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Storytelling and Worldhood

Storytelling and Worldhood

The Screen and Us

(p.50) 2 Storytelling and Worldhood
New Television
Martin Shuster
University of Chicago Press

Building on the last chapter, this chapter presents an understanding of how storytelling functions both for the television screen and more broadly in human life and works of art. Using the philosophers Stanley Cavell, Hannah Arendt, and Walter Benjamin, the chapter presents an understanding of storytelling (and thereby art) that reverses the traditional understanding of the relationship between art and reality. Where traditionally art is seen as parasitic on reality, this chapter argues that art is in fact constitutive of reality, above all, in the stories that we tell to ourselves and to each other. In making these moves, the chapter strengthens the account of ontology presented in the last chapter, showing how there are particular political and ethical insights that follow from such an understanding of ontology and storytelling, namely that film and television ought to be seen as inherently democratic, as capable for sustaining democracy’s core ambition, which is to present the worth of every individual.

Keywords:   storytelling, narrativity, Hannah Arendt, Stanley Cavell, Walter Benjamin, ontology, modernity, modernism, aesthetics, judgment

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