Hiles, David (2010) Things That Went Bump in the Night: Narrative and Tacit Knowing. In: Narrative, Memory and Ordinary Lives. University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield, pp. 93-106. ISBN 978-1-86218-090-1

This paper replicates a previous study of how people give accounts of their experience after encountering an unusual and unpredictable event in their ordinary lives. Such accounts usually take the form of proto-narratives, which because of their link to an actual event are called contingent narratives. My previous study is extended in this paper by trying to theorize the processes involved. The key feature of these narratives is the ease with which people seem to use a narrative circumspection to making sense of their experience. People draw upon their own tacit knowing to construct narratives to explain their experiences. Such tacit knowledge is available without conscious effort, it easily adapts to new contexts, and is particularly good at handling the unexpected. There is a widely held belief that tacit knowledge is difficult to capture and make explicit, but as is demonstrated in this study there is good evidence that humans have evolved a particularly efficient way of sharing the tacit through narrative thinking. My point is that tacit knowing and narrative thinking offer the key to understanding our experience of ordinary life.

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