while artistic authority stems from their talent and ability to tell a story in a way that engages an audience. Storytellers see their identities as creative artists, activists, dispensers of wisdom, and as cultural representatives or presenters. -- Authenticity is examined as a critical point. Authenticity, I argue, has multiple meanings within folklore studies. It can also be too context-specific to interpret widely. As discussed in the thesis, marketing concepts also problematize claims of authenticity.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral (PhD))
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/9917
Item ID: 9917
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (leaves 392-417).
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Folklore
Date: 2006
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Storytellers--Canada; Storytellers--Great Britain; Storytellers--United States; Storytelling--Canada; Storytelling--Great Britain; Storytelling--United States.

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