What is it about?

Greimas shows that narratives are based on temporality and causality. Causality trains readers to enjoy the exclusion of a "bad" character. René Girard adds that narratives justify the perspective of those who exclude. Recently, some writers in the Americas produce texts, which do not rest on narratives fostering exclusion. They privilege fragmentation, multiple narratives, reincarnation in the body of a victim. These new techniques lead readers to understand how a victim feels. Hence, narrativity is marked by multiculturalism, that is by the recognition of difference and equality as it is underscored by Will Kymlicka.

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Why is it important?

Understanding that for centuries people have been led to accept exclusion because of its justification provided by causality in narratives is important for our world and for its peaceful management. It is also important to compare one of the most important theoretician of narrativity, Greimas, with the famous theoretician of social conflicts, Girard if one wants to escape any justification of violence, which is mostly based on privileging homogeneity over difference. We simultaneously can engage with a multicultural perspective fostering the recognition of difference within the framework of the respect of Human Rights.


My goal is to provide some useful tools to reflect on how people have used narratives to justify exclusion and genocide. I also want to demonstrate that people's ideas and cultures are shaped more by narratives than by languages. My ultimate goal is to contribute to a world where enough people have a sophisticated education helping them to invent a better more creative and peaceful world.

patrick imbert
University of Ottawa

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Concepts of narrative, founding violence, and multiculturalism in the Americas: Greimas, Girard, and Kymlicka, Semiotica, March 2019, De Gruyter, DOI: 10.1515/sem-2015-0142.
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