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Play Frames in Narratives: Some Implications of Considering Storytelling Practices as Anchored in Play-Pretend


This paper dwells on the trend of considering storytelling practices as anchored in play-pretend (e.g. Boyd 2009) and attempts at pointing to some of the implications of such an approach that have not so far been discussed, such as the problem of proper framing of a narrative, i.e. a story told. In order to provide the instances of possible framing designs and signals for narratives, the paper first outlines the general characteristics of play in animals that seem significant from the perspective of this very undertaking; then, it elaborates on the theory of art – and storytelling – as adaptation evolved from play (cf. Boyd 2009). Subsequently, it discusses play frames and pre-play exchange, as understood, primarily, by Gregory Bateson (1972), and, finally, applies these to the study of narrative media and forms

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