no story is an island entirely unto itself

Samuel Zeller conversations

The process of interpreting and ‘narratizing’ personal experiences—’biographical work’—is artful, to be sure, but it is also constrained by the repertoire of stories available and sanctioned in one’s context of action. As the sociologist Margaret Somers notes, ‘all of us come to be who we are (however ephemeral, multiple, and changing) by being located or locating ourselves (usually unconsciously) in social narratives rarely of our own making’ (1994: 606; emphasis in original). Stories, even self-stories, are inherently social.

—Joseph E. Davis “Narrative and Social Movements: The Power of Stories” in Joseph E. Davis ed., Stories of Change: Narrative and Social Movements, (Albany, State University of New York Press: 2002) 20-21


Photo credit: Samuel Zeller