1st Edition

Analyzing Social Narratives

By Shaul Shenhav Copyright 2015
    120 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    120 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Interpreting human stories, whether those told by individuals, groups, organizations, nations, or even civilizations, opens a wide scope of research options for understanding how people construct, shape, and reshape their perceptions, identities, and beliefs. Such narrative research is a rapidly growing field in the social sciences, as well as in the societally oriented humanities, such as cultural studies. This methodologically framed book offers conceptual directions for the study of social narrative, guiding readers through the means of narrative research and raising important ethical and value-related dilemmas.

    Shenhav details three classic elements of narrative—text, story, and narration—familiar concepts to those in literary studies. To the classic trilolgy of terms, this book also adds multiplicity, a crucial element for applying narrative analysis to the social sciences as it rests on the understanding that social narratives seek reproduction and self-multiplicity in order to become "social" and influential. The aim of this book is to create an easy, clear, and welcoming introduction to narratology as a mode of analysis, especially designed for students of the social sciences to provide the basics of a narratological approach, and to help make research and writing in this tradition more systematic.


    Selected Contents: Series Editors’ Foreword  Introduction: Being a story-listener  1. Story, text, narration and multiplicity in social narratives  2. Story: Stories and characters in social narratives  3. Text: The texts of social narratives  4. Narration: The power of narrators  5. Social narrative and multiplicity  6. Normative perspectives in the study of social narratives  7. Analyzing Social Narratives


    Shaul R. Shenhav is a senior lecturer in the Department of Political Science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is also the director of the Levi Eshkol Institute for Economic, Social and Political Research in Israel. His research interests include political narratives, political discourse, rhetoric, public diplomacy, and Israeli politics.

    "Shaul Shenhav’s Analyzing Social Narratives effortlessly and expertly speaks to multiple audiences—from the uninitiated novice, intrigued by the notion of narrative but unsure what it tells us or how to study it, to the experienced narratologist. The book makes signal conceptual contributions, while providing excellent concrete guidance on how to work with narratives, and it illustrates all its points with spare but telling examples. It is sure to become a required starting point among social scientists studying the narratives that shape our lives."Ronald R. Krebs, University of Minnesota

    "Whether to found a nation, champion a political party, or rally the people in times of war, narratives serve to bind and to empassion. In this engaging and erudite book, Shaul Shenhav provides social scientists with a versatile set of tools for analyzing the social universe. In probing what it calls the "fractal logic" by which narratives multiply as they diffuse across social networks, this book exemplifies the intriguing possibilities of the narrative science."Raul Lejano, New York University, Co-Author of The Power of Narrative in Environmental Networks

    "Shenhav’s delivery of the material is masterful. In an efficient 103 pages, this book charts a clear path that climbs the mountains of structuralism, traverses the marshes of post-structuralism, and emerges in the world of social science with feet planted firmly on ground that can be leveraged to inform qualitative, interpretive, and quantitative narrative methodologies ... Narrative scholars within the social sciences should add this book to their shelves and syllabi."—Michael D. Jones, Oregon State University’s School of Public Policy, Review Symposium on Analyzing Social Narratives, European Political Science, 2017

    "Shenhav cogently introduces, clearly defines, and lucidly explains in jargonfree language the key concepts of narrative analysis, story, text, and narration. His contribution would have been significant if this was all that his book accomplished. However, Dr Shenhav also introduces a very important original concept – multiplicity – that facilitates the application of literary narrative concepts to social and political analysis, for example, in the creation of national identities, the determination of how narratives become dominant and how they are challenged."—Myron J. Aronoff, Rutgers University, Review Symposium on Analyzing Social Narratives, European Political Science, 2017