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Construction and collaboration in life-writing projects: Malala Yousafzai’s activist ‘I’

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This article explores the storytelling practices employed in Malala Yousafzai’s life-writing texts as examples of collaboration in the co-construction of an activist agenda. It tracks the narrative ‘I’ and its movements in and out of the plural pronoun ‘we’ as it moves across communities and embraces the legacy of testimonial accounts by both former and contemporary human rights activists. In line with that tradition, it is necessary to include the stories of other victimized people in the life-writing text, so that the result advocates for change on a sociopolitical, not just individual, level. The fact that the texts are mediated by editors, translators, co-authors and collaborators every step of the way paves the collaborative path Global South young women activists traverse, a path fraught with potential pitfalls and ethical difficulties for them and for scholars alike.
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Keywords: Malala Yousafzai; collaborative life writing; discursive strategies; feminist activism; human rights; storytelling

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2019

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  • The Journal of Writing in Creative Practice is the official organ of the Writing Purposefully in Art and Design (Writing PAD) network. It offers art and design institutions an arena in which to explore and develop the notion of thinking through writing as a parallel to visual discourse in art and design practice. The journal aims to extend the debates to all national and international higher educational art and design institutions.
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