Story-Telling, Meaning-Making: Personal Storytelling Among Marginalised Groups in the Late Modern Dutch Society
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Late modernity has brought about a particular culture of storytelling. As opposed to traditional storytelling, personal narratives now serve as a source of insight, and people are motivated to tell their personal stories to provide insight for others. In light of these developments, this narrative ethnographic study aims to examine personal storytelling workshops and performances among participants from marginalized groups, conducted mostly in Rotterdam-South. The central aim of this study is to explore how personal storytelling served as a source of insight for the participants, and, in turn, how participants were motivated to share insights for others by practicing and conducting public storytelling performances. Firstly, it investigates how the storytelling workshops allowed for a space in which participants could narratively make sense of their marginal socio-economic position and stigmatization. Secondly, it explores how the storytelling workshops entailed a meaning-making process, in which personal life stories served as a foundation for critically reflecting on socio-political topics. Thirdly, it is shown how these critical reflections sparked a motivation for participants to share their personal stories as insights for others through embodied performances. These public storytelling performances are analysed as a cultural process of meaning-making, which can both open up and close down the social and political space for stories untold. In this way, this thesis aims to analyse the late modern culture of personal storytelling as a way of journeying together, through which knowledge and insights can be shared and integrated.