The politics of storytelling: variations on a theme by Hannah Arendt

Michael Jackson

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review


Hannah Arendt famously argued that politics are best understood as a power relationship between private and public realms. And storytelling, she argued, creates a vital bridge between these realms, a place where individual passions and shared perspectives can be contested and interwoven. This book explores and expands on Arendt's notions, bringing stories from all around the world into impressive cross-cultural analysis. The author retells stories from the Kuranko in Sierra Leone, the Australian Aboriginals, and the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, by refugees, renegades, and war veterans. Focusing on the violent and volatile conditions under which stories are told or silenced, he explores the power of narrative to remake reality, enabling people to symbolically alter their relations and help reclaim an existential viability. He shows how Arendt's writings on narrative deepen our understanding of the critical, therapeutic, and politic role of storytelling, that it is one of the crucial ways by which we understand one another.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationCopenhagen
PublisherMuseum Tusculanum Press
Number of pages312
ISBN (Print)9788763540360
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


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