Date of Graduation

Spring 5-2012

Level of Access

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department or Program

Politics

Second Department or Program

Art and Visual Culture

Number of Pages

207

Abstract

When faced with well-organized opposition, political organizations often incorporate new strategies into their campaigns. Some progressive organizations situate their work within overarching frameworks or perspectives called narratives, which are designed to shift the terms of public discourse to favor particular social and political goals. Despite the theoretical significance of narratives, actual efforts to connect everyday change-making activities to narrative development are often complicated by practical and theoretical obstacles. I address this dilemma in collaboration with Maine People’s Alliance (MPA), a progressive community action group with 32,000 members throughout Maine. We ask how an organization such as MPA can pursue the abstract goal of a “narrative” while remaining committed to more concrete change-making activities that measure an organization’s success. To answer this question and the three tensions of power, practicality, and perceptions that it spawns, we build on the work of community organizers, social movement framing theorists, scholars who study political myth, narrative analysts, and policy analysts. We explore a new integration of narratives and policymaking that simultaneously develops an alternative perspective and accomplishes measurable political change. This investigation uncovers the two tiers of narrative: organizational narratives and public worldviews. By focusing on organizational narratives, we explore various methods of story collection and evaluation to develop a model of narrative development that accommodates the varied realities and complexities of MPA, MPA membership, and the current political environment.

Components of Thesis

1 .pdf file

Open Access

Available to all.

Share

COinS