Abstract

Storytelling—in the form of public talk about oneself—has become a new social phenomenon over the past quarter century. The case of StoryCorps illuminates how autobiographical (often confessional) storytelling in public comes out of the simultaneous democratization and neoliberalization of Western society since the 1970s. The storytelling phenomenon, which frequently aligns itself with (or appropriates) oral history, reinforces neoliberal values of competitive individualism and thus depoliticizes public discourse. Oral historians, rather than embracing storytelling, need to investigate it as a historically situated social phenomenon that often undercuts the epistemological, methodological, ethical, and political aims of oral history.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-8592
Print ISSN
0094-0798
Pages
pp. 96-132
Launched on MUSE
2015-05-05
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Archived 2020
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