Cultural narrative identities and the entanglement of value systems

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This chapter explores the nature and the implications of the processes of reflective construction of “cultural-selves” and “collective consciousness” mediated by the narrative function. In particular, it brings together the notions of “narrative identity” and “heterarchy of values” in order to synthesize a relational, processual and heterarchical notion of cultural narrative identity. For this purpose, it highlights the centrality of “values” in the determination of identities. Values may be spread throughout a web of emerging intertwined spheres and domains, encompassing inseparably the individual, the social and the cultural; in domains that go from private to public, from family to work, from local to national to regional to global, touching the many nuances of interest groups and stakeholders co-existing in a globalized civil society. Therefore the processes of identification very often confront individuals and whole cultural layers with non-transitive value scales that give place to dynamic systems of heterarchical belonging. The aim is to explore whether such a processual heterarchical perspective can be of utility in understanding the paradoxes and contradictions in contemporary cultural dynamics in light of the acceleration propelled by the global platform of digital technology. The approach considers heterarchies as the loci of competing and coexisting value systems and multiple “regimes of worth”. Once we have the consideration of value-adherence in multilayer cultural processes and networks, we are bound to consider heterarchical processuality in order to be able to elucidate the rationality of the putative paradoxes and contradictions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDifferences, Similarities and Meanings : Semiotic Investigations of Contemporary Communication Phenomena
EditorsNicolae-Sorin Drăgan
Number of pages25
Place of PublicationBerlin/Boston
PublisherMouton de Gruyter
Publication date2021
ISBN (Print)9783110658828
ISBN (Electronic)9783110662900
Publication statusPublished - 2021
SeriesSemiotics, Communication and Cognition


  • cultural narrative identity
  • heterarchy of values
  • heterarchical processuality
  • globalization
  • value systems
  • heterarchical belonging
  • digital technology


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