Project

Crisis narrativisation and institutions in politics and public policy

Goal: Post-communist institutions are especially marked by crisis narratives, yet discursive aspects of institutional reform have been neglected by social and political science. This project, supported by the Czech Science Foundation, aims to analyse institutions and narratives in relation to the organisational fields of party politics and health care, to explain how narrativisation of institutions and institutionalisation of narratives affect social dynamics, and to develop methodological techniques for the joint study of narratives and institutions.

Methods: Discourse Analysis


Date: 1 January 2016 - 31 December 2018
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Project log

Simon Smith
Simon Smith
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Using speech acts formulas to describe the narrative structure of affaires
A short article describing an attempt to study how a corpus of press articles covering an ongoing affaire or scandal is narratively marked by certain kinds of speech acts. I used the formula function in the Prospéro text analysis tool to explore how narrative fragments function argumentatively and how accusations, denunciations and other forms of critique function narratively.
Simon Smith
Simon Smith
added an update
Still nearly a week to send your abstract for a panel we are running at this year's Interpretive Policy Analysis conference in Leicester (5-7 July). The deadline is 24 February.
Authors should submit the details of their papers to the conference email at: IPAconference2017@dmu.ac.uk
Proposals should include: panel number; paper title; name, role, institutional affiliation and email address; abstract (no more than 300 words).
Panel 26: Narrativizing institutional crises
Convenors: Karel Čada, Charles University, Prague
Simon Smith, Charles University, Prague
Abstract: Many institutions in modern societies are often and repeatedly described as failing and dysfunctional. In the media, different institutions, ranging from child protection to global order, are repeatedly being drawn into publicly defending themselves against accusation and critique. Such a situation prompts questions about what kind of narratives emerge in these controversies and what effects these narratives might have. The panel focuses on how narratives of crisis change and shape institutions and organizational fields and it analyses the role of narratives and narrating in institutionalization and institutional change.
Narratives of crisis refer to accounts of failure and disorder in normal development both in politics as well as policy. They take the perspective of a protagonist (which often incites a counter-narrative from opponents) and include claims about necessary institutional reconstructions, suggesting a way to restore meaningful progression.
Analysing the ways in which public policy narratives interconnect with politics allows us to better understand how actors in public affairs justify themselves subject to different types and degrees of argumentative constraint. It helps us contemplate policy making not only as a process of solving public problems but also as a means of defining and disputing the legitimacy of institutional arrangements, and, vice versa, it helps us read politics as a mediating field in which policy makers stake out their positions and claim a mandate for promoting institutional change and arguments thus pass into more stable discursive configurations.
This panel examines the mutual relation, interplay and possible contradictions between institutions and narratives of crisis in politics and policy. Three angles/perspectives are particularly welcome: (1) how crises are constructed or managed through narrativization; (2) how institutions are reflected in narratives…
Simon Smith
Simon Smith
added a project goal
Post-communist institutions are especially marked by crisis narratives, yet discursive aspects of institutional reform have been neglected by social and political science. This project, supported by the Czech Science Foundation, aims to analyse institutions and narratives in relation to the organisational fields of party politics and health care, to explain how narrativisation of institutions and institutionalisation of narratives affect social dynamics, and to develop methodological techniques for the joint study of narratives and institutions.