The Long View: How musical stories make political policies

Some thoughts on how musical and political narratives inter-relate. This article is part of a project for the CHASE Public Policy Engagement workshop.

The Oxford Culture Review

‘The universe’, wrote poet Muriel Rukeyser, ‘is made of stories, not of atoms.’ Narratives bind together the fabric of society — they help us to make sense of ourselves, of the world around us, and of where we fit within it. Anybody who has been engrossed by a novel, watched a child’s wonderment at the new worlds contained in the pages of books, or seen a storyteller performing live will bear testament to the rhetorical power of these fantasies and fables. Stories have withstood postmodern attempts to fragment the way in which we present the world: indeed, the claims of postmodernism are narratives in and of themselves.

It’s tempting to think of narratives as fictional — confined to the realms of Hogwarts, Middle Earth, and Narnia. But perhaps the most compelling stories are found in the pages of histories. These are tales that structure our world and perspectives just…

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