Functions of Stories and Mobilisation-The story of Nikos Romanos

“A narrative is an account of a sequence of events in the order in which they occurred to make a point
(Labov &Waletsky1967)”(cited in Polletta et al., 2011, p. 111)

For the last couple of weeks there is a story that is being reproduced by media from all over Greece.This is the story of Nikos Romanos, a 21 year old anarchist prisoned who ‘s in a hunger strike for 3 weeks with the request to take sabbaticals in order to study.These days there are several protests that take place in many cities of Greece and the number of protesters grows  day by day.For more information click here.


The story that is presented when it comes to this case is quite interesting and will be analysed  in terms of its functions:




Explaining: In 2008,Nikos Romanos, saw his best friend, Alexandros Grigoropoulos being shot by the special guard Epaminondas Korkoneas.After this tragic event, a huge social crisis arouse and hundreads of people protested against the authorities for the death of the teeanager.
Romanos started getting involved in anarchist groups and a few years later he got arrested for a double robbery in Velvento, Kozani.He was convicted not as a terrorist ,but under the provisions of ordinary criminal code.
Last August  he got married with his girlfriend inside prison.Furthermore, he was also permitted to take exams in order to study at University.He passed the exams and he received congratulations from the Minister of Education(even though he refused to attend the ceremony for ideological reasons) . According to  the law, prisoners were  permitted to get sabbaticals,thus Romano’s would be able to attend classes.Unfrotunately , after the escape of the terrorist Xristodoulos Ksiros, laws changed and sabbaticals are not permitted.Thus the aversion of a law does not grant sabbaticals, although the same law gave him the right to take entrance examinations in higher education.
That’s when Romanos decided to react with a hunger strike.Since today he has lost 17 pounds and his life is in real danger as his heart rate reaches 170 per minutes and according to the doctors,a heart attack is”unfortunately expected”.
For more information click here.
Drawing attention: This story was presented by many greek media and many opinion articles have been written about this case.After some days more more and more groups,individuals as well as political parties (such as the opposition party SYRIZA) support the effort of Nikos Romanos through protests and marches.
Persuading:In this story there is  the “central processing” as there is a description of all the events that took place since 2008 . Even though many supporters of him are anarchists as well , there is a great number of people even though politicians that support Romano’s request.More specifically, the Minister of Education Mr Andreas Loverdos stated:”As the government allowed Romanos to take examinations for admission to a university ,they should give him permission to attend the courses and take  exams at university .Also he said that Romanos can attend courses through Skype conferences, but unfortunately the Dean of the University clearly stated that physical attendance is mandatory.
Constructing identities and actors:When it comes to Romanos as an actor, he is the protagonist and he is presented as a hero.It can not be said that the supporters who protest in favor of Romanos are characterized by organisation and structure, as there is no existence of a specific social movement.Thus their idenity is based on the promotion of democracy,justice and democratic actions from the Government in order to contribute to a fair reformation of prisoners.
Evaluating: This story is full of opportunities(reformations of prisoners) and obstacles(existing restrictions of law), costs(a human life as well as the risk that government takes by allowing prisoners  to circulate outside of prison ) and benefits(reformation of prisoners),success(a middle solution or review of the law) and failure(failure of finding a middle ground)
Legitimating: Even though Romanos is a prisoner with a long criminal record, he is presented as a hero and as a person who fights for his rights.
As it has been mentioned above , these days there are big protests that take place in Greece in order to support Nikos Romanos.Yesterday , there was a march of 4000 protesters that took place in the center of Athens, and there are also many more to come, as at the 6th of December is the anniversary  of Alexandros Grigoropoulos death. As we can see, the functions of the story really lead to mobilisation of many different groups of people in order to support Romano’s request.What remains to be seen is the reaction and the response of the government.

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