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“Personal Storytelling In Professionalized Social Movements” by Tania DoCarmo & Colleagues

Legal Studies Visiting Scholar Tania DoCarmo publishes along other colleagues an article titled: “Personal Storytelling In Professionalized Social Movements”. 

Professionalized movement organizations today rely on outside expertise in fundraising, recruitment, lobbying, management, and public messaging. We focus on expert discourse around personal storytelling, a strategy that has become popular for raising funds, advocating for policy, and building public support. Activists are instructed to tell stories of hope and resilience, avoid referring to the graphic details of abuse, and only hint at their emotional pain. Experts justify these strategies as the best way to avoid exploiting storytellers, and only coincidentally as also appealing to audiences. However, we argue that, rather than superseding the tension between empowering movement participants and persuading those outside the movement, storytelling as currently practiced has only reproduced that tension. (Mobilization, V.26-Issue 1, March 26, 2021)

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