A new perspective on stories in public deliberation: analyzing small stories in discussions about immigration Journal Article uri icon



  • AbstractWe analyze small stories in a focus group on immigration to understand how small stories offer resources for group interaction in zero-history groups. Our analysis reveals two new functions of stories in deliberation: through small stories participants establish interactional identities (notably the role of expert) and reveal social categories relevant to the issue. Attending to how stories are elicited by other participants also reveals how group members use ventriloquism to have their arguments voiced by people representing particular social categories as a result of their small stories. This empirical analysis raises a normative question for public deliberation scholars: If narratives are vital to public deliberation, what happens when some people have relevant stories to tell and others do not? We suggest how small stories research can help deliberative theorists consider this question.

publication date

  • January 1, 2015

has restriction

  • closed

Date in CU Experts

  • January 27, 2017 9:15 AM

Full Author List

  • Sprain L; Hughes JMF

author count

  • 2

Other Profiles

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1860-7330

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1860-7349

Additional Document Info


  • 35


  • 4