American Journal of Community Psychology

, Volume 23, Issue 5, pp 795–807 | Cite as

Empowerment meets narrative: Listening to stories and creating settings

  • Julian Rappaport


Comments on and summarizes some of the themes of a special issue on empowerment. Extends empowerment theory with the suggestion that both research and practice would benefit from a narrative approach that links process to practice and attends to the voices of the people of interest. Narrative theory and method tends to open the field to a more inclusive attitude as to what counts as data and to cross-disciplinary insights as well as citizen collaboration. Communal narratives are defined at various levels of analysis, including the community, the organizational, and the cultural. A definition of empowerment that includes a concern with resources calls attention to the fact that communal narratives and personal stories are resources. Implications for personal and social change are suggested.

Key Words

empowerment narrative stories social and personal change qualitative research creation of settings community organization collaborative research 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julian Rappaport
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignChampaign

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