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8 - Narrative Politics and the Politics of Narrative

from Part II - History, Fictions, and Factions

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 June 2022

Toyin Falola
Affiliation:
University of Texas, Austin
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Summary

This chapter attempts to “study some of the many intersections between narratives and politics.” The human life or experience is seen as a story, a compilation of narratives that explain our realities. Similarly, politics, the apogee of any society, designed to establish and maintain it, is a “human narrative,” independent, and can be comprehended in relation to other aspects of the society. To expound on the theme of “collective action,” the chapter answers three questions: how people come together for a common goal; why enforcers of collective actions turn to stories; and the significance of storytelling in triggering a collective action. The chapter finds answers in “affinity” (feeling of oneness, proximity, and brotherhood) and “solidarity” (feeling of a common goal). The chapter broaches the issue of the inhibition to narrative politics — the “perceived reliance on imperial system of knowledge,” as well as its emancipation — “the elevation of repressed narratives.” In addition, through the author’s personal experiences, encounters, and references to scholarship, he mirrors some African narratives, especially the Yoruba and their importance in spurring positive change.

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Decolonizing African Knowledge
Autoethnography and African Epistemologies
, pp. 183 - 202
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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