Story-based Strategy Model: Grassroots Organizing Meets Narrative Power

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Inside smartMeme's strategy model - presentation by Patrick Reinsborough & Doyle Canning of smartMeme - given at the national gathering of the Progressive Communicators Network - May 30th 2009 in Chicago, IL -- download RE:Imagining Change strategy manual at http://www.smartmeme.org/change

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Story-based Strategy Model: Grassroots Organizing Meets Narrative Power

  1. 1. Presentation of Model: Story-Based Strategy Grassroots Organizing Meets Narrative Power Progressive Communicators Network Gathering Chicago, IL May 29, 2009
  2. 2. NARRATIVE ANALYSIS OF POWER STORY-BASED STRATEGY
  3. 3. Power Over EXTERNAL INTERNAL Physical/Economic Narrative/Ideological
  4. 4. Narrative Power Analysis  Changing the Stories: not what people don’t know, but what they do know =FILTERS  Examining Dominant Stories/Origin Myths in US Culture  Power shapes Point of View of the story  Stories can Normalize Power/Universalize Experience
  5. 5. Meme “A unit of self replicating cultural information” Contagious ideas, stories, images, and rituals that spread from imagination to imagination, generation to generation, shaping and shifting human cultures… a capsule for a story to spread…
  6. 6. Elements of a Story-Based Strategy  Frame the Conflict Draws our attention to particular details of the story and avoids others outside the frame  Amplifies the Voices of Impacted Characters Stories speak to us through relevant spokespeople  Show Don’t Tell -- Use Images to Engage Values A good story emphasizes imagery and values over data  Foreshadowing --Shows the Future/Offer Vision People will only go someplace that they have first been to in their minds  Targets and shifts underlying assumptions
  7. 7. Deepen Analysis/Connect Mobilize story Amplify Organize
  8. 8. The Points of Intervention  How do we reframe and challenge dominant stories?
  9. 9. The Points of Intervention  How do we reframe and challenge dominant stories?  Points of intervention are places in the system where we can intervene to change the story. They are “vulnerabilities” or “fissures” that we can exploit where the dominant stories are already weak.
  10. 10. The Points of Intervention  How do we reframe and challenge dominant stories?  Points of intervention are places in the system where we can intervene to change the story. They are “vulnerabilities” or “fissures” that we can exploit where the dominant stories are already weak.  Actions at a point of intervention can interrupt the control narrative of power and change the story.
  11. 11. production destruction Points of Intervention consumption decision
  12. 12. production destruction Points of intervention consumption decision Point of Assumption
  13. 13. Story-Based Strategy The “shadow” audience Creating the fishbowl
  14. 14. Reframing Jobs vs. Environment
  15. 15. Winning the Battle of the Story
  16. 16. Design: Campaign Narrative ELMER HERE
  17. 17. Meme Campaign
  18. 18. Action Logic: World Bank on eBay
  19. 19. Action Logic: Capitol Climate Action
  20. 20. Encapsulating Story as Meme
  21. 21. Action @ point of assumption: Bush “mandate” meme
  22. 22. Action at the Point of Assumption War vs. Occupation Making the Invisible Visible
  23. 23. Story-based Strategy In order to achieve deep institutional change, we must shift meaning in the dominant culture
  24. 24. Story-based Strategy In order to achieve deep institutional change, we must shift meaning in the dominant culture Culture is made of stories & memes
  25. 25. Story-based Strategy In order to achieve deep institutional change, we must shift meaning in the dominant culture Culture is made of stories & memes Stories are founded on assumptions
  26. 26. Story-based Strategy In order to achieve deep institutional change, we must shift meaning in the dominant culture Culture is made of stories & memes Stories are founded on assumptions Intervention in stories can shift assumptions -- and contest dominant culture -- to help achieve fundamental change.
  27. 27. A call to innovation… o Facing the Slow Motion Apocalypse o Harnessing psychic breaks o Post-issue activism o Towards Ecological Justice…
  28. 28. www.smartMeme.org

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