Accepted paper:

The genie of Pig Wood


Emma Parfitt (University of Warwick)

Paper short abstract:

My PhD involves the potential of narrative in terms of emotional and behavioural management. In this creative piece I explore what happens when three boys discover a genie in aluminium can. What could they wish for and does this differ from what they should wish for?

Paper long abstract:

I am interested in whether different narrative forms are beneficial for young people in terms of emotion and behavioural management. In Pig Wood I am exploring what is important to a group of three boys who live in an urban area of Coventry. Three boys release a genie from an old aluminium can leading them to question what they could wish for, and what they should wish for now they have potentially been given the chance to make a difference in the world. Making use of my own environmental interests this paper discusses the source of my inspiration through the things young people discussed as part of my research. In group discussion traditional storytelling, as a conversational trigger, led in unexpected directions to provide a picture of what it is currently like to be a young person in today's society, and what types of narratives guide their attitudes and aspirations. In my creative piece Pig's Wood I attempt to place a fairy story in a contemporary urban setting. In this way I hope to bring a different perspective to life as a teenage boy in Coventry while twisting traditional genie stereotypes. My research analysis involved Nvivo coding of storytelling and focus group sessions one hour long, over five subsequent weeks, with young people from 12-14 years. In total, there were six groups of four children, of mixed ethnicity, ability, and socio-economic background, from three schools within Warwickshire.

panel P72
Anthropology of storytelling