A metanarrative, meta-narrative or macro-narrative (or, also in the plural, great narratives or great stories ) is, in the context of critical theory and postmodernism , a global or totalizing narrative culture scheme that organizes and explains knowledge and experiences. The meta prefix means "beyond," and a narrativeIt is a story. The metanarrative will therefore be a story beyond history, which is capable of encompassing other "little stories" within it, within encompassing, totalizing, transcendent or universalizing schemes.
According to the critical approach to the metanarrative proposed by Lyotard , the meta- stories are assumed as totalizing and multi-encompassing discourses, in which the understanding of facts of a scientific, historical, religious and social nature is assumed in an absolutist way, trying to give an answer and solution to all contingency.
A recurring example, which constantly refers to this systematized and totalizing system of interpretation, is the one proposed by Hegel .
Western science, mnemonic, taxonomist, empiricist and utilitarian, which has assumed a supposed sovereignty around its reason, supposedly neutral, rigorous and universal, is another clear example of a Metanarrative, which could even be defined as a meta-meta-narrative that involves in turn, particular meta-stories that contemplate the world and the essences of things from independent positions, offering surprising solutions to endless human problems, and that some currently think is in crisis, and even in various intellectual sectors it is identified as one more of modern myths.
Lyotard's analysis of the postmodern condition has been criticized for being internally inconsistent. For example, thinkers such as Alex Callinicos and Jürgen Habermas argue that Lyotard's description of the postmodern world, as a container for a "disbelief towards metanarratives," can be seen as a narrative in its own right.