Francesca Polletta, sociology professor, has been awarded a $25,000 grant from the Open Society Foundation to study the effectiveness of personal storytelling as a political tool.

Through interviews with advocates and activists who have used personal stories to tackle issues ranging from sex-trafficking to employment discrimination, she and graduate students will identify conditions in which stories have been used to accomplish organizational objectives, and when they’ve failed. The researchers will focus on the challenges advocates have faced in gaining a hearing for stories among those who are ideologically opposed to the issue in question.

The study begins in July and will run through September.


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