Every Nation Needs a Narrative

From Planet 232

by Rebecca Brown

Congratulations to Rebecca Brown who has won our 2018 Young Writers’ Competition. In her winning article she reflects on how nations are piecing together new meta-narratives, after twentieth-century postmodernism shattered old certainties. She contrasts Trump’s Make America Great Again myth-making with endeavours in Wales to create a narrative of hope and intergenerational justice.

‘Simplifying to the extreme, I define postmodern as incredulity toward meta-narratives […] The narrative function is losing its functors, its great hero, its great dangers, its great voyages, its great goal’
Jean-François Lyotard, The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge.

Every nation needs a narrative. A sweeping, noble and self-prophesying fable; eliciting everything from patriotism to nationalism. Be it ‘Liberté, égalité, fraternité’ or the American Dream, these narratives belie the subconscious fears, hopes and dreams of a country and how they represent themselves to their neighbouring nations.

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