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Policy Narratives in Moscow Research and Study Group

About the Group

People use stories to understand the world around them. Stories – or narratives – also play an important part in the way actors think, communicate, and decide about public policy. Thus, the study of narratives has become an increasingly important field of research in public policy.

Our research group examines policy narratives used in current policy debates in Moscow. We focus on questions such as:

  • What policy narratives are used to justify and contest policy change in Moscow?
  • Through what channels are policy narratives communicated?
  • What is the effect of policy narratives in the policy process?

We will examine these questions for urban policy in Moscow overall, and for three cases of recent policy debates in Moscow: the housing renovation program, public transport reforms, and waste management policies.

To answer our questions, we will use the Narratives Policy Framework (NPF), a systematic empirical framework for the purposes of understanding the role of narratives in the policy process

Subtext and the degree of an author's involvement: what can qualitative analysis of narratives tell us about the actors involved in the process?

As part of our work on categorizing data, we continue to develop the theme of context and subtext reflected in the narratives about the Moscow renovation program. The degree of directness of the address to the audience and the extent to which the author is impersonal or involved in what is happening is not only a distinguishing feature between the narratives of the city administration and concerned citizens, but also an important element for understanding how and why political issues are reflected in the texts.

Categorization and the codebook's development

After the discussion on the research question, we move on and begin to work out those categories and codes that will be used for the final analysis. At this seminar, we discussed how they should look for a qualitative analysis and how informative they can be in this context.

Developing the research question: what is important?

The data we have collected provide a certain breadth of interpretation. To proceed with our research, it is necessary to move from the original research question of what makes narratives to the more specific aspects of the problem.

We published an article in the journal European Policy Analysis. The article is already published online and will later be included in a special issue that includes European narrative policy framework research.

What can we say about the narratives on the renovation program in Moscow?

At this seminar, we discussed the results of the primary analysis of the texts. The stories told by the parties of the debate may follow different strategies and have different plots, but what is their level of narrativeness? We tried to summarize the plots and messages around which these texts could be structured

Подготовка к работе с данными: интерпретация наративвов вокруг программы реновации в Москве

As part of our work at seminars, we continue to prepare a qualitative study of texts containing narratives about the renovation program in Moscow. At the moment, we have developed a preliminary version of the code book for coding texts and by the end of May we plan to complete the work on their analysis.

Meeting the new members, plans for the further research and Marina Pilkina's presentation

The group's work continues and we are taking the first steps in formulating research questions for the study. With the focus on qualitative analysis we can work not only with new data that we plan to collect through interviews, but also with already collected texts that we used earlier for quantitative analysis of narratives.

"Our idea was to apply this framework to the Russian context": interview with prof. Caroline Schlaufer on the "Policy narratives in moscow" RGS's results of the first year and role of the students in this project.

Artem Uldanov and Caroline Schlaufer have discussed several questions related to the work of the RGS and also the results of the first year

Research and study group "Policy Narratives in Moscow" will continue its work in 2021!

According to the results of expertise of the first year of work, our research and study group received has been supported by the experts to continue research for another year. We will continue to work on policy narratives in Moscow, try to highlight the specifics of urban policy narratives, and focus on qualitative methods of data analysis. Regular group seminars will resume in April - we will discuss some aspects of the interpretivist approach, qualitative content analysis and our academic plans for this year.

Stay tuned!

Critical theory, interpretivism and policy narratives' analysis

How systematic is our understanding of policy narratives? After a lot of work on analyzing them in the Moscow policy debate, our colleague Viktor Albert tried to summarize some of the weaknesses of the approaches and methods of narrative analysis.

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