Gaining a voice: Storytelling and undocumented youth activism in Chicago.
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. This article integrates insights from the literature on narratives and emotions 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 practice in social movements. At a broader level, this case study demonstrates the power of storytelling as a political tool for marginalized populations.
|Persistent URL||dx.doi.org/10.17813/1086-671X-20-3-345, hdl.handle.net/1765/114069|
|Journal||Mobilization: An International Quarterly|
Swerts, T.W.C. (2015). Gaining a voice: Storytelling and undocumented youth activism in Chicago. Mobilization: An International Quarterly, 20(3), 385–402. doi:10.17813/1086-671X-20-3-345