with an ear to polyphony

Christian Salmon
Storytelling: Bewitching the Modern Mind

Drawing on the work of David Boje (1991 study of storytelling performance in an office-supply firm), Salmon observes:

People tell their stories in fragments and are constantly interrupted by colleagues who add elements drawn from their own experiences. The outcome is a collective form of narration. It is polyphonic but it is also discontinuous and made up of interwoven fragments, of histories that are talked about and swapped. They can sometimes be contradictory, but the company becomes a storytelling organization whose stories can be listened to, regulated, and, of course, controlled.

The appeal to control (in an organizational setting) is undermined by the dialogic nature of the flow of fragments. I think the allusion to Bakhtin (polyphony) rules out monologic control. Not its possibility but its actuality.

And if we reread carefully it is the company’s own stories that can be controlled. Which is different from the people telling their stories. That there are two sets of stories in this paragraph can sometimes be overlooked. Interesting to note that it all pivots on the sometimes contradictory.

And so for day 2900

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