The power of stories to persuade: the storying of midwives and the financial narratives of central policy makers
The power of stories to persuade in influencing the process of change is the focus of this article. Attention is given to the importance of stories in making sense of past experience, of unifying groups, and in presenting options for future engagement and action. Unlike the narrative concern with sequencing, coherence and the need for a beginning, middle and end, it is argued that stories are often partial and ongoing, occur at multiple levels compete, complement and redefine positions. The plurality and political nature of stories are illustrated in an analysis of data drawn from a longitudinal study of six health care sites in remote and rural Scotland. The study concludes by arguing that stories are a powerful political vehicle in influencing sense-making and a critical component in maintaining choice and deflecting the imposition of a single simple solution (hegemonic influence) over various interpretations of what are complex context-based issues.