The problem of the ‘grand narrative’ in analysis of research

I attended another useful tutor-lead video meeting during the week – interesting to hear what others are doing and one fellow student talking about how she is learning about how she learns. I suppose meta-studying.

Grand narrative and micro-narrative are terms that are being used in our meets to discuss CS research themes. I think how we describe things is important to our understanding, and I find these terms problematic in the context of individual research. I think of grand narrative, or metanarrative in the way the term was defined by Jean-Francois Lyotard and described in critical theory (Macey) as a narrative legitimising knowledge in the context of historical events, and claiming to have universal status, explaining all other narratives. A concept that Lyotard rejected through the lens of postmodernist thinking; for example the enlightenment grand narrative, after two world wars and the genocide of the Jews.

I understand the structure that is being described with in research, but don’t relate to the grand descriptors. After some research of my own (and discussion with an author friend), I’ve settled on the terms ‘framing narrative’ and ‘framed stories/narratives’. This also speaks to the ideas of frames of vision and frames of understanding, without suggesting a broader world and historical view.

Quick references

Lyotard, J.-F. (1984) The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge. (s.l.): University of Minnesota Press.
Macey, D. (2001) The Penguin dictionary of critical theory. London ; New York: Penguin Books.
Wolf, W. and Bernhart, W. (2006) Framing Borders in Literature and Other Media. Amsterdam, NETHERLANDS, THE: Editions Rodopi. At: (Accessed 17/12/2019).

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