Chapter

Public Policy as Narrative: Stories, Frames, and Metanarratives

Frank Fischer

in Reframing Public Policy

Published in print June 2003 | ISBN: 9780199242641
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191599255 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/019924264X.003.0008
 Public Policy as Narrative: Stories, Frames, and Metanarratives

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This is the third of four chapters offering a postempiricist methodology for policy inquiry based on the logic of practical discourse, and explores the narrative form of discourse and narrative analysis, an emerging and promising orientation in policy analysis. The social meanings uncovered by the interpretive analysis described in Chapter 7 are typically embedded in a policy narrative, designed to portray the fuller picture of a policy problem and the potential solutions. Built around interpretations, the narrative represents the policy situation, and offers a view of what has to be done and what the expected consequences will be. While there is a fair amount of conceptual overlap between the concepts of discourse and narration, narrative analysis is used in this discussion to refer to the analysis of stories. The first two sections of the chapter examines the general features of a narrative story, emphasizing its uses in both the social sciences and everyday social contexts, and discusses the basic epistemological issues involved in the production of a narrative text. The second three sections survey two prominent approaches to narrative discourse analyses that have emerged in the field of policy analysis per se: those of Stone and Roe. The last section examines how the logic of good reasons underlies the rationality of the narrative.

Keywords: discourse; narrative analysis; narrative discourse analysis; narrative policy analysis; narrative rationality; narrative stories; narratives; policy analysis; policy inquiry; policy narrative; postempiricist methodology; practical discourse; public policy

Chapter.  10686 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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