PAL 155 Public Narrative
Conflict, Collaboration, Coherence
Hauser Center 238 (495-3937)
Tuesday and Thursday
1:10 – 2:30 PM
Sarah Staley, Hauser Center 237 (384-9637)
3:00 – 5:00 PM
Section #1: Alexis Watson
Section #2: Martha Parker
Section #3: Roshan Paul
This module builds on the prerequisite PAL-154M, Public Narrative: Identity, Agency and Action. In that module we learned what public narrative is, how it works, why it works, and how to do it. We saw how narrative can express the shared values of a community, constituting its identity as a community, and can translate these values into sources of the motivation to act
But what about narrative conflict? We have all experienced competing stories about the same events - in our families, communities, faiths, schools, workplaces, organizations, and nations. Will “getting the facts” clear up the confusion? Is one story “wrong” and the other “right”? Or do competing narratives reflect the different values that are in play? And if the conflict is one of values, how can we mange so as to reap the benefits of constructive conflict?
In PAL-155, we will learn (1) to identify sources of narrative conflict, (2) to interpret the substance of the conflict, and (3) to develop ways to engage conflict constructively. Because the subject of narrative is choice in response to the unexpected, the novel, and the challenging, we may respond in different ways. Some narratives incorporate new challenges into a story of continuity and others into a story of change; some interpret new challenges to affirm a dominant story while others interpret the same new challenges as grounds for resistance; some deepen division, separation, and distinction while others enhance healing, affiliation, and community through inclusion; some memorialize loss, while others inspire redemption.
When narratives do conflict, will the tellers of one story suppress the other story if they hold the power to silence them? Can we blend stories as if they were distinctly colored threads, highlighting aspects of each story, part of a greater whole? Must we retreat from narrative altogether, focusing on “value neutral” interests? Can we learn to tell “third” stories, perhaps as alternatives to the contradictory stories in which we are stuck?
Our goals are to learn the sources of narrative conflict, how to read what the conflict is about (values), and how to engage narrative conflict constructively.
1. On Tuesdays we will consider forms of narrative conflict, analyze cases, and consider how to turn conflict to constructive purpose. Students are expected to have completed the readings.
2. By 6:00 PM, Wednesday evening, each student will be required to post a short (2 page) written reflection paper on a case of narrative conflict drawn from their own experience: what was the context, what was your role, what was it about, how was it engaged, and what lessons did you learn? We will comment on the papers and return them to you before our next Tuesday class.
3. On Thursday we will meet in sections for discussion of 3 or 4 case presentations by students. Students will sign up for the week during which they will present.
4. Students will submit a final 8 page paper analyzing a narrative conflict of which they have experience, its sources, and lessons learned from engaging with it. The paper will be due on December 21, posted in the course drop box, by 5:00 PM.
Students will be evaluated on participation (discussion, presentations) (35%), response papers (25%), and their final paper (40%).
Articles and book chapters will be available on line or in the coursepack. You will also be asked to review passages from three books required for PAL 155M, which are on reserve in the Kennedy School Library:
1. George Marcus, The Sentimental Citizen: Emotion in Democratic Politics, (University Park: Penn State University Press, 2002).
2. Richard Kearney, On Stories: Thinking in Action, (New York: Routledge, 2006).
3. Jerome Bruner and Anthony Amsterdam, Minding the Law (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2000),
Week #1: Introduction: Why Narratives Conflict (October 30) (112 pp.)
After an overview of the course, we will consider sources of narrative conflict, four modes of conflict we will consider, and debrief examples of narratives in conflict.
Jerome Bruner and Anthony Amsterdam, “Chapter 8, On the Dialectic of Culture”, Minding the Law, (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2000), (pp. 217-245).
Joan DelFattore, “Controversial Narratives in the Schools: Content, Values, and Conflicting Viewpoints”, Narrative Impact: Social and Cognitive Foundations, Melanie Green, Jeffrey Strange, and Timothy Brock eds., (New Jersey: Erlbaum, 2002), (pp.131-155).
Kathe Callahan, et al, “War Narratives: Framing Our Understanding of the War on Terror”, Public Administration Review, July/August, 2006, (pp. 554 – 568).
Review: Drew Westen, “Chapter 7, Writing An Emotional Constitution”, The Political Brain: the Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation, (New York: Public Affairs, 2007), (pp. 145-169).
Ronald Reagan, “Acceptance Speech,” Republican Convention, August 23, 1984 (7 pp.).
http://www.millercenter.virginia.edu/scripps/digitalarchive/speeches/spe_1984_0823_reagan. Also, there is audio here.
Mario Cuomo, “Two Cities,” Keynote Address to Democratic National Convention, July 17, 1984, (11 pp.). http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/cuomo1984dnc.htm Also, there is audio and video here.
Week #1: Conflict in Narrative (November 1) (112 pp.)
Today we’ll look at sources – and benefits – of conflict. Under what conditions can it be constructive? What is the role of narrative in engaging conflict successfully?
Lewis Coser, “Chapter 12, Conclusion”, The Functions of Social Conflict, (New York: Free Press, 1956). (pp 151-157).
Review: George Marcus, “Chapter 7, The Dangers of Loathing”, (pp. 119-132), “Chapter 8, The Sentimental Citizen”, (pp. 133-148), The Sentimental Citizen, (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2002).
Robert McKee, “Chapter14, The Principle of Antagonism”, Story, (New York: Harper Collins, 1997), (pp.317-333).
Kathleen M. Eisenhardt, Jean L. Kahwajy, and L.J. Bourgeois III, “How Management Teams Can Have a Good Fight”, Harvard Business Review, July-August, 1997, (pp. 77-85).
Week #2: Continuity and Change (November 6 & 8) (121 pp.)
What’s the difference between a “narrative of change” and a “narrative of continuity”? How do they engage the unexpected differently? What are the values differences that inform them? When do we choose which?
Thomas Kuhn, “VIII. The Response to Crisis, IX. The Nature and Necessity of Scientific Revolutions. X. Revolutions as Changes in World View (pp. 77-135) (Chicago: University of Chicago, 1962).
Bruner and Amsterdam, “Chapter 9, Race, the Court and America’s Dialectic”, Minding the Law, (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2000), (pp.246-281). Continuity narrative (Plessey), Change narrative (Brown).
Joshua J. Yates and James Davison Hunter, “Chapter 6, Fundamentalism: When History Goes Awry”, Stories of Change: Narratives and Social Movements, Joe Davis ed., (Albany: State University of New York, 2002), (pp.123-148).
Response Paper: Consider a case of narrative continuity or change drawn from your own experience: the context, your role, the values involved, how it was engaged, what lessons did you learn? 2 pages posted in the drop box, by Wednesday, 6:00 PM.
Section: Student presentations of narratives of change and narratives of continuity. When can the “unexpected” be incorporated into an existing narrative. (adaptation)? When does the “unexpected” required devising a new narrative. (transformation)
Week #3: Dominance and Resistance (November 13 & 15) (150 pp.)
What’s the difference between a “dominant narrative” and a “narrative of resistance” or “challenge”? How do they engage the unexpected differently? What are the values differences that inform them? When do we choose which? And who does the choosing.
James C. Scott, Chapter 1, “Behind the Official Story” (1-17), Chapter 2, “Domination, Acting and Fantasy” (p.17 – 44) in Domination and the Arts of Resistance (New Haven: Yale, 1990).
Review: Richard Kearney, “Part Three, National Narratives: Rome, Britain, and America”, On Stories: Thinking in Action, (New York: Routledge, 2006), (pp. 79-117).
Joseph Davis, “Narrative and Social Movements: The Power of Stories”, Stories of Change: Narrative and Social Movements, (Albany: State University of New York, 2002), (pp. 10-29).
Review: Walter Brueggemann, “Chapter 1, The Alternative Community of Moses”, The Prophetic Imagination, (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2001), (pp. 1-20).
Marshall Ganz, “The Power of Story in Social Movements”, American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, 2001, 16 pp. http://ksghome.harvard.edu/~mganz/Current%20Publications/MG%20POWER%20OF%20STORY.pdf
Francesca Polletta, “Ways of Knowing and Stories Worth Telling”, It Was Like A Fever: Storytelling in Protest and Politics, (Chicago: University of Chicago, 2006), (pp. 109-140).
Richard A. Cuoto, “Narrative, Free Space, and Political Leadership in Social Movements”, The Journal of Politics, Vol.55. No.1 (February, 1993), (pp. 57-79).
Response Paper: Consider a case of a dominant narrative or narrative of resistance drawn from your own experience: the context, your role, the values involved, how it was engaged, what lessons did you learn? 2 pages posted in the drop box, by Wednesday, 6:00 PM.
Section: Student presentations of dominant narratives and resistance narratives. When can the “unexpected” be incorporated into the dominant narrative (adaptation)? When does the “unexpected” serve to support a narrative of resistance (transformation)?
Week #4: Catching Our Breath (November 20)
November 22, Thanksgiving!
Week #5: Division and Healing (November 27 & 29) (159 pp.)
What’s the difference between a “narrative of division” and a “narrative of healing”? How do they engage the unexpected differently? What are the values differences that inform them? When do we choose which?
Division Narratives: to be assigned
Belinda Bozzoli, "Public Ritual and Private Transition: The Truth Commission in Alexandra Township, South Africa 1996", African Studies, 57(2), 1998, (pp. 167-195).
Richard A. Wilson, “Chapter 4, Reconciliation Through Truth?”, The Politics of Truth and Reconciliation in South Africa, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), (pp. 97-122).
John Winslade and Gerald Monk, “Chapter 1, Narrative Mediation: What Is It?”, (pp. 1-30), “Chapter 3, A Narrative Model of Mediation”, (pp. 57-93), Narrative Mediation, (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2001).
Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, and Sheila Heen, “Chapter 8, Getting Started: Begin From the Third Story”, (pp. 147-162), “Chapter 9, Listen from the Inside Out”, (pp. 163-184), Difficult Conversations, (New York: Penguin, 1999).
Response Paper: Consider a case of a narrative of division or narrative of healing drawn from your own experience: the context, your role, the values involved, how it was engaged, what lessons did you learn? 2 pages posted in the drop box, by Wednesday, 6:00 PM.
Section: Student presentations of narratives of division and narratives of healing. When does the “unexpected” contribute to a narrative of division? When can the “unexpected” contribute to a narrative of healing?
Week #6: Loss and Redemption (December 4 & 6) (66 pp.)
What’s the difference between a “narrative of loss” and a “narrative of redemption”? How do they engage the unexpected differently? What are the values differences that inform them? When do we choose which?
1. Kim Voss, “Claim Making and Framing of Defeats: Interpretations of Losses by British and American Labor Activists, 1886-1895”, Challenging Authority: the Historical Study of Contentious Politics, Michael Hanagan, Leslie Page Moch, and Wayne te Brake eds., (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1998), (pp. 136-148).
2. Michael Jackson, “In Extremis: Refugee Stories/Refugee Lives”, The Politics of Storytelling, (Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press, 2002), (pp. 87-106).
3. Dan P. McAdams and Philip J. Bowman, “Chapter 1: Narrating Life’s Turning Points: Redemption and Contamination,” Turns in the Road: Narrative Studies of Lives in Transition, (Washington D.C.: American Psychological Association, 2001), (pp. 3-34).
Response Paper: Consider a case of a narrative of loss or a narrative of redemption drawn from your own experience: the context, your role, the values involved, how it was engaged, what lessons did you learn? 2 pages posted in the drop box, by Wednesday, 6:00 PM.
Section: Student presentations of narrative of loss and narratives of redemption. When does the “unexpected” encourage a narrative of loss? When does the “unexpected” encourage a narrative of redemption.
Week #7: Conclusion: Competition, Co-existence, Collaboration (December 11)
What did we learn about narrative conflict?
What drives narrative conflict?
How can we engage narrative conflict constructively?