Friday, August 14, 2015

Narrative accountability: Returning to the margins

One of the key arguments of the CCA highlights the ways in which communication is integral to the creation of the margins.

How do we as academics gathering stories from individuals, families, and communities at the margins remain accountable for the stories we tell?

Whom are we accountable to for the stories we tell? And how are we complicit in reproducing marginalization even as we seek to engage with the margins?

The CCA foregrounds the importance of turning narrative accountability to the margins we work with.

This notion of being accountable toward the margins suggests that the narrative account voiced by the academic or the NGO has to be evaluated by those at the margins we work with. 

Moreover, the notion of "working with" inverts the framework of "extracting stories from" or "targeting messages at." As a research method, the CCA anchors itself in the idea of solidarity. Collaborating with the margins is first and foremost a recognition of the sense-making and storytelling capacities of those at the margins.

The power over the narrative processes thus shifts into the hands of those at the margins. This is an important anchor of culturally-centered research and practice.

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