T08P13 - Policy Narratives: Frameworks, Methods and Case Studies

Topic : Policy Discourse and Critical Policy Research

Panel Chair : Farhad Mukhtarov - fmukhtarov@gmail.com

Panel Second Chair : Ching Leong - ching@nus.edu.sg

Panel Third Chair : Raul Lejano - lejano@nyu.edu

Objectives and Scientific Relevance of the panel

Panel Description


Policy narratives are gaining increasing attention in the world of policy analysis and practice. Roe came up with the framework to study policy narratives (1994), and a wave of research focusing on discourses and stories in the 2000s made this line of research well-established in the policy literature (e.g. Fischer and Forester, 1993; Hajer, 1995; Lejano et al., 2013). In this panel, we invite contributions which further our understanding of policy narratives.


Narratives are attractive to study for several reasons. First, we make sense of the world in stories and these become an epistemological and an ontological category. Second, stories allow for agency and structure to be combined in one coherent account. Stories also often combine many different elements of decision-making, such as emotions, reason, norms, values, culture and facts. Furthermore, narratives allow both human and non-human objects to be analyzed for their agency and influence on policy processes (Latour, 1993).


This literature makes a number of important propositions, which need to be further studied empirically. Moreover, the discussion of new frameworks and methods to study policy narratives is an on-going process and contributions in this field are very welcome. One proposition is that narratives keep policy networks together and are key to understanding those (Lejano et al., 2013). Another proposition is that narratives, especially in the form of myths, are key to how international relations function (de Guevara, 2016). Similar line of research proposes that narratives are key to the functioning global governance in various fields (Dany and Freistein, 2016; Mukhtarov, 2009).

Call for papers

In this panel, we are interested in the role of policy narratives in policy change and stability, both in terms of case studies and conceptual and methodological contributions. We ask the following questions:


1)                 How can narratives contribute to understanding policy change and stability?

2)                 What are the theories, frameworks and models to study policy narratives?

3)                 What are the methods available to researchers to study policy narratives and their impact on public policy process?

4)                 What are the empirical results of analyzing policy narratives through case studies?

5)                 How can we approach policy narrative analysis in a comparative fashion?


This brief overview of the emerging literature demonstrates the complexity involved and the major trends in policy thought in this direction. Based on these thoughts, we would like to invite contributions, which deal with these subjects and will help move the discussion on policy narratives further.

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