Individual Response to Structural Problems in Dgital Storytelling

by Timothy Malone

When considering Alex’s post, in particular  the passage”as small scale stories that give a voice to ordinary people through self-representation using digital technology; as multi-modal transformations that remix culture to challenge institutions through personal narratives and a performance of authenticity…”, I began to reflect on the potential of the medium to effect institutional analysis, its value to social movements.

Is it possible that the very medium of digital storytelling: a singular voice, relating a personal story, precludes an analysis of collective or institutional forms, injustice? A singular story may relate an experience within a system of injustice, but it cannot analyze the system unless a move is made from the personal to the collective. May digital storytelling, if adopted as a mechanism though which the voiceless are given a voice, lead to greater atomization, through only allowing experiences of social injustice to be expressed as cries of individualized anguish, thus making their institutional roots and shared experience? Is it possible to break the “I” voice and speak with and on behalf of community in the form?

This is not to challenge the notion that individual stories of injustice can move a viewers sympathies, political alliances, etc, but is there something in the form which precludes getting at the very causes of suffering, in the same way that in the therapists office, social problems are ascribed to individual pathology?