chapter  8
Legal Fictions: Telling Stories and Doing Justice
Pages 18

The role of stories in social explanation has been analyzed in fields as diverse as psychology (Hastie, Penrod, & Pennington, 1983; Rumelhart, 1975; Wilensky, 1983), sociolinguistics (Sacks, 1972), political science (Bennett & Edelman, 1985), history (White, 1984), anthropology (American Ethnological Society, 1988; Clifford & Marcus, 1986), law (White, 1985), communications (Fisher, 1985, 1987) and economics (McClosky, 1985). The explanatory power of narrative has also been recognized in popular intellectual circles, heralded by the Public Broadcasting System's "Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth" (Moyers, 1987) and the subsequent appearance of Campbell's works on national best-seller lists. In more recent days, a prominent national magazine published a debate by a group of leading Democrats who agreed on little else but the fact that the party needed a "new story" to explain itself to the people (Hitt, 1990).