Policy & Politics
Advancing knowledge in public and social policy

Narratives as tools for influencing policy change

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  • 1 University of Colorado Denver, USA
  • | 2 Oregon State University, USA
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Narrative has been observed to be central to the policy process – constituting public policy instruments, persuading decision makers and the public, and shaping all stages of the policy process. This article distils useful policy advice, which can be employed by scholars and practitioners alike. We call attention to two potential communication pitfalls to which practitioners are likely to fall prey: (1) the knowledge fallacy, and (2) the empathy fallacy. We then focus our discussion on ‘intervention points’ where narrative can play an important role, drawing attention to recent narrative research, which provides the strongest basis for overcoming communication fallacies. Based on arguments presented here, policy actors can construct better narratives to accomplish their policy goals, while scholars can better understand how narratives are constructed and the intervention points where narratives might be observed and therefore studied.

  • 1 University of Colorado Denver, USA
  • | 2 Oregon State University, USA

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