- The Oxford Handbook of Cultural Sociology
- Introduction: Cultural Sociology Today
- Cultural Sociology as Research Program: Post-Positivism, Meaning, and Causality
- Rationalization Processes inside Cultural Sociology
- Four Ways to Measure Culture: Social Science, Hermeneutics, and the Cultural Turn
- Culture and the Economy
- Culture and Economic Life
- From Moral Sentiments to Civic Engagement: Sociological Analysis as Responsible Spectatorship
- Reinventing the Concept of Civic Culture
- Cultural Sociology and Civil Society in a World of Flows: Recapturing Ambiguity, Hybridity, and the Political
- Mediatized Disasters in the Global Age: On the Ritualization of Catastrophe
- Media, Intellectuals, the Public Sphere, and the Story of Barack Obama in 2008
- Entertainment Media and the Aesthetic Public Sphere
- Rethinking the Relationship of African American Men to the Street
- Ethnicity, Race, Nationhood, Foreignness, and Many Other Things: Prolegomena to a Cultural Sociology of Difference-Based Interactions
- Burning Schools/Building Bridges: Ethnographical Touchdowns in the Civil Sphere
- The Constitution of Religious Political Violence: Institution, Culture, and Power
- Globalization and Religion
- Narrative and Social Movements
- The Politics of Authenticity: Civic Individualism and the Cultural Roots of Gay Normalization
- Rethinking Conflict and Collective Memory: The Case of Nanking
- Cultural Trauma: Emotion and Narration
- Remembrance of Things Past: Cultural Trauma, the “Nanking Massacre,” and Chinese Identity
- Events as Templates of Possibility: An Analytic Typology of Political Facts
- Cultural Pragmatics and the Structure and Flow of Democratic Politics
- Consumption as Cultural Interpretation: Taste, Performativity, and Navigating the Forest of Objects
- The Force of Embodiment: Violence and Altruism in Cultures of Practice
- Music Sociology in a New Key
- Narrating Global Warming
- Broadening Cultural Sociology's Scope: Meaning-Making in Mundane Organizational Life
- Inbetweenness and Ambivalence
Abstract and Keywords
This article focuses on the use of narrative to understand the dynamics of social movements. More specifically, it examines how the strategic use of storytelling can shed light on the distinctly cultural obstacles that activists face in effecting change. After discussing the main approach to culture in movements, that of collective action framing, the article considers how a study of storytelling can help to account for the cultural and institutional constraints activists face in trying to develop persuasive messages. It then evaluates activists’ variable success in using stories as a persuasive tool and argues that the conditions of reception for narratives are unevenly distributed. Studying the structure of this unevenness, the article asserts, needs to be a part of cultural sociology.
Francesca Polletta is a Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Irvine. She studies social movements, experiments in radical democracy, and culture in politics. She is the author of It Was Like a Fever: Storytelling in Protest and Politics (Chicago 2006), Freedom Is an Endless Meeting: Democracy in American Social Movements (Chicago 2002) and editor, with Jeff Goodwin and James M. Jasper, of Passionate Politics: Emotions and Social Movements (Chicago 2001). She is currently studying how plot shapes audiences’ responses to accounts of sexual assault and, in another project, how gender affects public deliberation.
Pang Ching Bobby Chen is a PhD student in Sociology at the University of California, Irvine. His interests include cultural sociology, social movements, historical sociology of emotions, mass media and deliberative democracy. He is currently working on two projects: one, on understanding the construction of social movement actors’ emotions in the public sphere; the other on gender dynamics in public deliberation.
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