Empowerment meets narrative: Listening to stories and creating settings

Abstract

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.

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Correspondence to Julian Rappaport.

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Rappaport, J. Empowerment meets narrative: Listening to stories and creating settings. Am J Commun Psychol 23, 795–807 (1995). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02506992

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Key Words

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