Narratives, Policy and Change: The Deconstruction and Reconstruction of U.S. Narratives in Syria   [open pdf - 1MB]

From the Abstract: "In the complex foreign policy domain, what a government says is as important as what a government does. This part of the policy formation is called a narrative. The narrative, in simple terms, describes the situation, provides context and meaning, and proposes a solution. Narratives can be found at all levels of discourse, but the relationship between narratives and their corresponding policy is complex. This thesis attempts to discern this relationship by reviewing the literature on policy narratives and policy change. To better understand this relationship, the author reviews the United States narrative and policy through a case study approach to the Syrian Civil War. In this case study, the Syrian policy narrative is reconstructed in three time periods; prior to the violent clash between Syrian security forces and protestors in March 2011; the time between the start of hostilities to the Syrian regime's alleged use of chemical weapons in August 2013; and from August 2013 through October 2014. This case study showed that there is a hierarchy to narratives consistent with the traditional view of the hierarchy of policy and strategy, as well as the importance of aligning the policy specific issue narrative to overarching narratives."

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