This article illustrates how narratives work in an international policymaking setting during meetings of an intergovernmental committee of the World Intellectual Property Organization. Here stories, both narrated and cited, are used to negotiate a convention on the uses of traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions. These stories circulate in both informal talk and formal interventions during meetings, to support different positions, make a particular point, or explain certain aspects of the setting to novices. Well-known stories, some of which were initially formulated by folklorists, ethnomusicologists, and anthropologists, are instrumentalized in the negotiating process. Anecdotes, parables, and legends arise within the process and get passed from veteran attendees to newcomers. Through these stories, people hailing from the four corners of the world are temporarily transformed into a tentative and tenuous community that makes one of the great halls of international relations its home for one week, thus laying the groundwork for multilateral diplomacy.
Karlsson, Áki Guðni
"The Lion, the Spider and the Laid-Off Janitor: Tales from the World Intellectual Property Organization,"
Narrative Culture: Vol. 10:
1, Article 4.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/narrative/vol10/iss1/4