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Hannah Arendt argued that the 'political' is best understood as a power relation between private and public realms, and that storytelling is a vital bridge between these realms - a site where individualised passions and shared views are contested and recombined.
In his new book, Michael Jackson explores and expands Arendt's ideas through a cross-cultural analysis of storytelling that includes Kuranko stories from Sierra Leone, Aboriginal stories of the stolen generation, stories recounted before the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and stories of refugees, renegades, and war veterans. Focusing on the violent and volatile conditions under which stories are and are not told, and exploring the various ways in which narrative reworkings of reality enable people to symbolically alter subject-object relations, Jackson shows how storytelling may restore to the intersubjective fields of self and other, self and state, self and cosmos, the conditions of viable sociality. The book concludes in a reflexive vein, exploring the interface between public discourse and private experience.
Michael Jackson is professor of at the University of Harvard. He is the author of numerous books on anthropology, including the prize-winning Paths Toward a Clearing, At Home in the World and Minima Ethnographica. He is also the author of five books of poetry and two novels.
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