Much of the literature on narrative in politics focuses on stories that are told explicitly and focuses on the role of genre in shaping stories. But in politics, as in other spheres, stories are often alluded to rather than told explicitly. And the allusions often take the form of a reference to a character: the "welfare queen," the "anchor baby," the "litigious American." Accordingly, this essay centers on characters in politics. I ask: Why do particular characters come to be resonant in political debates? How much power does a resonant character have to shape policies? And how much freedom do contending parties have to invent new characters? Can one style anyone a victim or a hero? Or do group stereotypes limit who can play particular roles? To answer these questions, I draw on research in sociology, political science, communication, and anthropology, as well as on cases from social movements, electoral politics, and policy making.
"Characters in Political Storytelling,"
Storytelling, Self, Society: Vol. 11
, Article 5.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/storytelling/vol11/iss1/5