Narrative Policy Analysis

Theory and Practice

Narrative Policy Analysis

Book Pages: 240 Illustrations: 3 illustrations Published: November 1994

Author: Emery Roe

Literature and Literary Studies > Literary Theory, Politics > Public Policy

Narrative Policy Analysis presents a powerful and original application of contemporary literary theory and policy analysis to many of today’s most urgent public policy issues. Emery Roe demonstrates across a wide array of case studies that structuralist and poststructuralist theories of narrative are exceptionally useful in evaluating difficult policy problems, understanding their implications, and in making effective policy recommendations.
Assuming no prior knowledge of literary theory, Roe introduces the theoretical concepts and terminology from literary analysis through an examination of the budget crises of national governments. With a focus on several particularly intractable issues in the areas of the environment, science, and technology, he then develops the methodology of narrative policy analysis by showing how conflicting policy "stories" often tell a more policy-relevant meta-narrative. He shows the advantage of this approach to reading and analyzing stories by examining the ways in which the views of participants unfold and are told in representative case studies involving the California Medfly crisis, toxic irrigation in the San Joaquin Valley, global warming, animal rights, the controversy over the burial remains of Native Americans, and Third World development strategies.
Presenting a bold innovation in the interdisciplinary methodology of the policy sciences, Narrative Policy Analysis brings the social sciences and humanities together to better address real-world problems of public policy—particularly those issues characterized by extreme uncertainty, complexity, and polarization—which, if not more effectively managed now, will plague us well into the next century.


“Roe offers a creative approach to analyzing controversial public policy issues. A range of cases are used to illustrate the major concepts and methods that can be applied in narrative policy analysis.” — David Neufield, Alternatives Journal

"Emery Roe’s Narrative Policy Analysis is a book I relished. . . . Roe is one of those really original thinkers who resist disciplinary boundaries, leading others into new intellectual territory by making fresh maps of once-familiar ground, revealing previously unappreciated features. . . . [T]he kind of thoughtful deliberation this book suggests might help us with our most intractable issues. . . . [T]his is an innovative book that would make a wonderful addition to any graduate course in policy theory or policy analysis. . . . [T]here are critically important lessons to be learned here, as we edge around the very uncomfortable common ground Roe invites us to find a storied way to share."

— Ruth E. Malone , Ethics Place and Environment

"Roe has succeeded in marrying policy analysis to a broad-gauged version of narrative in a marvelous way. This book is wholly original . . . a stunning achievement." — Aaron Wildavsky

"Strikingly original with important implications for any theoretical or pragmatic approach to the definition and representation of truth—and its uses and misuses—in public issues. The book casts much light on the links between political, ethical, and literary discourses, a relationship equally relevant to specific processes like canonical revisions, and entire fields such as gender studies or multiculturalism." — Michael Riffaterre


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Price: $25.95

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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Emery Roe, a practicing policy analyst, is Coordinator, Environmental and Natural Resource Activities, and Adjunct Professor in the College of Natural Resources at the University of California, Berkeley.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Preface and Acknowledgments ix

Introduction to Narrative Policy Analysis: Why It Is, What It Is, and How It Is 1

1. Deconstructing Budgets, Reconstructing Budgeting: Contemporary Literary Theory and Public Policy in Action 21

2. What Are Policy Narratives? Four Examples and Their Policymaking Implications 34

3. Stories, Nonstories, and Their Metanarrative in the 1980-1982 California Medfly Controversy 52

4. Constructing the Metanarrative in the Animal Rights and Experimentation Controversy 76

5. A Salt on the Land: Finding the Stories, Nonstories, and Metanarrative in the Controversy over Irrigation-Related Salinity and Toxicity in California's San Joaquin Valley with Janne Hukkinen and Gene Rochlin 86

6. Global Warming as Analytic Tip: Other Models of Narrative Analysis I 108

7. Intertextual Evaluation, Conflicting Evaluative Criteria, and the Controversy over Native American Burial Remains: Other Models of Narrative Analysis II 126

Conclusion: In Shackle's Tide-Race: The Ethics of Narrative Policy Analysis 147

Appendix A: Methods for Narrative Policy Analysis 155

Appendix B: Short Chronology of Medfly Controversy 163

Appendix C: Prevalence of Stories in the Medfly Controversy 165

Notes 167

Index 197
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Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-1513-1 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-1502-5
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