Story Tech

Power, Storytelling, and Social Change Advocacy

Subjects: Political Science, Political Communication, Media Studies, New Media
Paperback : 9780472057252, 264 pages, 21 figures, 12 tables, 6 x 9, February 2025
Hardcover : 9780472077250, 264 pages, 21 figures, 12 tables, 6 x 9, February 2025
Ebook : 9780472222070, 264 pages, 21 figures, 12 tables, 6 x 9, February 2025
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How increased access to storytelling reshapes our public debates

Table of contents

Table of Contents
List of Tables
List of figures
Chapter 1 – Storytelling in changing technological and political landscapes
Chapter 2 – Logics of digital storytelling and their diffusion
Chapter 3 – “Story tech” and datafication
Chapter 4 – Whose voice? The role of storytellers and representation
Chapter 5 – Unexpected narratives: Personal disability stories
Chapter 6 – Datafied storytelling’s double-edged sword in marriage equality campaigning
Chapter 7 – Frontline “heroes:” unions and essential workers’ stories during the pandemic
Chapter 8 – Power, storytelling, and advocacy for social change futures


Personal stories have the power to stir the heart, compel us to act, and spark social change. While advocacy organizations have long used storytelling in campaigns, the role technology plays has increased. Today, invitations to “share your story” are widespread on advocacy organizations and political campaigns’ websites, calls to action, and social media pages. But what happens after one clicks “share”? And how does this affect which voices we hear—and which we don’t—in public discourse?
Story Tech explores the increasingly influential impact of technologies—such as databases, algorithms, and digital story banks—that are usually invisible to the public. It shows that hidden “story tech” enables political organizations to treat stories as data that can be queried for storylines and used to intervene in news and information cycles in real time. In particular, the authors review successful story-centered campaigns that helped change dominant narratives on disability rights, marriage equality, and essential workers’ rights in the United States and Australia. They compare the use of storytelling advocacy across different types of organizations including volunteer grassroots groups, large national advocacy coalitions, and trade unions, and examine how trends differ for storytellers, organizers, and their technology partners. As political stories shift to being “on demand,” they reshape power relationships in key public debates in ways that produce moments of tension as well as positive narrative change. Story Tech examines the shift toward political story “on demand” and illustrates how storytelling success can—and should—be achieved in conjunction with personal dignity, privacy, and empowerment for storytellers and their communities, particularly marginalized ones.

Filippo Trevisan is Associate Professor of Public Communication at American University, Washington, DC. 
Michael Vaughan is a Research Fellow at London School of Economics and Political Science.
Ariadne Vromen is Professor of Public Administration at The Australian National University, Canberra.