Tales of the City: a Study of Narrative and Urban Life

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How do we picture urban life and formulate our experience of it? Tales of the City, first published in 1998, brings together the academics' abstract tales with the vivid stories about a particular city, Milton Keynes, and the often moving self-narrations of its residents. It explores the role of story-telling processes for the creative constructing of experience, with particular attention to personal narrations.

 

The story that is now emerging, told by many individual actor narrators, is of the city as a natural setting for human life, in stark contrast to the pessimistic anti-urban tales of many academic narrators. Drawing on narrative studies, cultural and linguistic anthropology and social theory, Professor Finnegan skilfully examines the narrative conventions and cultural implications of our multiple tales of the city, and relates them to profound mythic themes about urban life, community, and to the creative role of the active, reflecting individual.