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