Vol. 26:1 (2016) ► pp.64–87
Stories of (self)-introduction for communicative effectiveness of an institutionalized storytelling performance
Over the last few decades, increasing interest in oral narratives as a point of entry into understanding self-presentation and construction of personal and social identities has led to several studies which adopt a contextualized approach to analyses of everyday conversational narratives. In this study, adopting a similar contextualized approach but focusing on a less spontaneous and more institutionalized type of oral storytelling, I examine the narrative told as an introduction to a professional storyteller before her storytelling performance, as well as the oral tale inscribed with institutional messages told during her storytelling performance. I discuss how the construction of storyteller’s identities in the narrative of introduction preceding the telling of an oral tale was an important strategy that enhanced the communicative effectiveness of the storytelling performance in disseminating the institutional messages. The study extends our understanding of the ways in which various institutions in contemporary society have been using storytelling performances by professional storytellers as a communicative, educative and meaning-making tool.