Journalist John Harris examines the potency of narrative, both in the stories that define us as individuals and in those that shape our understanding of the public domain.
The journalist John Harris examines the potency of narrative, both in the stories that define us as individuals and in those that shape our understanding of the public domain.
Story is ubiquitous - and not simply in the realm of literature and entertainment. From television and advertising to religion, science, business and politics, narratives shape our world. They make connections, explain cause and effect and infer meaning. More than that - stories bewitch us. And recent political events have demonstrated quite how potent they can be.
In this first episode, with the help of psychologist Drew Westen (author of The Political Brain) and Ed Woodcock (Director of Narrative at creative agency Aesop), John deconstructs the stories deeply woven into the two most successful slogans of recent times - Take Back Control and Make America Great Again. He asks neuroscientist Tali Sharot about how our brains are pre-disposed to respond to story, and talks about nostalgia, master narratives and narrative ecologies with Yiannis Gabriel who studies organisational storytelling. John also visits the Brian Haw collection at the Museum of London to see how counter-narratives can become mainstream, and hears from podcaster Chrystal Genesis about the need to allow different voices the opportunity to challenge the prevailing stories of our times.
Presented by John Harris
Produced by Nina Garthwaite and Alan Hall
A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4.