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Narrating Policy: Exploring narrative in policy and policy analysis

Date - Monday, 16th January 2017 (All Day)

This one day symposium brings together researchers and policy practitioners to examine the potential for the intersecting of narrative and policy analysis.

The field of narrative analysis has grown exponentially, with some identifying a narrative turn in social science, and such methodologies and ideas have begun to be taken up in the theorisation and research of policy.

This includes work by those such as Roe, E. (1994, Narrative policy analysis: theory and practice), Jones, H. (2014, Negotiating cohesion, inequality and change), Hunter, S. (2005, Negotiating professional and social voices in research principles and practice. Journal of Social Work Practice), and Beresford, P. (2016, All our welfare: towards participatory social policy).

While narrative policy research and analysis has grown significantly, the state of the field is still somewhat germane. It is a growing but not yet fully mainstream section part of social science.

The event is being sponsored by the Leeds Social Science Institution and Sociology and Social Policy’s Policy Research Cluster.

Call for papers

We invite papers for this one day symposium, which aims to act as an important catalyst to develop new interdisciplinary work and collaboration around the relationship between narrative and policy.

Papers might relate, but not limited to, the broad the following themes and ideas:

  • The ways in which particular legislation or policies are narrated and the consequences this has
  • Narrative in the ‘policy process’, whether they be through interactions of policy practitioners, media or other collective and individual bodies
  • The use of narrative evidence in the construction of policies
  • The political nature of narration
  • Narrative methods and analysis for researching policy

Submission guidelines

150 word abstracts should be sent to James Beresford and Ashley Bullard by Friday, 25 November. We invite both empirical based research papers as well as more theoretical pieces. We also welcome joint and group presentations.

Presentations can either be either ‘short’, ‘medium’ or ‘long’ (10, 15 or 30 minutes) in length. Please indicate the preferred length of the paper along with the submission, as well as the names of all presenting.

There is a plan to turn the submissions for the event into a special issue for a journal.


Associate Professor Hannah Jones (University of Warwick) will be keynote at the event.

Jones’s ethnographically detailing the importance of narrative in the construction of community cohesion policy, Negotiating Cohesion, Inequality and Change: Uncomfortable Positions in Local Government, won the 2014 British Sociological Association Philip Abrams Memorial Prize for best first book in sociology.


Great care will be taken to ensure that the symposium is accessible for all speakers. It will be hosted in an accessible space that can be reached from a lift. If you have any concerns about accessibility please contact narrativeandpolicy@gmail.com and it will be handled confidentially and sensitively.