Broadcast 10/16/2018 at 9:03 AM EDT (10 Listens, 8 Downloads, 2764 Itunes)
The Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show Podcast
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Sujatha Fernandes is Professor of Political Economy and Sociology at the University of Sydney. She was previously a Professor of Sociology at the City University of New Yorkand was a member of the Princeton Society of Fellows. She has written for The New York Times, The Nation, and Dissent, among other publications. She is the author of four books. The most recent, the subject of this interview is titled.
Curated Stories; The Uses and Misuses of Storytelling
In a way, Fernandez's book describes the gentrification of stories"just as neighborhoods are taken over, exploited and homogenized for profit, usually starting out with introduction of the arts, the world of story is going through a similar gentrification process that is exploiting stories using them, through a process of curation.
And I must confess, that I may have helped play a role in that, back in 2002 when I organized my conference on the art, science and APPLICATION of story. It seems that its the application of story that you are most concerned with. So, Im hoping well spend half of this interview discussing the problems with curated stories that you are seeing and half discussing the possibilities and best uses of stories to bring about change, or as your epilogue describes, find a way beyond curated storytelling.
Please start by telling us a story about Malala Yousafzai. Then, define what you mean by curated stories.
You say storytelling may actually circumscribe the goals of marginalized groups and limit their chances of securing real social change.
Stories are being used to support a neoliberal status quo, often using personalized stories at the price of ignoring collective and political modes of storytelling. (Allessandro Portellis story model with personal, collective and political modes of storytelling.)
o Please define neoliberalism and how stories are being used to help it metastasize. You describe your Foulcaultian idea of neoliberalism and the hegemonic paradigm
o Gramscis Transformismo and Obama campaign to neutralize movements and activist energy. In a way, storytelling is used to narrow and weaken collective power and agency.
o Self help and upwardly mobile Stories re-direct class activism and class conflict and they reinforce neoliberal tropes, like the upward mobility trope, and please define trope
You talk about the political economy of storytelling, how non-profits and foundations are exploiting story. Reminds me of Cormac Russells ABCD work on communities, where consultants come in and exploit the community without empowering it.
Not just a critical examination of contemporary use of narrative but suggests ways stories might be used to achieve real social change.
Need to move from curated stories to mobilizing stories.
Storytelling workshops"as a bad thing?
What do you mean by story commodification and marketization in a neoliberal era.
Takes a global view of storytelling moving beyond Western contexts and countries
You challenge the idea of specific story structures and the idea that stories are a part of our evolution, that our brains evolved to process stories, which I do believe.
You note that there are different kinds of story structures found in diffent cultures and nations.
Stories as a commodity vs curated stories"instrumentalized in pursuit of narrow goals.
Rigerto Menchu told indigenous story of suffering in Guatemala.
Marshall Ganz trained people to tell stories for Obama campaign"story of; self, story of us and story of now, include self story and include collective. It wasnt including broader structures. We dont get a sense of why.
Ganz used a trajectory story: who you are, crisis point, then choice made, like Vote for Obama
Top down structuring of narratives by mainstream organizations.
Dreamers as aspiring Americans; dumbed down stories
The five minute story
Role of non-profits and foundations in sabotaging movements and activism.
People have to tell particular kinds of stories so they can be accepted.
Truncated stories are made personal, rather than political or collective, which make the problem seem individual, avoiding broader, global issues.
Distortion by self-help and personal growth.
New Movements, New Stories?
#MeToo movement gives her hope
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