12. Storytelling for Social Change

  1. Karin Gwinn Wilkins,
  2. Thomas Tufte and
  3. Rafael Obregon
  1. Kate Winskell and
  2. Daniel Enger

Published Online: 7 MAR 2014

DOI: 10.1002/9781118505328.ch12

The Handbook of Development Communication and Social Change

The Handbook of Development Communication and Social Change

How to Cite

Winskell, K. and Enger, D. (2014) Storytelling for Social Change, in The Handbook of Development Communication and Social Change (eds K. G. Wilkins, T. Tufte and R. Obregon), John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ, USA. doi: 10.1002/9781118505328.ch12

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 7 MAR 2014
  2. Published Print: 4 APR 2014

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781118505311

Online ISBN: 9781118505328



  • behavior change communication;
  • Jerome Bruner;
  • narrative;
  • Scenarios from Africa;
  • social change;
  • storytelling


This chapter argues that narrative can be particularly well suited to transcend the unhelpful polarizations – behavioral versus social change, diffusion versus participatory approaches – that have characterized and restricted global health communication to date. The chapter describes a series of theoretical rationales and cases that can be enlisted to support the conceptualization of storytelling for social change practices and their effects at multiple levels of analysis. Next, it considers the theoretical base and cases on narrative and narration into articulation with the “Scenarios from Africa” process. Culture has been conceptualized as a “static set of never-changing values and norms” to which individuals are subject, rather than as “a complex, dynamic, and adaptive system of meaning” that is constantly evolving under the influence of individuals and collectivities. The theory of narrative and education proposed by cultural and educational psychologist, Jerome Bruner, provides a compelling grounding for this social constructivist perspective.