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Narrative Theories and Discourse Genres

Code: 104735 ECTS Credits: 6
Degree Type Year Semester
2503873 Interactive Communication OB 2 1


Marķa Rosario Lacalle Zalduendo

Use of Languages

Principal working language:
spanish (spa)
Some groups entirely in English:
Some groups entirely in Catalan:
Some groups entirely in Spanish:


Eulalia Sandiumenge Folch



Objectives and Contextualisation

Objectives and contextualization

The semiologist Roland Barthes wrote in 1966 that the ability to narrate is inherent to humanity and that there has never been and will never exist a people without stories. The origin of storytelling goes back to the myths, religions and tales of ancient societies; but also to figurative representations (drawing, painting, sculpture ...), magical rituals and, in general, to all those expressive forms that turn collective imagination and human communication into stories ready to be narrated. The study of discursive genres, from Aristotelian rhetoric to current procedural rhetoric, obeys the need to understand and reproduce these constantly evolving human manifestations.

The narrative turn, which happens in History at the seventies and in Social Sciences at the eighties, blurs the border between reality and fiction, and shows the structural, aesthetic and thematic similarity between fiction and facts. Narratology arises in this context with the aim of becoming a scientific discipline, which aspires to study both narrative and narration; the narrated as the act of narrating.

The Internet has multiplied the creation and circulation of storytelling to an unthinkable rate in the Gutenberg era, and it has made the consumption of the products from the cultural industries one of the bastions of the worldwide economy. The spread of the internet has promoted the expansion of the narrative in all areas of knowledge. It also stimulates continuous feedback between reality and fiction. Digital storytelling has thus become the prevalent communicative modality not only in politics, but also in science and even in daily interactions between people through social networks.

This course covers the different stages of evolution of narrative theories and genres of discourse, The  aim is to rethink the concepts and foundations of this field of study, as well as their application to the construction and interpretation of stories. The objective isto provide students with the conceptual tools necessary to understand and analyze both fictional and factual digital narratives and genres.

Gender perspective

Coexistence in society arises initially from the instinct to protect the human species, but also from the need to relate to the others. The initial function of the storytelling was the construction and reproduction of norms and protocols of use aimed to guarantee the survival of society, while trying to answer the essential questions of humanity: Where do we come from? ? Who are we? Where do we go?

The constant displacement of themes and narrative motifs from one cultural environment to another, ends up assimilating the characters with the values that determine their position in the social imaginary. This is also the origin of stigmas and stereotypes.

The study of narrative theories and genres of discourse is a paradigmatic area to identify the origin and social construction of stereotypes and stigmas linked to gender cultural constructions. One of the main objectives of this subject is to show, in a critical way, the influence of heteronormative androcentrism in the stories; not only in the past but also in the present. The course pretends to familiarize the  students with the necessary tools to be able to identify the elements from which those stigmas and stereotypes are built and consolidated.


  • Act with ethical responsibility and respect for fundamental rights and duties, diversity and democratic values.
  • Act within one's own area of knowledge, evaluating sex/gender-based inequalities.
  • Devise, create, activate and integrate virtual and augmented-reality spaces, characters and objects.
  • Distinguish between and apply the principal theories, conceptual frameworks and approaches regulating interactive communication.
  • Introduce changes in the methods and processes of the field of knowledge to provide innovative responses to the needs and demands of society.
  • Manage time efficiently and plan for short-, medium- and long-term tasks.
  • Search for, select and rank any type of source and document that is useful for creating messages, academic papers, presentations, etc.
  • Students must be capable of applying their knowledge to their work or vocation in a professional way and they should have building arguments and problem resolution skills within their area of study.
  • Students must be capable of communicating information, ideas, problems and solutions to both specialised and non-specialised audiences.
  • Students must have and understand knowledge of an area of study built on the basis of general secondary education, and while it relies on some advanced textbooks it also includes some aspects coming from the forefront of its field of study.
  • Take account of social, economic and environmental impacts when operating within one's own area of knowledge.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Analyse a situation and identify its points for improvement.
  2. Analyse the sex-/gender-based inequalities and gender bias in one's own area of knowledge.
  3. Communicate using language that is not sexist or discriminatory.
  4. Consider how gender stereotypes and roles impinge on the exercise of the profession.
  5. Cross-check information to establish its veracity, using evaluation criteria.
  6. Distinguish the salient features in all types of documents within the subject.
  7. Identify and compare narrative theories from their beginnings until today's storytelling.
  8. Identify situations in which a change or improvement is needed.
  9. Identify the social, economic and environmental implications of academic and professional activities within one's own area of knowledge.
  10. Interpret and discuss documents on the main theories of communication.
  11. Master the narrative resources and techniques for creating stories tailored to virtual worlds and ascribe them to a particular genre.
  12. Plan and execute narrative works.
  13. Present a summary of the studies made, orally and in writing.
  14. Propose new methods or well-founded alternative solutions.
  15. Propose projects and actions that are in accordance with the principles of ethical responsibility and respect for fundamental rights and obligations, diversity and democratic values.
  16. Propose projects and actions that incorporate the gender perspective.
  17. Propose viable projects and actions to boost social, economic and environmental benefits.
  18. Recognise the division of narrative theories by genre in the new virtual leisure media.
  19. Submit course assignments on time, showing the individual and/or group planning involved.
  20. Weigh up the risks and opportunities of both one's own and other people's proposals for improvement.


1. Introduction to the study of narrative theories and genres

2. Origins and evolution of narrative and rhetoric

3. The narrative cycle

4. Stories and characters 

5. Elements of narratology

6. Enunciation and narration

7. Postmodern narratives

8. The genres of discourse: from Aristotle to procedural rhetoric

9. The interpretation at the digital era

10. Narratives and digital genres

11. Narratives and interactive genres



The teaching activities combine theoretical lessons, classroom exercicis, readings, tutorials, assignments and exams. Discussion will be promoted in all areas, with the aim of stimulating reflection and the capacity for critical analysis.

During one of the classes, the teacher will provide students with 15 minutes to answer the surveys of the teaching performance and the subject or module.

Annotation: Within the schedule set by the centre or degree programme, 15 minutes of one class will be reserved for students to evaluate their lecturers and their courses or modules through questionnaires.


Title Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Type: Directed      
Practical lessons 20 0.8 5, 13, 12, 19
Theoretical lessons 33 1.32 11, 7, 10, 18
Type: Supervised      
Assesment work 20 0.8 6, 12, 19
Type: Autonomous      
Personal study 24 0.96 5, 7, 18


This subject combines different types of assessment.

1. Written exams (50% of the total score).

2. Work delivered (30%).

3. Readings, discussions and exercises (20%).

 The final grade will be the result of the weighted average of the three parts.

The review of the exam will take place after the delivery of the results, approximately two weeks later. The students who cannot do an exam for objective and documentary justified reasons, will have the option to make the test on the January day of re-evaluation. 

The final grade of the interventions (on readings and exercises) will be obtained by performing the arithmetic mean. Unjustifiable absences will be scored with a 0. Exercises submitted after the deadline will not be accepted.

Attendance to the theory sessions and seminars is compulsory.

Undelivered assignements will be scored a 0. Assignaments submitted after the deadline will not be accepted.

 The detailed calendar with the content of the different sessions will be exposed on the day of presentation of the subject. Students will find a detailed description of the exercises and practices on the virtual campus; teaching materials; and any information necessary for the right follow-up of the course.

 The proposed teaching methodology and evaluation activities may undergo some modifications depending on the health authorities' attendance restrictions.


In the period for the r-eevaluation, the failed exams can be made up provided that the grade is not less than 3.5 (the exam not taken scores 0 in the computation of the average). 

Only assignements with a grade not less than 3.5 can be re-assessed. 

The readings, discussions and exercises carried out in the seminars are linked to the work in the classroom, so they cannot be re-assessed. 

In the case of a second enrolment, students can do a single synthesis exam/assignmentthatwill consist of an exam. The grading of the subject will correspond to the grade of the synthesis exam.

The student who makes any irregularity (copy, plagiarism, identity theft ...) will be rated with 0 this act of evaluation. In the event of several irregularities, the final grade for the course will be 0.

Assessment Activities

Title Weighting Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Assignement 30% 30 1.2 2, 1, 3, 5, 13, 9, 8, 12, 20, 19, 14, 15, 16, 17, 4
Exam 50% 3 0.12 2, 1, 3, 6, 11, 7, 9, 8, 10, 14, 15, 16, 18, 4
Readings, participation 20% 20 0.8 2, 1, 3, 5, 13, 9, 8, 12, 20, 19, 14, 15, 16, 17, 4



Unit 1

- Ryan, Marie-Laure (2004) Will new media produce new narratives? M.-L. Ryan (ed.) Narrative across Media (pp. 337-359). University of Nebraska Press.

Unit 2

Abbot, H. Porter (2008) Narrative and life; Defining narrative. The Cambridge Introduction to Narrative (pp. 1-27). Cambridge University Press.

Unit 3

Vogler, Christopher (2002[1992])  El viaje del escritor: Las estructuras míticas para escritores, guionistas, dramaturgos y novelistas (pp. 29-59). Ma Non Troppo (Libro segundo) 

Unit 4

Vogler, Christopher (2002[1992]). El viaje del escritor: Las estructuras míticas para escritores, guionistas, dramaturgos y novelistas (pp. 60-110). Ma Non Troppo (libro primero)

 Unit 5

Chatman, Seymour (2013[1978]) Introducción. Historia y discurso (pp. 15-44). RBA Libros.

 Unit 6

Abbott, H. Porter (2020) Narration. The Cambridge Introduciton to Narrative (pp. 67-82).

Unit 7

Deltell Escolar, Luis (2011) La carretera errante. La metáfora de la carretera/camino en el cine estadounidense actual. F. García García & Mario Rajas (eds.) Narrativasaudiovisuales. Los discursos (pp. 125-142).Icono 14.

Unit 8

Todorov, Tzvetan (2002[1978]. El origen de los géneros. Los géneros del discurso (pp.57-80). Waldhuter.

Unit 9

Eco, Umberto (1990) Los límites de la interpretación (pp.9-40). Lumen.

 Unit 10

Lacalle, Charo (2022) (In)dignidades digitales. (In)dignidades mediáticas en la sociedad digital  (pp. 139-154). Cátedra.

 Unit 11

Sorapure, Madeleine (2022) Data Narratives: Visualization and Interactivity in Representations of COVID- 19. P. Dawson & M. Mäkelä (eds.) The Routledge Companion to Narrative Theory (pp. 55-68). Routledge. 



UNIT 1. Introduction to the study of narrative theories and genres

- Canet, Fernando; Pròsper, Josep (2009) Introducción a la narración. Narrativa audiovisual. Estrategias y recursos (pp. 17-42). Síntesis.

 - Cobley, Paul (2014) In the begining: the end (pp. 1-27). Narrative. Routledge (2ond edition).

- Phelan, James (2007). Rhetoric/ethics. D. Herman (ed.) The Cambridge Companion to Narrative (pp. 203-216). Cambridge University Press. 

- Ryan, Marie-Laure (2003) On Defining Narrative Media. Image & Narrative. Online Magazine of the Visual Narrative, 6.  Disponible a http://www.imageandnarrative.be/inarchive/mediumtheory/marielaureryan.htm

UNIT 2. Origins and evolution of narrative and rhetoric

- Cobley, Paul (2014) Early narrative (pp. 28-51). Narrative. Routledge (2ond edition).

- Hasan-Rokem, Galit (2016) Ecotypes: Theory of the Lived and Narrated Experience. Narrative Culture 3(1). 

- Hyvärinen, Matti (2010) Revisiting the Narrative Turns. Life Writing, 7(1), 69-82. Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/233343228_Revisiting_the_Narrative_Turns 

- Rashid, Mohd (2018) History as literature: a reading of White’s essay “the historical text as literary artifact”. International Journal of Advanced Research (IJAR) 6(9), 720-725. 

UNIT 3. The narrative cycle

- Campbell, Joseph (2017[1949]) La aventura del héroe. El héroe de las mil caras. Psicoanálisis y mito (pp. 65-282). Fondo de Cultura Económica.

- Mackey-Kallis, Susan (2001). Introduction. The Hero and the Perennial Journey Home in American Film (pp. 1-10). University of Pennsylvania Press.

- Propp, Vladimir (1998[1928]). La morfología del cuento. Akal.

- Tomasevskij, Boris (2012[1957]) Temática. T. Todorov, Teoría de la literatura (pp. 271-314). Biblioteca Nueva.

UNIT 4. Stories and characters

- Hogan, Patrick C. (2010) Characters and their plots.Eder, J; Jannidis, F.; Schneider, R. (eds.) Characters in Fictional Worlds (pp. 134-156). De Gruyter.

- Rank, Otto (1992[1909]) La interpretación de los mitos (pp. 79-114). El mito del nacimiento del héroe. Paidós.

- Phelan, James; Rabinowitz, Peter, J. (2012) Character (pp. 111-138). En D. Herman, J. Phelan, P. J Rabbinowitz, B. Richardson, Wharhol, R. (2012) Narrative Theory. Core Concepts and Critical Debates. The Ohio State University Press.

- Tierno, Michael (2002). Character. Aristotle's Poetics for Screenwriters (pp. 88-98). USA:Hyperion. 

UNIT 5. Elements of narratology

- Barthes, Roland (1993[1966]) Introducción al análisis estructural del relato. La aventura semiológica(pp. 163-202). Paidós.

- Bertetti, Paolo (2015) La historia como discurso: cifras, espacios y tiempos. La historia audiovisual (pp. 71-110). Editorial UOC.

- Chatman, Seymour (2013[1978]).  Historia: existentes. Historia y discurso (pp. 103-156). RBA Editores.

- Meister, Jan C. (2014) Narratology. En P. Hühn, Peter et al. (eds.) The living handbook of narratology. Disponible en http://www.lhn.uni-hamburg.de)

 UNIT 6. Enunciation and narration

- Casetti, Francesco; Di Chio, Federico (1991[1990]) El análisis de la comunicación (pp. 209-245). Cómo analizar un film. Paidós.

- Genette, Gerard (1989[1972]) La estructura del relato. Figuras III (pp. 77-321). Lumen.

- Bertetti, Paolo (2015) La historia como enunciación. La historia audiovisual (pp. 141-156). Editorial UOC.

- Jahn, Manfred (2007) Focalization (pp. 94-108). D. Herman (ed.) The Cambridge Companion to Narrative. Cambridge University Press.

 UNIT 7. Postmodern narratives

 - Currie, Mark (1998) The manufactures or identities. Postmodern Narrative Theory (pp. 17-32). McMillan.

- Deltell Escolar, Luis (2011) La carretera errante. La metáfora de la carretera/camino en el cine estadounidense actual. F. García García & Mario Rajas (eds.) Narrativas audiovisuales. Los discursos (pp. 125-142). Icono 14.

- Herman, Luc; Vervaeck, Bart (2005) Post-Classical Narratology. Handbook of Narrative Analysis (pp. 103-176). University of Nebraska.

- Vallés Calatrava, José R.; Álamo Felices, Francisco (2002) Otras aportaciones teóricas al estudio de la narrativa. Diccionario de la teoría de la narrativa (pp. 143-164). Alhulia.

 UNIT 8. The genres of discourse: from Aristotle to procedural rhetoric

- Bogost, Ian (2007) Procedural rethoric. Persuasive games: the expressive power of videogames (p. 1-64). The MIT Press

- Jenner, Mareike (2015) Genre and Video on Demand. G. Creber (ed.) The Television Genre Book (pp. 212-215). British Film Institute. 

- Mittell, Jason (2005) A Cultural Approach to Television Genre Theory. G. R. Edgerton & B. G. Rose (eds.) Thinking outside The Box. A Contemporary Television Genre Reader (pp. 37-64). The University Press of Kentucky.

-VV.AA. (2008) Introduction: what is genre? G. Creber (ed.) The Television Genre Book (pp. 1-15). British Film Institute.

Unit 9. The interpretation of the stories at the digital era

- Barthes, Roland (1994[1984]). La muerte del autor. El susurro del lenguaje. Más allá de la palabra y la escritura (pp. 65-72). Paidós.

- Darley, Andrew (2002[2000]) Juego de superficie y espacios de consumo. Cultura visual digital. Espectáculo y nuevos géneros en los medios de comunicación (pp. 261-296). Paidós.

- Eco, Umberto (1993[1079]) El lector modelo. Lector in fabula (pp. 73-95). Lumen.

-Jiménez Varea, J. ; Pineda Cachero, Antonio (2013) Del estructuralismo al cognitivismo: haciaun enfoque cientifista de la narratología. En V. Guarinos &A. Sedeño (eds.) Narrativas Audiovisuales Digitales: convergencia de medios, multiculturalidad y transmedia (pp. 18-49). Fragua.

  UNIT 10. Narratives and digital genres

- Elleström, Lars (2019). Narrating Through Media Modalities (pp. 45-59). Transmedial Narration Narratives and Stories in Different Media. Palgrave-MacMillan.

- Evans, Elizabeth (2011) Transmedia Texts: Defi ning Transmedia Storytelling. Transmedia Television Audiences, New Media, and Daily Life (pp. 19-39). Routledge.

- Manovitz, Lev (2013) Hibridación. El software toma el mando (pp. 138-212). UOC Press.

- Montfort, Nick (2007) Narrative and digital media (pp. 172-188). D. Herman (ed.) The Cambridge Companion to Narrative. Cambridge University Press.

UNIT 11. Narratives and interactive genres

 - Bogost, Ian (2007) Procedural rethoric. Persuasive Games: The Expressive Power of Videogames (p. 1-64). The MIT Press.

- Lacalle, Charo (2011) La ficción interactiva: televisión y web 2.0. Ámbitos 20, 87-108.

- Neitzel, Britta (2014) Narrativity of Computer Games. P. Hühn, J.Pier, W. Schmid & J. Schönert (eds.). The Living Handbook of Narratology. Hamburg University Press.

- Ryan, Marie-Laure (2013) Interactive Narrative, Plot Types, and Interpersonal Relations. Intersemiose, II(4), pp. 23-34.