Fighting Post-truth with Fiction: An Inquiry into Using Storification and Embodied Narratives for Evidence-Based Civic Participation
- Storyworlds: A Journal of Narrative Studies
- University of Nebraska Press
- Volume 11, Number 1, Summer 2019
- pp. 51-78
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Post-truth politics have thrived in the shape of fake news and the feeding of divisive emotional narratives. While stories with strong emotional appeal can mobilize, their current post-truth form erodes the ideals of democracy. Some have called to counter the post-truth populism with evidence-based participation, both online and offline. However, such initiatives overlook that human cognition is constitutively narrative and emotional and so are practices of deliberative, participatory democracy. A more viable strategy is to embrace emotional narratives and to mobilize civic participation in forms aligned with democratic ideals through evidence-based storification and gamification. As such, the attraction to emotional narratives becomes a positive force toward evidence-based engagement. To further strengthen the implementation of evidence-based, narrativist, deliberative democracy, we employ and propose the analytical frameworks of (1) storification, the use of explicit emotional narrative for engagement purposes; and (2) embodied narratives, the implicit narratives conveyed by the very existence of narratives. Accordingly, we discuss participation initiatives that highlight the potential of these analytical and design frameworks in positively influencing civic engagement.