Narrative, schmarratives – on telling plausible stories

So, getting to the pointy end of this PhD thesis.  Reading too much and writing too little (but the balance is shifting in the right direction). Stumbling on methodology stuff that makes things clearer (or less murky).  These are from

Geels, F. and Schot, J. 2010. The Dynamics of Transitions: A Socio-technical perspective. in Grin, J. Rotmans and Schot (in collaboration with Geels F. and Loorbach, D.). Transitions to Sustainable Development New Directions in the Study of Long Term Transformative Change. New York: Routledge.


To advise people to write “narratives” is really to advise nothing. For narratives can be structured in many, many ways. It takes powerful investigative (and justificatory) methods, as well as a rich array of ever-refined theoretical ideas to figure out what “structures” and “conjunctures” count, and which happenings are transformative as opposed to merely humdrum.
(Skocpol, 1994: 332)

and then

These local narrative explanations should explicate: a) How is the game structured? Who are the most important players? What are their cognitive frames, interests, resources? b) What options and possibilities do actors have? Which actions are chosen and why? How do they react to each other? c) What are the broader effects of actions? d) Are structural changes accepted and institutionalized?
(Geels and Schot 2010)

and finally

To that end, George and Bennett (2004: 210–212) distinguish four progressive steps: 1) Detailed narrative (case history) presented in the form of a chronicle. Such a narrative is specific and makes no explicit use of theory. 2) Use of hypotheses and theoretical mechanisms to explain parts of the narrative. 3) Analytic explanation: a historical narrative of a specific case is converted into an analytical explanation by identifying an overall pattern that is couched in explicit theoretical forms. 4) More general explanation about the phenomena of which the case is a case: the particular case study is used to develop theoretical arguments about a general phenomenon.
(Geels and Schot 2010)

George and Bennett? This.


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