The Narrative Production of Stakeholder Engagement Processes

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Narrative work is a critical aspect of producing complex stakeholder engagement processes. I demonstrate the value of attending to the effort and consequences of enactment forms of narrative work to complement attention to talk forms of narrative work. Through ethnographic analysis of a contentious planning effort, I show how master narratives structure expectations about what a “participatory process” involves, how narrative logics provide momentum for moving through an engagement process, and how storytelling represents perspectives, imagines futures, and persuades. I suggest prompts for investigating, designing, and troubleshooting narrative work to improve engagement processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Planning Education and Research
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018


  • contentious planning
  • narrative analysis
  • narrative construction of reality
  • process design
  • public participation
  • stakeholder engagement processes

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