Storytelling has long been an important part of both campaigning and creating and maintaining community. However, the relationship between stories and rational argument has been problematic in the study of public moral debate. The question remains unsettled: How do stories argue? How do stories have a persuasive role in political rhetoric? Rather than the view that narrative reasoning is based in a different paradigm of reasoning, I argue that the persuasive use of stories goes back to early rhetorical training and that stories have always been used along with rhetorical argument as part of persuasive discourse. Vladimir Propp’s work on the morphology of folk- and fairy tales demonstrates that stories use topics, or topoi, in a manner similar to those used to generate lines of argument in rhetoric. I offer four aspects of narrative that affect the persuasive reception of stories: performance, adaptation, context, and iconicity. These aspects of rhetorical storytelling, combined with the topoi of the story, give us a new analytical framework for evaluating the persuasive potential of political storytelling.
"How Stories Argue: The Deep Roots of Storytelling in Political Rhetoric,"
Storytelling, Self, Society: Vol. 11
, Article 7.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/storytelling/vol11/iss1/7