Call for proposals. Interdisciplinary Conference. Involved in stories: narrative in social sciences


Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II
Dipartimento di Scienze Sociali





Interdisciplinary Conference

Involved in stories: narrative in social sciences

NAPLES 28-29 MAY 2015



[email protected]
Dipartimento di Scienze Sociali, Vico Monte della Pietà 1, 80138 Napoli.



In the mid-twentieth century, Wilhelm Schapp stated: « We human beings are always involved in stories. Everyone is always part of every story in which is involved. “History” and “being involved in stories” are closely related to the point that, even in thought, it is likely impossible to separate them. »
Recently, a consistent trend of openness towards narrative analysis has emerged in social sciences. This renewed research perspective integrates a tradition of narratological studies that was originally oriented to the analysis of texts and artistic products, literature, movies, television, and so on.
This phenomenon, defined as narrative turn, apart from connecting traditionally unrelated disciplines to the narratological analysis – such as history, sociology, psychology, politics, economics and marketing – is emerging as a unifying ground for the conventional distinctions between fields of knowledge. On the one hand, the need to re-launch the debate on the use of narratological theories, on the other, the necessity to reconsider such methodological perspectives in order to progress on these lines of research have arisen. All that without neglecting the enormous influence that the spread of digital media has exerted on this field of study.
There will be several ways to handle narrations and their relation with the social world. More specifically, two aspects of the narratological reflection will represent the guidelines of our debate:
The first aspect concerns the gnoseological dimension of the “stories”. It is fair to affirm that narrations offer an alternative to the reification that mechanistic models have imposed on the analysis of both human behaviour and social processes. In this sense, individual and collective stories could be a reply to the construction of socio-scientific projects aimed at conceiving a dominant model of knowledge.
The second aspect refers to the epistemological dimension of narratological studies. A large part of the research programs based on narrations start from the belief that traditional methods, particularly those focusing on large numbers, do not allow to reconstruct the social phenomena in their full richness and complexity.
Without opposing them, narrations integrate numbers – always knitted in scientific narrations – and indicate non-Cartesian ways to analyze social processes. Starting from these assumptions, central will be the space devoted to matters related to the way in which being “involved in the stories” may be considered as the object of knowledge as well as its modus operandi.
The round tables organized for this first edition of the conference have therefore selected some of the possible topics on which a moment of interdisciplinary debate will be built on.




  • Epistemologies and narrative methodologies

The use of narratives in a research project’s design and implementation is never accidental. Why does anyone decide to use narrative materials (biographies, fictions or other artistic products) to formulate and answer the research questions? Which relationships are established between the object of study, its representation and the re-narrated relation between the researcher and researched after the empirical experience? Where does a story begin (or end) in a given research perspective? This round table invites interventions that address the relationship between narrative epistemology and methodology, in close connection with a field research at the early stage, in progress or considered complete.

  • Grammars of the Self: the verb to be and the narratives of identity

The objective of this section is to compare the theoretical perspectives that interpret identity as a narrative phenomenon, in the light of the most recent contributions of the sociological literature. It aims to encourage a reflection especially on the interdisciplinary approaches that aspire to the integration between these perspectives and neuro-cognitive derived studies.

  • Narrating the body

The analysis of narratives or narrative forms that involve the body, as subject – express or implied – of the story or as symbolic and fully expressive instrument (or sign). The body as a vehicle for values and social symbols – ruling or opposing – as the locus of identity, power, conflict, social relations, and the social construction of emotions. From the athletic performance to the multiple forms of affirming the individuality. From the use of the body as an instrument of domination to its value as a space of resistance and political struggle. From the dialectic between nature and culture/technics to the work in its physical connotation, the body represents an essential element in structuring the experience of the world and its knowledge.

  • Grand narratives in the post-serial age

Within the process of demassification that reconfigures the whole media system, bringing industrial languages towards new technological and cultural platforms, the role and nature of the grand serial narratives redefine themselves creating new narrative models and unprecedented social practices. The old concept of standard, around which the stories of mass society were shaped, is leaving the field to widespread experimentation with new formats of expression. An example of this trend are the post-television series, or, if you will, the post-serial fiction. This roundtable aims to investigate the actual scope of innovation linked to the emergence of a new culture of production and consumption of audio-visual narratives.

  • Stories of History. Narrating the world

In a world that every day leads us to become aware of the global nature of the relational networks that affect our lives, the theoretical and methodological instruments of historical and social knowledge, as well as the conceptual arsenal, appear still prisoners of a vision geared to methodological nationalism. This vision, Eurocentric and hegemonizing, in an effort to build a national myth – stressing distinctive and separative elements – costitutes the main obstacle to a plausible analysis of the present world. This section aims to stimulate debate on alternative approaches that go beyond the conception of the world as a mere conglomeration of states, looking for new metaphors and opening the field to the multiplication of perspectives in view of a pluriversal global knowledge.



Proposals for speech must be written in italian, english, spanish or french languages, and sent at the mail address [email protected] containing:

  • Name, institution and academic position
  • Provisional title of the speech and the section chosen
  • Abstract of max 1000 words excluding footnotes


  • Proposal deadline: 28/03/2015
  • Results announced: 7/04/2015
  • Synthetic speech submission: 18/05/2015


Scientific Committee:
Luca Bifulco, Sergio Brancato, Stefano Bory, Giustina Orientale Caputo, Gianfranco Pecchinenda, Oreste Ventrone.

Organizing Committee:
Selene Caldieri, Antonio Camorrino, Emiliano Chirchiano, Emanuela Spanò.