Story Revolutions (Virginia University Press) explores the role of personal storytelling in democracy. Two decades into the twenty-first century, the collective sharing of personal stories is on the rise. The Moth, StoryCorps, #metoo or Humans of New York attract millions of users, not to mention the so-called “story products” recently introduced by social media companies with nearly a billion users. We are on the cusp of a new era in which personal stories will play a key role in social and political engagement. The book traces the connection between personal stories and democracy back to the Enlightenment. It focuses on three historical periods––the Enlightenment, the 1930s, and the 21st century––because all three were marked by a convergence of mass movements and new methods of data collection and aggregation, which led to a boom in story activism. Story Revolutions presents a variety of case studies from eighteenth-century memoir-collections to contemporary Web 2.0 databases, including memoir contests, oral history, digital story-maps, and crowd-sourced pandemic diaries. Ultimately, the book offers a critical perspective on the concept of community, with reflections on what it means to use storytelling to build democracy in the twenty-first century.
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