Migration and Narrative Dynamics

How can narrative theory account for the changing roles of storytelling and storysharing in the public sphere? This chapter proposes a new concept of narrative dynamics, one that generates well-constrained descriptions of specific elements, features, or qualities of narratives, as well as programmatic claims concerning their potential uses and effects. Narrative dynamics research is equally interested in the pragmatics of strategic framing and the grand narratives of human rights, in mundane stories of everyday experience and the intangible myths and masterplots that shape organizations, institutions, and cultures. Starting with the formal characteristics and functional qualities of narrative that contribute to its interactivity, the chapter discusses phenomena such as narrative aggregation and normalization, event modeling, and narrative chaff. It then demonstrates how these concepts produce new insights in the narrative ecology of the public sphere by analyzing key moments in European migration discourses since 2015.

This research was financially supported by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation program under grant agreement No. 101004945 (project “Crises as Opportunities: Towards a Level Telling Field on Migration and a New Narrative of Successful Integration” [OPPORTUNITIES]). The information in this article reflects only the author’s views; the European Union is not liable for any use that may be made of the information contained therein.


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