The purpose of this paper is to illustrate how the notion of "storying collaboration" can benefit democratic participation, collaboration among different social actors, and local development.
The methodology relies initially on a hermeneutical epistemological view which also incorporates Aristotelian analysis of speech as a deconstructive tool. Initial findings suggest a further shift in approach towards the assumptions made by critical theory. The basic methodological tool is in-depth interviews. The level of analysis is the individual who participates in collaborative processes.
The paper shows how collaboration is unlikely to be successful in situations where certain key conditions are absent. Ultimately, what may be seen as a conversion process reveals a circular sequence of ideals, acts and outcomes in which stories about the future become realities and realities become new stories.
The findings suggest that the creation of appropriate environments is required in order for individuals to become aware of their wishes and demands and make conscious choices. If the actors involved are aware of the rhetorical components of speech, then they can utilise them to persuade others. The storyteller must take into consideration which kind of assumptions, intentions and orientations respect individual and social notions of legitimacy and, thus, are likely to succeed.
The originality of the paper lies in the use of a bricolage of methodologies in order to shed light on the role of stories in the collaborative process.