Abstract accepted for Digital Methods Winterschool UvA

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Published on: 09/01/2014

Empowerment from a Narrative Perspective: Learning from Local Memory Websites

The exploration of the narrative nature of local memory websites in relation to empowerment theory produces new insights in the nested levels of analysis of both. Empowerment’s value orientation calls for a focus on strengths instead of weaknesses and, as such, requires specific language that accommodates the conviction that resources are locally available, instead of scarce. Consequently, empowerment theory describes resources as being present in processes and outcomes on interdependent psychological, organizational and communal levels. The application of the empowerment framework’s components to the theoretical outcomes and processes of local memory websites illuminates the connecting roles local narratives play as resources in empowerment. First of all, personal stories, community narratives and dominant cultural narratives influence and support each other across levels. Secondly, narratives spread local knowledge which leads to shared values and common believes for collectives on various levels. And thirdly, the sharing of narratives happens through social networks that manifest themselves on different levels, which, as such, facilitate sharing other resources. Based on these perspectives, we offer a simplified model for empowerment with a focus on the interdependencies between levels of networks. Against this background, we discuss relevant analytical perspectives as a departure point for the empirical exploration of unstudied relations between empowerment and local memory websites.

For a short presentation at the Winterschool Digital Methods UvA. I am also participating and very curious about what I am going to learn.


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