Title: Gaining a voice: Storytelling and undocumented youth activism in Chicago
Authors: Swerts, Thomas # ×
Issue Date: Sep-2015
Publisher: San Diego State University, Department of Sociology
Series Title: Mobilization vol:20 issue:3 pages:345-360
Abstract: In recent years, undocumented youth have come out of the shadows to claim their rights in the United States. By sharing their stories, these youth gained a voice in the public debate. In this paper, I integrate insights from the literature on narrative and emotions as to study how storytelling is employed within the undocumented youth movement in Chicago. I argue that undocumented youth strategically use storytelling for diverging purposes depending on the context, type of interaction and audience involved. Based on ethnographic research, I show that storytelling allows them to incorporate new members, mobilize constituencies and legitimize grievances. In each of these contexts, emotions play a key role in structuring the social transaction between storyteller and audience. Storytelling is thus a community-building, mobilizing and claims-making social movement practice. At a broader level, this case study demonstrates the power of storytelling as a political tool for marginalized populations.
ISSN: 1086-671X
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: IT
Appears in Collections:Non-KU Leuven Association publications
× corresponding author
# (joint) last author

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