Storying Our World: Literary and Pedagogical Perspectives on Human Economics


Pädagogische Hochschule Oberösterreich
Projektleitung gesamt
Kennedy, Melissa Jane; Dr. BA. MA.
Projektleitung intern
Kennedy, Melissa Jane; Dr. BA MA Prof.
Interne Projektmitarbeiter/innen
Spann, Harald; Mag. DDr. Prof.
Externe Projektmitarbeiter/innen
Born-Lechleitner, Ilse;
Johannes Kepler Universität Linz
Universität Wien
2018 – 2023
1. Ausgangslage
„Storying Our World“ claims that a society‘s stories shape reality. With the 2008 Financial Crisis, the developed world narrative of the supremacy of neoliberalism was challenged. In the ten years from 2008—2018 an outpouring of texts by both economists and producers of written and visual media, particularly in the USA and UK, debunk global capitalism as unfair, unethical, and unsustainable. Instead of the primacy of market and finance, they argue for “human economics”: the understanding of the economy as principally concerned with the well-being and sustainability of family, community, and the environment. All these texts employ narrative forms to convey their economic stories, including economic metaphors and images, parables and fables, and in extended dramatic plotlines and case studies. “Storying Our World” thus analyses what literary and media narratives tell us about the choices, priorities, and desires of the „human economy“. Preliminary research (presented at 3 conferences in 2017-18) has already identified several recurring categories around key foci: 1) A desire for community collaboration over individualistic competition; 2) The aim of well-being over financial wealth; 3) Th need for sustainable rather than extractive relationsip with the environment; 4) to promote generosity rather than greed; 5) the change to a circular economy rather than eternal growth; 6) a desire to work-to-live not live-to-work.
The pedagogical aspect is the student-led, hands-on experience in creating the corpus, responding to the narratives, and using these texts in the EFL classroom. The corpus and its analysis derives from student-led analysis and research in English Literature and Cultural Studies Modules in PS and SE courses. This work further provides the initial participatory Action Research for developing the ABC-method as basis for the English Literature and Cultural Studies Curriculum.
The Research Outcomes of the project’s findings are conference presentations, invited lectures, publication of academic articles and a single-authored monograph. Following the initial Action Research into the ABC Method with participation from the Project Team (Spann, Born-Lechleitner), Discet3 partners (Spann, Thomas Wagner, Erwin Gierlinger), and students, I anticipate developing a parallel research project on the ABC Method.

2. Zielsetzungen
a. To identify in New Economic Criticism the common categories of human economics
b. To establish a corpus of narratives that respond to these categories in a range of media forms (pop-economics books, fiction, film, TV series, computer games, other)
c. To investigate the main components of literary form and content in these narratives
d. To study reader responses to these stories through student-led research (EB14.1 (literature) and EB14.3 (culture) Seminars and BA Theses)
e. To consider the pedagogical potential of these stories in EFL literature in the classroom through student-led research (EB14.1Literature and EB14.3Culture) Seminar in English Studies and BA Theses)
f. Groundwork for a potential project extension to study the application of these stories in the classroom through long-term contact with the students after graduation
g. Groundwork for a potential parallel project of the ABC Methodology

3. Methode
a. Extensive reading to define the common categories of human economics in current economic criticism and the narratives used to describe them
b. With students in PS and SE, establish and analyse a corpus of narratives that respond to these categories in a range of media forms
c. Narratological literary analysis of language, form and content of the corpus (ABC Method ‚A‘)
d. Reader Response Theory applied to student responses to these texts (ABC Method ‚B‘)
e. Creativity-based exercises with a didactic interest in teaching these texts in the EFL classroom (ABC Method ‚C‘)

Beschreibung (engl.)