Jul 29, 2008

using personal stories

I am interested in how solidarity activists use personal stories, and how we can be more careful and strategic about how we use them. One of the books that I've found most helpful in thinking about this has been Human Rights and Narrated Lives: the Ethics of Recognition. It looks at several cases of stories being used to build solidarity across difference and push for social justice: Tiananmen, South Africa, WWII Korean sex slaves, the Australian stolen generation and, astoundingly, prisoners in the US. All have different lessons for any social movement using stories, and I found it all a really compelling read - but then, I'm a geek. You could get a lot of it by just reading the first 50 pages (the overall picture) and the 12 page conclusion. Well worth it.

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