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Reportaget som berättelse: En narratologisk undersökning av reportagegenren
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Culture and Aesthetics.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8376-7877
2021 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
The Reportage as Narrative : A Narratological Investigation of the Genre­ (English)
Abstract [en]

This study ­is the first dissertation where the genre of reportage (in the U.S. classified as literary journalism) is systematically mapped with the help of narratology. Using tools primarily from structural discourse narratology, the thesis examines, describes and maps written reportages as narratives. Rhetorical and cognitive narratology complement the approach. 

The investigation rests on two assumptions. Firstly, a reporter’s professional purpose is to report about people and states of affairs outside the reporter herself. This results in a contextual commitment, which leaves traces in the narrative in the form of a textual commitment. The latter is in turn divided into narrative empathy and narrative compassion/sympathy. The thesis highlights the creation of narrative structures and stylistic features in reportages and the overall conclusion is that conceptions about a reporter’s professional purpose in fact do influence the narrativity of the text. 

Secondly, in contrast to news journalism, reportage is a personal genre that can be considered a directed reality: the content is taken from reality but the form is personal and a consequence of the writing reporter’s choices. The thesis presents a narratological model where the text develops in the interplay between three instances: a director, a narrator (in a first-person reportage a narrating reporter) and experiencing characters (in a first-person reportage including an experiencing reporter). The director should be regarded as a structuring property of the text itself. 

Part 1 provides a historical background to the reportage genre and the social side of the reporter role. In part 2, narrative characteristics of the genre are explored and defined together with the common roots of reportage and novels within realism and naturalism. Part 3 demonstrates how a contextual commitment can be transformed into a textual commitment. Throughout the dissertation, the director model is used to investigate differences and similarities between subcategories within the genre, sometimes between single texts, sometimes between reportage in general and fictional narrative. In part 4, a typology of reportage is presented. The genre is divided into five types of narration, based on the representational relation between how the physical reporter has collected information and in what ways an experiencing reporter is or is not apparent in the text. 

The thesis ends with a historicization of consonance and dissonance within the reportage genre. Consonance emphasizes the characters’ “here-and-now” and can be found within a broad, classical tradition of eyewitness reporting. Dissonance emphasizes the narrator’s retrospective perspective and can be found within the modernistic type of American New Journalism and in more experimentally written reportages from the most recent decades. The thesis demonstrates how both these ways of narrating may enable the reader’s narrative empathy with someone else than the experiencing reporter.

The analyses and conclusions are mainly based on Swedish reportages from 1819 to 2014. This material is complemented with international reportages from 1903 to 2007,  from Norway, Poland, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Bohemia, Croatia, Belarus and the U.S. Accordingly, the dissertation demonstrates that traditions of reportage are primarily international and that the observations about narrative patterns within the genre are also relevant outside of Sweden. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Institutionen för kultur och estetik, Stockholms universitet , 2021. , p. 301
Keywords [en]
Structural Narratology, Reportage, Literary Journalism, Directed Reality, Contextual Commitment, Textual Commitment, Narrative Empathy, Narrative Compassion
National Category
General Literature Studies
Research subject
Literature
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-189659ISBN: 978-91-7911-426-8 (print)ISBN: 978-91-7911-427-5 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-189659DiVA, id: diva2:1523808
Public defence
2021-03-25, digitalt via Zoom, länk finns tillgänglig på institutionens webbplats, 10:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2021-03-02 Created: 2021-01-29 Last updated: 2022-02-25Bibliographically approved

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Aare, Cecilia

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