This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.Find sources: "Walter Fisher" professor – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (August 2018) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

Walter Fisher (1931–2018)[1] was an American academic credited with formalizing Kenneth Burke's Dramatism and introducing the narrative paradigm to communication theory. Fisher was Professor Emeritus at the Annenberg School for Communication.

Fisher's body of work is based on the concept that people are essentially storytellers, referred to as narrative theory. Storytelling is one of the oldest and most universal forms of communication and so Fisher propounded that individuals approach their social world in a narrative mode and make decisions and act within this narrative framework


Narrative theory was developed by Walter Fisher. Fisher obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Iowa in 1960 and went on to become a professor, among other things. Perhaps Fisher’s most notable contribution was his formulation of the narrative approach to rhetoric and communication theory. In 1979 he was awarded the Golden Anniversary Monograph Award from the Speech Communication Association for the article that introduced narrative theory to the field of communication. Narrative theory was not totally accepted by the discipline (Miller, 2005, p. 92): It clashed with several pre-existing beliefs as to the nature of human beings and how they communicate and act. Fisher describes this contrast by identifying the tenets of what he sees as two universal paradigms: the rational world paradigm, and the narrative paradigm (Fisher, 1987).



Book chapters