What is Narrative?

Think of a song you know by heart. If you hear a few notes, can you hum along? If its rhythm, tempo, or lyrics change, can you sing it? If you encounter the song in a different musical genre, can you name it? If its harmonies are removed, can you recognize it?  Songs are like stories and music is like narrative. Like music, narrative can be recognized and deeply felt in a myriad of forms. This is the power of narrative.

From the moment we learn our first words, we absorb thousands of stories that teach us how to live and be in the world. These stories are entrenched with powerful ideas and themes. This is narrative. 

Impactful, enduring social change moves at the speed of narrative.

Narrative defines what we imagine is possible and why, what we aspire to become and how, and whether we feel we have power with or over others - or none at all. Those with the most at stake can only build power within a value system that includes them. At Narrative Initiative, we believe that when we organize for social change, we organize meaning, too.

For more about narrative and related terms, read this blog post.


Hear from us