Narratives and the Policy Process: Applications of the Narrative Policy Framework. Chapter 4: Agreement and Trust: In Narratives or Narrators?
Lybecker, Donna L.
McBeth, Mark K.
Sargent, Jessica M.
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Narratives concerning the working class and their relationship to climate change are important. In particular, how the narrative constructs the relationship and, within this, who communicates a narrative (the narrator) is key. That said, this is a less studied element; the Narrative Policy Framework (NPF) has limited research on narrators. Subsequently, this work examines individuals’ support of narratives and narrators using an Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) survey of 435 participants. After pretesting for climate change views, the subjects chose which narrator they expected to agree with: Mechanic Pat or Organic Farmer Chris. Through randomization, subjects joined either a congruent treatment group (Mechanic Pat tells the anti-climate change narrative and Organic Farmer Chris tells the pro-climate change narrative) or an incongruent treatment group (Mechanic Pat tells the pro-climate change narrative and Organic Farmer Pat tells the anti-climate change narrative). Results indicate that before reading the narratives, climate change “devotees” (those who agree that climate change is occurring and is human-caused) thought they would agree with Organic Farmer Chris over Mechanic Pat. Whereas there was division in the climate change “skeptics” (those who disagree that climate change is real and human-caused) on the question of what narrator they thought they would agree with. Devotees significantly supported the pro-climate change working-class narrative when told by Organic Farmer Chris as compared to when Mechanic Pat told the same narrative. Further showing the power of a narrator, devotees supported the anti-working class climate change narrative more when told by Organic Farmer Chris rather than when Mechanic Pat told the same narrative. Our findings demonstrate that narrators matter and suggest that the NPF needs to consider narrators as a narrative element worthy of further study.
Narratives and the Policy Process: Applications of the Narrative Policy Framework by Donna L. Lybecker; Mark K. McBeth; and Jessica M. Sargent is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.
Lybecker, Donna L., Mark K. McBeth, and Jessica M. Sargent. 2022. “Agreement and Trust: In Narratives or Narrators?”, in Narratives and the Policy Process: Applications of the Narrative Policy Framework, Michael D. Jones, Mark K. McBeth, and Elizabeth A. Shanahan (eds.), Montana State University Library, 91-115. doi.org/10.15788/npf4