Stories Changing Lives

The Association of Narrative Research and Practice presents:

A conversation to launch the book Stories Changing Lives: Narratives and Paths toward Social Change (Corinne Squire, ed). 2021, Explorations in Narrative Psychology series, Oxford University Press

                                                                    Friday 2 July, 2021, 3-4.30pm (UK time)

Introductions: Mark Freeman, Peace Kiguwa, Ken Plummer and Corinne Squire

Roundtable with authors Molly Andrews, Jill Bradbury, Loren Cahill, Donelda Cook, Alisa Del Tufo, Michelle Fine, Shose Kessi, M. Brinton Lykes, Michael Murray, and Jennifer O’Mahoney.

Please book here – we’ll send you a video link on the day of the event:

More about the book

This book:

Illuminates the political significance of narratives and illustrates their ability to be effective means of social change

Directs attention to transformational postcolonial and decolonial agendas on both micro- and macro-levels

Provides a transnational collection of topics with research from contributors in Europe, North America, Central America, and South Africa.

Personal narrative and its significance for social change is a prominent topic in the psychological and wider social sciences. Yet while the importance of narrative for social change is commonly assumed by narrative researchers, no single text addresses it exclusively and from a variety of scholarly perspectives.

Stories Changing Lives explores the strong and qualified significance of personal stories and how they catalyze and contribute to social change. The first of the book’s three sections examines the embeddedness of personal narratives within larger narratives, and how these narratives shift towards justice. The second section considers how narrative language supports and generates social change. Finally, the concluding section addresses the ways in which re-narrations of the past taking place in the present, and narrations of the future using the present and past, impact social change.

Stories Changing Lives sets out the theory and methodology underpinning a range of narrative projects that are committed to progressive change, delineating the strengths and limitations of that research. Chapters focus on projects in Africa, South and North America, and Europe, and bring to the fore the multiplicity of stories, narrative multimodalities, and the importance of intersectionality; they also highlight the interdisciplinarity, historical reach, and transnationalism of narrative research. This volume will further develop our understanding of generating narratives and pursuing social change as two intertwined processes that exemplify the personally and socially transformative characteristics of politics.


“Recommended. Graduate students, faculty, and professionals.” – D. R. Boscaljon, CHOICE

“A timely and accessible book that opens up the complex relations between personal narrative and social change that will be a valued resource for students and established scholars alike.” -Catherine Kohler Riessman, Professor Emerita, Boston University “

“This is a far reaching and innovative collection of original essays that highlight both local and global progressive political change. Taken together they show in close detail the radical implications of personal stories for changing both lives and the world. It will become vital reading for all students of narrative, politics and change.” -Ken Plummer, Emeritus Professor of Sociology, University of Essex “

“Stories Changing Lives offers us a method, a theoretical lens of reading the social. The contributions engage the familiar and unfamiliar entanglements and connections of our lives and times. Entanglements that occur within contexts of racial, classed, gendered, spatial and other inequalities are examined with beautifully insightful vigor. Narrative’s promise to understand and theorize for social change is presented in this collective of chapters.” -Peace Kiguwa, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, University of the Witwatersrand “

“Now more than ever, in our current historical moment, the importance of stories to effect social justice interventions, is indisputable. This book unites narrative and social justice research and is essential reading for all who work towards the social good” -Ronelle Carolissen, Professor of Community Psychology, Faculty of Education, Stellenbosch University, South Africa “

Event contributors and book authors

Irina Anderson, Principal Lecturer in Psychology, University of East London, London, UK

Molly Andrews, Professor of Political Psychology; Co-Director, Centre for Narrative Research, University of East London, London, UK

Jill Bradbury, Associate Professor of Psychology, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.

Donelda Cook, Vice President for Student Development, Loyola University, Chicago, IL, US

Alisa Del Tufo, Threshold Collaborative and Groundswell – Oral History for Social Change, VT, US

Mark Freeman, Distinguished Professor of Ethics and Society, Department of Psychology, College of the Holy Cross, MA, USA. Editor OUP Explorations in Narrative Psychology.

Michelle Fine, Distinguished Professor of Critical Psychology, Gender/Women’s studies and Urban Education and Co-founding faculty at The Public Science Project, Graduate Center, City University of New York, NY, US

Shose Kessi, Associate Professor, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa

Peace Kiguwa, Associate Professor of Psychology, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

M. Brinton Lykes, Professor, Community-Cultural Psychology and Co-Director, Center for Human Rights & International Justice, Boston College, Boston, MA, US

Elliott Mishler (deceased), Professor of Social Psychology, Harvard Medical School, Cambridge, MA, US

Michael Murray, Emeritus Professor of Social and Health Psychology, Keele University, Staffordshire, UK.

Chinyere Okafor, The Graduate Center, City University of New York, NY, US

Jennifer O’Mahoney, Lecturer in Psychology, Waterford Institute of Technology, Waterford, Ireland

Ann Phoenix, Professor, UCL Institute of Education, London, UK

Ken Plummer, Emeritus Professor, Essex University.

Corinne Squire, Professor of Social Sciences; co-director, Association of Narrative Research and Practice; Honorary Professor, SRI UCL; Research Associate, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa