Stories of North Omaha: Conveying Identities, Values, and Actions through Storytelling in a Public Meeting

Abstract

This study uses discourse analysis from a Language and Social Interaction (LSI) perspective to analyze the personal stories that were told during the North Omaha Development Project (NODP) public meeting. Personal stories may not intuitively seem to be important in public meetings because they center on individual, personal experience, rather than discussing issues in public terms. However, stories help people to create and negotiate their identities, demonstrate their values, and indicate what actions ought to be taken to enact those values in meaningful ways. In the NODP public meeting, presenters and audience members told stories that demonstrated the important distinction between community members and outsiders, and offered competing notions of the community values and appropriate actions that should be taken to address neighborhood poverty. This analysis offers insights into how public participation scholars can view stories told in public meetings as well as practical implications for officials convening public meetings.

Keywords

values, storytelling, public meeting, narrative, identity, discourse analysis

How to Cite

Black L., (2009) “Stories of North Omaha: Conveying Identities, Values, and Actions through Storytelling in a Public Meeting”, Journal of Public Deliberation 5(2). doi: https://doi.org/10.16997/jdd.86

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Authors

Laura W. Black (Ohio University)

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0

Peer Review

This article has been peer reviewed.

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