HomeAsia-Pacific Social Science Reviewvol. 10 no. 1 (2010)

When Story Becomes Theory: Storytelling as Sociological Theorizing

Dennis S. Erasga

Discipline: Literature, Social Science, Sociology



Sociological imagination is an open invitation to theorize via the stories we tell ourselves and others. The essay explores how literary narratives mediate social reality and in the process, become genuine and legitimate materials for sociological theorizing. To do so, the paper traces the epistemic affinity of sociology and literature, examines the issues endemic in the field of sociology of literature, and assesses their implications in the search for new directions in sociological theorizing. Using the auto/biographical genre, this essay (1) appraises how storytelling as a discursive art weaves different categories of narratives that describe different layers of experience; and, (2) argues that for theorizing purposes, this type of material should neither be read with purely dramatic nor documentary interests, but in terms of its interpretive affordances. Retelling the story of symbolic interactionism, the essay ends with a challenge to sociological theorizing that is receptive to and facilitative of possibilities for searching the social in the literary.