Utilizing Narrative to Understand Activism: A Case Study of Invisible Children
Toth, Elizabeth L.
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The purpose of this study was to understand how active and inactive publics made meaning of narrative discourse from the organization Invisible Children. Individual interviews were conducted with activists from across the country who demonstrated a high involvement with the organization. Qualitative focus groups were conducted with inactive publics at a large university to understand their meaning making of the narrative from the organization. Findings revealed that active and inactive publics made meaning of the narrative in similar and different ways. Findings also suggested that the narrative of the organization itself was important for involvement with the organization, contributing to activism and identity with the organization. Additionally, the concept of an activist storytelling organization was introduced and a new definition of activist was proposed. Practical implications include a better understanding of how narrative discourse can be utilized for activist organizations' messaging strategies for both active and inactive publics.