Date of Award

2011

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

“Poverty is like heat: You cannot see it, you can only feel it; so to know poverty, you have to go through it” (Narayan, 2000, p. xvii). This quote from a poor Ghanaian man epitomizes the view of standpoint theory, the belief that dominant society should stop speaking and start listening to underprivileged voices, to recognize that these people hold knowledge and views of which the dominant world simply cannot conceive. Global nonprofit organizations World Vision and Compassion International tell stories to illustrate and share their work, but in these stories, they fail to let the poor speak for themselves. This narrative criticism of the organizations’ promotional stories will reveal the ways in which such silencing can impact the world’s perception of the poor. Further, it will tie these findings to our discipline’s understanding of Walter Fisher’s narrative paradigm, engaging his theory’s lack of focus on marginalized stories.

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