Time: 24.1.2020 13:00-14:00
Place: Room 229, Psychologicum (Siltavuorenpenger 1 A, 00170 Helsinki)
Molly Andrews: Political narratives and stories of political change
Hannah Arendt has argued that storytelling is the bridge by which we transform that which is private and individual into that which is public, and in this capacity, it is one of the key components of social life (Arendt 1958: 50). Stories - both personal and communal - are pivotal to the way in which politics operates, both in people's minds (i.e. how they understand politics, and their place within and outside of the formal political sphere) as well as to how politics is practiced. These stories, as it were, are not just within the domain of the individual, but are built upon the collective memory of a group, just as they help to create how that memory is mobilised and for what purposes. This paper will explore the relationship between micro and macro political narratives, in other words the dynamic interplay between the stories of individuals (both told and untold) and the contested stories of the communities in which they live. The paper will be framed around a case study of one East German dissident’s challenge to emotionally negotiate the opening of the Berlin Wall.
About the speaker
Molly Andrews is the Jane and Aatos Erkko Visiting Professor at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, and Professor of Political Psychology, and Co-director of the Centre for Narrative Research at the University of East London. Her research interests include political narratives, the psychological basis of political commitment, political identity, and patriotism and intergenerational dialogue. Her books include Lifetimes of Commitment: Aging, Politics, Psychology Shaping History: Narratives of Political Change (both Cambridge University Press), and Narrative Imagination and Everyday Life (Oxford University Press). She serves on the Editorial Board of five journals which are published in four countries, and her publications have appeared in Chinese, German, Swedish, Spanish, Czech, and German.