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This book is dedicated to Kathryn Calafato,
student, colleague, accomplice, ono fricno
Narrative, Identity, and the
Map of Cultural PoIIcy
CnccIpona Time in a Globalized World
Colorado State Univcrsity, USA
Univcrsityof Tennessee, USA
:fJ Constance DeVereaux and Martin Griffin 2013
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Narrative, identity, and the map of cultural policy : once upon a time in a globalized
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(Rhetoric)-Political aspects. 3. Cultural policy. 4. Transnationalism. 5. Globalization.
6. Nationalis1n and historiography. 7. Storytelling-Social aspects. 8. Storytelling
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lntroduction: Storytelling, Narrative, and the Map of Cultural Policy
Tales ofTransnationalisrn and Globalization
2 History, Transitions, and Frameworks for Analysis
3 Case Studies: Stories in Conflict
4 Narratives, Nonsense, and the Roots of Understanding
5 Identity, Borders, and Narrative ironies
6 Cultural Citizenship, Narrative, and Transnationalism
Works Cited
"Once upon a time .
Across languages and continents the above phrase is, with some cultural and
rhetorical adjustments, the young child's formal introduction to the seductive
universe of storytelling. One needs to experience that moment early in life, as it
sets something in motion for the future. Later in life, however, the centrality of
narrative becomes diffuse, refracted across the different segments and divisions
of existence that come into being to complicate the simpler unities of childhood.
We begin to reserve the pleasures of storytelling for certain areas of lifi}-leisure
time with family and friends, limited professional contexts such as presentations
or interviews, creative work-and assume that other areas are not implicated in the
subjectivity of narrative. ln recent years, however, researchers and practitioners in
various fields have come to en1brace the idea that narrative styles and stn1ctures
might be present across a much broader range of human activity and play a more
significant role than previously assumed. The narrative turn, as it has been called,
has returned an attentive focus to the interactions of tale, teller, and listener.
()nee upon a ti1ne, therefore, the origins of this study were nothing more than a
loose chain of conversations, discussions, and readings that the authors engaged in
over several years. Then, as tin1e went on, certain lines of thought in particular began
to intersect: the way in which narrative has become an almost indispensable trope
in public discourse of various kinds, but without the full implications of the word
being confronted (for example, plot, framing, plausibility, voice, and other complex
issues); the impression that the terms "transnational" (or "transnationalism") and
"globalization" appeared to be selected by speakers or writers on the basis of an
implied story attached to the chosen term; and that in creative juxtaposition both
lines of thought could open up a wider field of discussion about the ways in which
cultural politics and cultural identity are being deployed and interpreted at our
present moment in history. Our first foray into exploring these ideas was a jointly
authored paper delivered at the 2006 International Conference on Cultural Policy
Research in Vienna, Austria. Under the title "International, Global, Transnational:
Just a Matter of Words?" the paper was later published by the online cultural policy
journal Eurozine, and was translated anp republished in 2007 by the Lithuanian
journal Kulturos barai, which both pleased and greatly surprised its authors.
We found the possibility of a jointly authored book a very stimulating prospect:
namely, that going more thoroughly into the nature ofnarrative might spark the interest
of those who deploy the term far from literaiy studies but may not have thought
about its complexities and complications, and that the implications of narrative for
public policy debates might also pique the interest of scholars of narrative. We also
Narrative, Identity, and the Map J>olfry
entertained the notion that those who concen1 themselves with issues of transnational
movement and its implications, and the problems and possibilities of cultural
citizenship in a world where maintaining national identity seems to be both tightening
and easing (sometimes in the same place), might well appreciate the attempt to open
up discussion on those the1nes from a quite different perspective than the ones usually
offered. The narrative journey we embark upon in this volume, crossing terrain that
might seem familiar in parts and quite alien in others, is the aim to forge a fresh
approach to cultural policy inquiry, on the one hand, and to invite, on the other,
those more familiar with narrative analysis to consider extending the ground of their
theories and methods to the realm of culturnl policy as well.
Openness to the transdisciplinary nature of our journey is an important
requirement. Narrative, Identity, and the Map of Cultural Policy: Once Upon a Time
in a Globalized World is the result of the collaboration between, on the one side, a
political philosophy/public policy scholar, who is also an arts and cultural management
expert, and an American literature professor on the other. The two authors brought ........." ...as
one might expect-not only differing arrays of discipline-based approaches and skills
to this project but also a set of stylistic prejudices and academic eccentricities that, of
course, only start to appear problematic when they clash with those of the other field.
Citing scholars by surname only (social sciences) or by both names (humanities); the
necessity (or not) of writing brief sununations of content covered at the end of each
chapter; the defensive 1naneuvers that a discussion of "causality" can provoke; the
cheerful equanimity (DeVereaux) versus the inexplicable resentment (Griffin) about
the fact that the book is appearing as a social studies publication in any case and thus
renders all the other arguments moot: the authors were never short of an opportunity
for an enjoyable skirmish over parameters and conditions that they had no power to
alter anyway. Writing this book was rather like the folktale of the hapless and timid
peasant who gets lost one night and has to produce a story to escape a threatening
fate in an eerie farmhouse, but cannot utter a syllable. He then flees into the night,
has several weird and scary experiences, and returns to the farmhouse finally able to
recount the story of what has happened to him.
Thus the autobiographical has a role to play, too, in this book. One of the authors
grew up in Ireland and lived extensively in Germany before coming to the United
States and entering academia in the field of American literature. The other has
traveled widely all her life, did stints as a reporter with credits in creative writing,
and in recent years has gone on a number of assignments as a Fulbright Senior
Specialist to various countries across the globe while also engaging in research
closer to home on issues relating to Indigenous Americans. The experiences that
both authors have enjoyed (and, now and again, suffered) compel them to think a lot
about the nature of borders and belonging, the assu1nptions and 1nisunderstandings
of communication, and the stories that people and institutions tell about themselves
and others. Part of the spirit of this book is also that both authors have a positive
and even pleasurable relationship with travel (and narratives of travel), and yet both
are conscious, too, of the relative privilege of their position in regard to profession,
background, and citizenship that enables that relationship. But there's more.
PrefGce ix
The question of pleasure became one topic of discussion at a certain point in the
gestation of Narrative, Identity, and the Map a/Cultural Policy. The issue was that
there is a certain tradition in philosophy, and oflen in social science scholarship,
that looks askance at writing that seems to give preference to stylistic moves or
expresses its findings and ideas in a manner that draws attention to the aesthetic
qualities of the prose (the suspicion is that one might be using an appealing style
too gratuitously to obscure deficiency in analytical content). In contrast, certain
areas of the humanities not only accept, but largely admire, the aesthetic move.
The fabric of our study represents something of an attempt to steer a path through
and past both the shoals of humanities and the rocks of social science publishing.
The authors lay claim to the productive hybridity that they certainly experienced
in the writing, and readers may hopefully perceive in the reading of this text the
merits of both style and analysis. But there's more.
The book focuses on case studies from both contemporary and earlier history,
and on pertinent abstracted questions, and discusses them with respect to narrative
theory, philosophies of identity, and definitions of citizenship, among others.
Narrative. identity. and the Map of" Cultural Policy is also about narrative, the
act of storytelling and its meanings. Our intention was.......--.-or becatne-to produce
a book that did not deny the compelling and emotionally involving dimensions of
the narrative act. We did not want to write "stories which disavow their relationship
to storytelling" (Hills 2005: 148), as one cultural theorist describes the writing of
cultural theory. This volume does not share any fear that narrativization of its
analytic procedures might "contaminate ... its purity and authenticity, rendering it
improper" (ibid: 146). Far from it.
1he result is a treasure-chest of stories about narratives and narrative framing,
an occasionally satirical tale of culture and identity, and the analysis of some new,
age-old legends about transnationalism and globalization. Novels, plays, and films
are advanced to illustrate crucial arguments. 1'he perspective is so1netimes close
to the minutiae of things but, at other times, draws farther back to accommodate
broader historical patterns and parallels. As the critic and postcolonial theorist
Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak puts it: "in order to do distant reading one must be an
excellent close reader" (2012: 443); or, one might infer, that an attention to cultural
detail at, say, the level of the sentence is necessary for-but not a guarantee of-
the successful elaboration of theories about narrative and the transnational.
We hope you enjoy the sentences that follow. And then we can escape from
the farmhouse.
Constance De Vereaux
Colorado State University, Fort Collins
Martin Griffin
University of' Tennessee, Knoxville
June 2013
The authors would like to acknowledge the work of Dr Kristen Swanson of
Northern Arizona University as co-investigator, with Constance Devereaux, on
case study research with the Hopi Tribe of Arizona. Their joint research contributed
to material presented in Chapter 3 of this volume. Additional material in Chapter 3,
relating to the case of the National Endowment for the Arts, is adapted from the
doctoral dissertation by Constance DeVereaux entitled "Artist, Citizen, State:
Toward a Theory of Arts Policy".
The final edits for this book were completed at Arcosanti, the experimental
urban areology in Cordes Junction, Arizona. The authors appreciate the hospitality
extended by its staff and residents during their stay.
The authors would also like to note that part of the discussion in Chapter 4 is
taken from their 2007 article entitled "International, Global, Transnational: Just a
Matter of Words?" in the online journal Eurozine (www.eurozine.com). We would
like to thank the editors for pern1ission to reuse some material.
Storytelling, Narrative, and the Map of
Cultural Policy
The listening to, and telling of stories occupies a significant percentage of human
day-to-day activity. A broad understanding of the terms "listening" and "telling"
might allow for the claim that the majority of human exchange presents itself
in story fonu-the lecture in a classroom, the explanation offered to a traffic
officer, the patient's description of where it hurts and why, the reflexive rendition
of the events of one's day. Human communication often follows the identifiable
characteristics of story: purposiveness, character identification and develop1nent,
unity, and causality among others, so that it appears to be natural to the way in
which we think and speak. In some definitions, such as the one put forward by
philosopher Mary Devereaux, narrative is "little more than a fi:tncy word for story"
(2004: 3). In others, narrative points to the basic structure below the storytelling
performance, which serves different acts of oral and written expression, whereas
storytelling implies the vital performance in the moment. This 1nore elaborated
understanding includes, therefore, the techniques and structural tools used by
creators of narrative to produce particular effects to be experienced by audiences.
Beyond its role in creative expression and representation, narrative appears to
be an essential component of human thought, communication, and interaction. Its
use, therefore, as an analytical frainework for understanding a wide spectrum of
human activities should not surprise. As creatures of the word, humans use stories
to convey both surface gesture and profound effect. 'Narratives are a product of
culture, though it is easy to see the opposite also as true-that narratives of various
kinds determine cultures. Stories may have a significant and lasting influence
on are building-blocks of identity, our way of understanding who we
are and what we are in relation to the rest of existence. The connection between
narrative and identity is thus an important focus of the human story. The question
of who we are as individuals and as members of groups is----no of the
most significant questions we pose and attetnpt to answer. In the case of cultural
policy, issues of identity (in the multiplicity of ways in which the term can be
understood) arise as areas of policy concern. Thus, the theme of identity also
figures importantly in the connection between narrative and cultural policy.
Though narrative can be understood, very simply, as "story," it implies, as
noted above, a particular structure as a means for conveying what is told. Narrative
is, typically, a coherent, sequenced account of things and events that portrays a
unity (the parts of the story, for example, make up a whole) through causally
linked events. [t is the particular structure of narrative-its unity and causality
2 Narrative, and the Map o_f C'ultural .Policy
among other features-and how that structure fits with pa1iicular purposes within
the human sphere that is of interest in this volume. rfhose purposes include the way
in which stories are formulated and received in a discourse involving the shifting
relationship between national boundaries and identities, on the one side, and
processes that open up such boundaries and reconfigure--..so1netimes in problen1atic
identities, on the other. Once Upon a Time in a Globalized World
looks at the i1nplications of the words "globalization" and "transnationalism"
through a framework of narrative and how they figure into contemporary human
experience against the background of cultural policies and policy-making. These
two concepts are increasingly important in the area of cultural policy which, even
in its most local contexts, operates within a world shaped by the dynamics of
global events and relationships. Globalization and transnationalism are curious
concepts fOr cultural policy analysis because they have often been positioned
within the syste1n of arts and culture as competing narratives where different
stories unfold with different anticipated outco1nes. In broad strokes, globalization
can be seen as a homogenizing force grounded in econo1nic activity that overrides
concerns to do with cultural values, traditions, heritage, and artistic integrity. In
an equally broad view, transnationa!is1n is often seen, in the context of cultural
policy, as globalization's kinder, gentler cousin. It embraces difference rather than
pouring us all into the blender, and recognizes the role and development of arts,
culture, and heritage alongside economic concerns. Whereas globalization n1ay
seem to erase boundaries, transnationalisn1, by its construction, seems to preserve
the concept of nation"-with so1ne critical may go a long way
towards explaining some of the preference for that term. Cultural policy scholar
David Throsby acknowledges the stereotypical view of globalization presented
above, while noting that the reality may be different:
The cultural impacts of globalisation have been looked upon with growing
concern in many quarters. For example, fears have been widely expressed,
especially in the developing world, that local fonns of cultural expression
and the assertion of distinctive national or regional cultural identities will be
overwhelmed by the inexorable expansion of the global cultural marketplace.
lt is true that the adoption of new com1nunications technologies means that
cultural messages and symbols are being transmitted in volumes and at speeds
that have never been witnessed betOre . Nevertheless, the evidence on the
cultural in1pact of globalisation is mixed, particularly because these are dynamic
processes that are constantly evolving. lfin1pact is 1neasured by the observable
spread of universally recognised cultural syn1bols as described above, certainly
so1ne homogenisation has occurred. But. .. there is little indication that cultural
differentiation within or between countries is dying out. (Throsby 2010: 4)
Clearly, broad summations do not tell the whole story about either
transnationalis1n or globalization. The terms share the sa1ne basic lexical
definition: actions, processes, or concepts that either ignore or extend across
Introduction 3
national boundaries. They of\en differ greatly, however, in their many shades of
1neaning and usage. For our purposes, they offer what can be considered differing
narrative accounts. Surely this difference in narrative legitimacy or illegitimacy
has a bearing on cultural policy as a whole? Important questions thus e1nerge. What
effects do these differing narratives have on real-world policy? Do the narratives
indeed differ significantly and empirically with measurably different effects?
Or, are the differences in terminology of only sy1nbolic rather than practical
significance? It may be (and this is one point to be explored here) that policies
in favor oftransnationalism look very like policies in favor of globalization even
though the one or the other may be more likely to win support among particular
legislators, citizens, and other stakeholders who J.vor it. Thus, we inay also ask
how the power of narrative might emerge in the field of cultural policy in ways that
influence policy processes and outcomes. What stories do transnationalism and
globalization offer for practitioners in the field, both as policy actors and as cultural
vvorkers in organizations? An overriding concern is with na1Tative structure itself
and how an understanding of the workings of narrative can serve policy research
and inquiry, especially where issues of transnationalisn1 and globalization arise.
We adopt a definition of cultural policy very similar to the one offered in the
front matter of the International Journal of Cultural Policy, which sees it as "the
explicit or implicit promotion or prohibition of cultural practices and values." Our
focus encompasses the actions and inactions of governments and intergovernmental
organizations regarding cultural practices as well as the influence wielded in this
area by non-governmental actors-for example, corporations, private institutions,
charitable agencies, and individuals working outside the strict limits of govern1nent.
An overriding justification is that a narrative framework offers son1ething
unique in responding to the above issues relating to cultural policy. We contend that,
viewed through the lens of narrative, particular patterns, relationships, predictable
trends, notable characters (both good and bad), and surprising outcomes emerge
in inquiries relating to the the1nes of transnationalis1n and globalization, and in
relation to cultural policy, that might not otherwise be evident through a different
kind of analysis.
Jn Chapter l, "Tales ofTransnationalism and Globalization," we take up the
central problem of the meaning of the terms "transnational" and "globalization"
against the history of the formation of national identities. We suggest lhat the terms
are of\en in a kind of tug of war with each other because they partly express the
same phenon1enon but fro1n different ideological perspectives-in other words,
the narratives triggered by each word are rather di'fTerent and are often used in
ways that attempt to distance the1nselves fro1n one another. In nlany of its uses,
transnationalis1n is the inspiring antidote to globalization, despite the fact that their
meanings are often very close. We note theAn1erican origins of the tenn, particularly
in Randolph Bourne's challenging 1916 essay "Trans-National America," and
suggest that one of the ironies of regarding the United States as the driver of
hegemonic globalization lies in the increasingly transnational demographics of
America itself We analyze the feature fihn Mississip]Ji Masala as an exemplary
4 Narrative, Identity, and the lvfap <?f Cultural Policy
story oftransnationalis1n and globalization that weaves its thread fro1n lJganda to
the southern United States. The film is one of a number of fictional narratives that
we consider in the course of this volume. Because narrative structures are present
in both fictional and nonfictional accounts (the structures themselves are not
differentiated along these lines) we find it useful to draw periodically on fictional
accounts to illustrate important points. In the case of real-world events, we look at
both explicit and implicit narratives such as, in the latter case, the narrative behind
the transnational i1npetus of the European Union. The chapter is a starting-point
for understanding how globalization and transnationalisn1 constitute differing
narrative fra1nes, the recognition of which can serve policy research and analysis.
In this chapter, we introduce the first iteration of our framework for narrative in
cultural policy analysis that can be applied to a wide variety of cultural policy
In its barest form, narrative stntcture consists of plot, character, setting, point
of view/voice, scene, and description. What we propose is that these ele1nents (and
others), both individually and as a whole, are devices through which cultural policy
processes and outcomes can be read. While the concepts of cultural narratives and
policy narratives are not new, we contend that their integration for cultural policy
analysis contributes to the discourse of cultural policy, and of policy in general,
by raising new questions and creating new frameworks for interpretation and
understanding. ln plainer terms, cultural policies are narratives. For this reason we
contend that they are open to the same methods to be used in any narrative analysis.
We argue that there is justification for the role of narrative in policy analysis
because policy is not delivered or received in a vacuum but rather within a context
of human values, meanings, and interests that are someti1nes ambiguous, often
divergent. In Chapter 2, "History, Transitions, and Frameworks for Analysis," we
note that a story can be normalized and appear logical and coherent to a particular
audience even if that story is contradicted by available evidence. Narrative is
increasingly co1nprehended as a central feature of human nature and human activity.
Nevertheless, its operations and influences outside of intentional storytelling oflen
pass largely unseen in arenas of human behavior, such as cultural policy. The nature
of narrative is that aesthetic and emotional domains are also in play.
In the recent past, "narrative" has beco1ne a popular and perhaps overused
concept. Its ubiquity as a term in a wide variety of applications can be traced,
historically, to the "narrative turn" in analysis that e1nerged from the work of
French strncturalists, including Ferdinand de Saussure (1916) and Roland Barthes
(1957), Russian formalists such as Vladimir Propp ( 1928), and American narrative
theorists such as Wayne Booth (1961) and Robert Scholes (1974), as well as
cognitive scientists such as George Lakoff and Mark Johnson ( 1981 ). A significant
develop1nent among these thinkers was the idea that narrative was not limited to
traditional literary fonns, but could include such things as ordinary conversation, oral
folklore, visual and performing arts, a set of instructions, political speech, and many
other forms. This wide understanding of narrative invited application of narrative
theories to disciplines such as humanities, law, philosophy, anthropology, film and
Introduction 5
media, history, psychology, sociology, management, and policy. One explanation
fOr this 1nultiplication in uses-its overuse, in fact, according to narrative scholar
Peter Brooks-is that it "responds to a recognition that narrative is one of the
principal ways we organize our experience of the world-a part of our cognitive
tool kit that was long neglected by psychologists and philosophers" (Brooks quoted
in Safirc 2004). ln this chapter, we also revisit our framework in more depth and
oftCr three angles or axes of analysis for grasping the nature of a narrative: its formal
organization; the relationship of that narrative content to the discourse framework
in which it is (ol\en invisibly) embedded; and the difference between the "affective"
and the "ethical" pressure that a narrative can exert on its listeners.
In Chapter 3, ''Case Studies: Stories in Conflict," we lay out four case studies in
which narrative and narrative framing play a significant role, often in the form of
two conflicting frames that (partly or completely) invalidate each other's content.
Covering a period from 1945 until the present and sites from occupied Berlin to
the Hopi lands in Arizona, our four examples show that varying concepts of culture
and how one operates in a cultural context are not always easy to com1nunicate
across barriers of culture itself. issues of transnationalism, globalization, or both
are complicating narratives that are sometimes overt and so1netimes hidden within
other policy concerns. We do not present deliberate paradoxes, but underline that
in our four stories the reader will find examples of communication not taking place
(or a lot of miscommunication) precisely because the parties are following different
narrative threads in terms of how they value culture and how they co1nmunicate
that va)ue. Positioned as narratives of cultural conflict, two of the case examples
have globalization as the evident backdrop that drives decisions by policy actors.
In post-World War 11 Berlin, transnational issues are also in play as world powers
jockey for position in the divided city. In the second example, efforts to create a
federal agency for the arts in the United States exhibit the earnest aims of that
nation to extend its global stature by strengthening its perceived weakest area of
achievement: the arts. Two remaining examples are cases in which conflict-; across
cultures produce winners and losers within a transnational context. The:Y include
the destruction of a UNESCO World Heritage site by the Taliban and efforts by
the Hopi of Arizona to increase cultural tourism while at the same time preserving
the integrity of their cultural heritage through the traditional and institutionalized
keeping of secrets.
Chapter 3 also offers what might be considered as a bonus example; a fictional
and fanciflil account of cultural protectionism. The protected product in this case
is an indigenous wine, but the exatnple is no different at its base than the kind
of cultural protectionism practiced in a nation-state seeking to promote its own
writers, film-1nakers, and composers in Part by excluding, or limiting, the number
of non-citizen or non-native artists whose work can be subsidized, produced, or
disseminated. The events, as narrative, have a readable, coherent plot in which
causal sequences (scenes) link together to explain who did what and why. There is
a narrative frame, and good guys and bad guys (though how and where we assign
virtue and malice depends on who is telling the story).
Narrative, Identity, and the Map qf Cultural Policy
Our fictional example presents an unlikely hero: the small but plucky Duchy of
Grand Fenwick, setting of a series of satirical novels by Leonard Wibberly, which
pits this s111all nation-state against superpowers in absurd situations from which
it emerges as the winner. Repurposed for our present use, the Duchy has suffered
the cultural incursions of a 1nore powerful hegemon and inakes a stand against
the interloper nation-state. The narrative is the perfect foil for highlighting (with
apologies to the original author) some of the issues introduced here, of a inore
serious nature.
Imagine for a n1omcnt Grand Fen\vick in a setting that is the globalized world.
Globalization is the creeping menace put in n1otion by the hegemonic state (the
film version might show a map of nations overtaken by a darkening shadow edging
ever closer to the Duchy, in the style of Frank Capra's World War lI propaganda
film Why We Fight). The point of view, or narrative frame, in this telling is that of
Grand Fenwick, the nation-state seeking to protect its cultural heritage. Let us open
with a scene in which a group of native-born artists appeal to their governn1ent
for protection against wealthy corporations-as hegemonic as the nation that
spawned them. Their wealth effectively creates a tnonopoly in which native
artists and corporations cannot con1pete. A skilled narrator \vould also explore
the subplots of individual artists who suffer artistically and economically; they try
to inake a go of it, nonetheless, against all odds. Their stories build to a climax
in which action must, at last, be taken. A champion emerges: the one artist who
is prepared to risk all in order to rid Grand Fenwick of the hegemonic presence.
While fancit\JI, the ease is not so far-fotched. We therefore close Chapter 3
with Wibber!y's o\vn account (rather than the iinaginative one we pose above)
to solidify the ways in which a narrative fran1ework approach makes sense for
exploring cultural policy issues. lt serves further to emphasize an i1nportant point:
the manner in which a narrative operates doesn't change on the basis of whether
it is fiction or non-fiction. lt is not as sin1ple as that. fn fact, the power of narrative
as an ordering principle for hu1nan understanding is such that 1nany audiences
n1ay fail to difierentiate between the fictive and real, as 1nany of our examples
illustrate. The value of tbe narrative fra1nework we offer as a tool for cultural
policy inquiry and analysis is that it likewise does not differentiate between fiction
and non-fiction since both can have equal force in fostering beliefs and values,
motivating individuals to action, and providing the groundwork for understanding.
Our aim is to investigate the possibilities for a fran1ework that can be applied in all
narrative situations, not just a limited and circumscribed few. It is because cultural
policy narratives (fiction and non-fiction) enter into public understanding with
identifiable plot lines, a roster of recognizable characters motivated by realistic
desires, polarizing conflicts, and discernible goals, that they become amenable
to na1Tative analysis. Jn our representation of Grand Fenwick, individuals are
represented as narrative types. We contend, in fact, that in real cultural policy
settings, people often do respond to issues of dramatic importance along a1niliar
narrative lines, though they inay not be consciously aware of doing so. Where
fran1es collide (globalization versus transnationalisn1, for example) individuals
may lack the episte111ological distance required to question their current fran1e
or to reflect objectively on another. This may well be the condition under which
policy controversies arise.
As an organizing principle for our experiences, therefore, narrative necessarily
has i1nplications for ethical, epistemological, and political dimensions of our lives,
and, Or these reasons, has significant value in the policy sphere for understanding
the latter's processes and outcomes. The application of narrative analysis in
the area of cultural policy, however, has been limited, despite a more popular
application to policy in general through the work of scholars like Edelman (1964,
1971, 1988), Stone ( 1989, 2002), Maj one (1989); Fischer and Forrester (1993),
and more recently Jones and McBeth (2010). Early work in this area looked
at the symbolic use of language, sometimes hinting at, and sometin1es directly
identifying, elements of narrative as inherent within policy processes. f h seeming
obviousness of the statement that "policy is made oflanguage" (Majone 1989: !),
is not so obvious when one considers that our understanding of language as a tool
for social construction is rather recent. While not all narratives need be written
or spoken in language, at minimum we require language to translate them into
Chapter 4, "Narratives, Nousense, and the Roots of Understanding," takes on
these issues by offering a broad overview of the myriad influences on narrative
as a tool for analysis. Our aim is to inform readers about the many historical and
intellectual antecedents we draw on for the narrative framework offered in this
volume. Readers approaching our work from the vantage-point of a single discipline
may find our treatment of so1ne of these too cursory. Our response is that our aim is
to understand narrative in its broadest definition, which necessarily excludes so1ne
of the depth possible when adopting narrower tactics. Jn addition, we insist upon
an interdisciplinary perspective in considering how a narrative approach might
proceed. We contend that knowledge in this wider vein is appropriate to such a
task. We further point to language and culture as important elements of narrative;
their co1nplex natures are not easily limited to one disciplinary perSpective.
Language itself is a symbolic code-a means to represent the world around us,
with its own structures and conventions for ordering experience in understandable,
though necessarily abstracted, ways. Its structures are likewise akin to those of
narrative, which is also a way of representing our world and understanding it.
Thus, the structures of narrative have a significant impact on both reason and
emotion, as well as in such areas as motivation, deliberation, and determination
regarding how we go about our human activities. The potency of these structures
in the reahn of cultural policy has real cosequences in the resulting ways in which
it positions individuals, communities, and the state relating to the exercise and
practices of arts and culture.
In this chapter, we take the reader on a journey that includes many early
influences: Greek, Roman, and eighteenth-century Western thinkers. Plato
dismissed poetics as something that defied explanation and was immune to
analysis. In contrast, Aristotle approached poetics as something that could be
Narrative, Identity, and the Map q{CuLtural Policy
empirically and rationally understood. In the history of its use as an analytical tool
or framework for understanding, both vie\vs have emerged: the notion of narrative
as a set of structures operating on an aesthetic and e1notional level to influence
thought and behavior, and narrative as a device for empirical analysis in line with
other positivistic methods.
Fro1n the cultural policy analyst's point of view, knowing the narrative that a
particular policy-maker or set of policies embraces is instructive for understanding
how decisions might have come about, the motivations .for actions, the causal
assumptions drawn, and the argu1nents put forward, as well as a variety of other
actions or variables. In fact, if the narrative framework indeed operates as we
suggest, it should be possible to provide a rich and broad description of policy
processes and actors through this device. In other words, we should be able to read
and then interpret the story told in a way that appreciates not only the importance
of its aesthetic and e1notional din1ensions, but its logical, causal elements as well.
"A reader not only entertains propositions but reacts to them" (Lamarque 2007:
16)--a point we discuss in more depth in later chapters.
Within the narrative framework, emotions and reason are engaged and we have
real feelings-and formulate conclusions-- about the things we hear or read about,
even to the extent of being motivated to action. The narratives we experience are not
only those we read, but also those we encounter (or "write") within our everyday
lives. In other words, given a set of events, we order them in our tninds and give them
coherence by applying a narrative stiucture. In examining, in this chapter, the view
that it is an essential feature of human develop1nent we introduce the speculation
that narrative may, in fact, have survival benefits for humans. We thus pose the
urgent question "Are these berries edible?" as an exa1nple of early con1n1unicative
exploration and exchange. We suggest that narrative creates a different level of
knowledge from the yes/no categories of factual record that the question may imply.
With this extra dimension of narrative epistemology (knowledge-plus, as it were) the
evolutionary advantage of humankind could be raised a notch.
A particularly illu1ninating narrative element, given its relationship to
structures of human thought, is causality; examining the causal links of a policy
narrative aids the analyst in tracing how inputs relate to outputs (or are supposed
to) and how policy actors understand these relationships. That human beings
draw those lines incorrectly (sometimes spectacularly so) or mistake probability,
correlation, or mere coincidence for causality is an issue of i1nportance because
narrative constructions provide a powerful fra1ne for decision and action, as well
as for understanding the strong association between narrative construction and
beliefs about those decisions and actions. Believing that one thing caused another
often de1nands a particular kind of action, or will bring about particular kinds
of attitudes, especially since it can be used as a means for assigning blame. In
constructing a narrative, we must perforce draw causal lines.
"Basic cognitive categories, such as causality, are encoded by language, even
in the meanings of isolated words" (Goikoetxea, Pascual, and Acha 2008: 760),
and in constructing a plot, we use reasoning "similar to that used to develop a
hypothesis" (Polkinghome 1988: 19). A narrative scheme organizes events into a
coherent whole, particularly by positing characters as agents with goals, motives,
beliefs, and desires that move them toward choices and actions which can then
be read as causal factors. It is important to note, however, that while it is true that
these things exert a motivating force upon us, clai1ns regarding causal linkages are
much harder to establish in real life than in narrative renderings. An individual's
belief that he and his people are cruelly oppressed can, indeed, lead to a popular
uprising. Another individual's success as an artist may be read as a consequence
of her particular upbringing. Whether these are causes, justifications, errors, or
sitnply contributing factors, however, is less than clear.
Every causal relationship thus tells a story. Where there is none (in the case, for
example, that a factor did not truly bring about the particular outcome) the story
could be considered a kind of fiction. Yet, as noted above, even fictional narrative
has the power to sway, as suggested in many examples in this volume. The role
of causal assumptions in epistemological construction thus merits investigation
within a framework for policy analysis.
Narrative also assists in enhancing and correcting dynainics of recognition
and misrecognition, in that errors of context can be avoided by understanding the
framework within which particular content takes place. In addition, we note that
there is a deeply rooted belief in the transformative capacity of stories and thus
a certain amount of guardedness in audiences: people with storytelling or similar
rhetorical skills can sometimes be viewed as using a suspect tool to get others on
their side.
In this chapter we also look at historical studies of basic narratives such as the
work of Vladimir Propp and the Aarne-Thompson-Uther international folktale
index as they might apply to the reading of policy narratives in the form of real-
world events. We discuss the role of timing and sequencing in natTatives using
the structure of jokes as an accessible exan1ple. 'fhe ways in which timing and
sequencing operate for apprehending key points of a narrative can illuminate
how these same elements influence public understanding of issues and events in
cultural policy spheres.
Again, narrative has the great advantage of appealing to both experience and
an inner sense of plot In contrast to setting out an array ofunmediated information
items, a story- subtly deployed-will have all the qualities that a TV drama or
work of literature can show: an invitation to con1e on a journey; a sense of meaning
unfolding in a way that affirms one's own humanity (one's knowledge of what it
means to be hu1nan); the pro1nise of coherence. To put it another way, narrative
does not require a person to learn a different language or to be educated in new
fields. Instead there is something about narrative that appears to offer the seductive
access to meaning that it once offered when we were small children hearing stories
for the first time.
In our fifth chapter, "Identity, Borders, and Narrative Ironies," we ask "Whose
story is it?" The questions of point of view and voice are discussed in terms of
both fictional and documentary narratives. We argue that the audience reception
10 Narrative, Identity, and the Map of Cultural Policy
of policy narratives occurs along the subjective/associative axis rather than solely
along the rational/sequential axis, and that ditnensions of collective memory and
identity play a major role in detern1ining how ce1iain stories are embraced or
rejected. We present the concept of identity as both a structure of narrative and
a technique used by authors to shape, or frame, narratives to communicate with
audiences. One dimension of authorial control of frame may be the intentional
manipulation of audiences. In terms of policy this might entail shaping a policy
narrative to direct favorable responses toward one party or group while setting
the audience against those of another. While we don't contest that this, indeed,
so1netimes occurs within cultural policy syste1ns, we argue that control of frame
and the power that the author or narrator exerts should be examined first from
the perspective of technique in order to appreciate how it operates as a narrative
device. Questions of political, sociological, economic, or other varieties of power
and control are less significant in our initial approach. Thus, the question of
identity is explored, first, from a writer's point of view with questions that would
seem fitting within that realm. We then apply the concept of identity to several
examples that introduce the cotnplications that transnationalism and globalization
might impose for individuals and groups aiming to tell their stories (or asseti their
identities) within these contexts.
In our final chapter, "Cultural Citizenship, Narrative, and Transnationalism,"
\Ve examine how the notion of citizenship and the question of cultural identity
interact with each other. We observe that narratives of culture can be biased toward
seeing these areas of life as something open, generous, and exchange-oriented to
the exclusion of their narrower, more egoistic or procedural aspects. In the area
of visa applications, for exan1ple, nation-states nlay give the in1pression that they
are not always open to cultural exchange or visiting artists. Nevertheless, cultural
citizenship has become more prominent as a legiti1nate component of identity that
does not necessarily invalidate others. We write that"[ c ]ultural citizenship arises as
a policy concern in any case where opportunities for asserting identity, political, or
economic rights are threatened or con1pro1nised on the basis of cultural differences
however they are understood."
In the final chapter, we also note that historical formations such as the Austro-
Hungarian Etnpire managed an essentially culture-inflected, multi-ethnic society
that had, for example, a space for Jews that was not geographically specific-
once the ghettos had been dismantled-but existed instead in several places up
and down the social classes and across Central and Eastern Europe. We look at
as the classic example of a multi-ethnic and multilingual nation-state
that did not really want to be one. We discuss the problems of Islam in the West,
in terms of the "Other," and also the ways in which the US government has tried
to in cultural diplo1nacy with Muslims across the world since the attacks
of 9/11. Taking a recent initiative of the Finnish govern1nent as our example, we
conclude Once Upon a TIme in a Globalized World with a discussion of attempts
to fashion an ethical frame for cultural policy and the narratives of choice and
mutual responsibility one can infer from such an experiment.
Introduction 11
Among other topics, we emphasize in this volume the ways in which narrative
underlies cultural and other policy decisions and can support an often powerful
ideological dynamic that directs and interprets motives, formulations, and
intentions. The policy actors inhabiting the narrative landscape may not even be
aware of the influence their narrative has on them as they respond to its tropes and
motifs. In other words, the frame, composed of comprehensible and recognizable
ele1nents, becomes a naturalized scheme in which a policy story plays out.
Deviation from the frame may be impossible or unlikely to the extent that it is
normalized, because the frame controls what is possible as it moves towards its
narrative denouement.
Martin Rein and Donald Schan (1993) see policy as a discursive process,
in fact, and suggest that policy controversies are particularly stubborn because
they pose an epistemological predicament. "What can possibly be the basis for
resolving conflicts of frames," they ask, "when the frames themselves determine
what counts as evidence and how evidence is interpreted?" (ibid.: 145). Framing,
in their view, is:
.. a way of selecting, organizing, interpreting, and making sense of a complex
reality to provide guideposts tOr knowing, analyzing, persuading, and acting.
A frame is a perspective from which an amorphous, problematic
situation can be made sense of and acted otL (Rein and Schon 1993: 146)
The problem posed by framing, Rein and Schiin observe, is that different
individuals and groups will have different frames leading to different world-
views and therefore multiple social realities. In essence, they tell and listen to
different stories which are then taken to be the true accounts of phenomena such
as policy issues. In the case of transnationalism and globalization as competing
narrative frames, the task is to determine whether they entail significantly
different frames of knowledge that produce significantly different outcomes.
A further issue is whose frame will succeed in any given policy contest.
Once again, the example of the Duchy of Grand Fenwick is instructive. As told
above, it is a story of globalization and a hegemonic state. Framed another way,
it might be a story about artists and cultural enterprises that lack the skills (both
entrepreneurial and creative) to compete in a global market. A third might be a story
of nationalism masquerading as artistic protectionism-in other words, an effort to
keep the "Other" at bay through economic and political disenfranchisement. Each
framing of the tale will likely produce a different set of policy arguments. Even if
the outcome in each case-a protectionist policy-is the same, it is important from
the standpoint of analysis to know what alternatives exist and which narrative
predominates in any given case.
In the chapters that follow, we expand upon these issues in order to lay the
groundwork for further exploration of the ways in which narrative, as a fran1ework
of structures and techniques, can be used for illuminating cultural policy issues,
processes, and outcomes. Rather than a strict methodology-an ABC of application
12 1Varrative, Identity, and the Map of' Cultural Policy
or practice-we define a set of parameters that approaches narrative as an essential
component of hun1an beings' lived lives and understanding. In other words, we
seek an investigation of cultural policy as narrative with a view to the full extent
of narrative's operations in the real world. Itself a narrative, Once Upon a Time
in a Giobalized World is offered as both a journey and a quest: one that we hope
is both informative and a pleasure in itself, but one which also aims toward a
definite g o l ~ t o open up the realm of cultural policy inquiry with tools that might
heretofore have been ignored.
Chapter 1
Tales of Transnationalism and Globalization
The story of the nation-state and its identity is an eighteenth-century phenomenon
at its origins. l'he rise of nationalist thinking (often involving ethnic, racial, or even
religious identities that sought institutional and territorial expression) became
entwined with the problems of global interrelations and the interpenetration of
cultures. Ambitious European powers spread across the world, buttressed by
assu1nptions of economic, 1nilitary, and often racial superiority in the form of
tales they told themselves and their new subjects again and again by way of
governance, culture, and education. Having grown over the preceding centuries,
these empires peaked at the end of the nineteenth century only to decline rapidly
as the counter-narrative of the anti-colonial struggle took hold in Africa and Asia,
with particular intensity in the aftermath of World War IL Most obviously, the rise
in nationalist feeling among the subject peoples during the nineteenth century was
accompanied in n1any cases, \Vhether in Europe or South America or later in Asia
and Africa, by a narrative of cultural and otlen linguistic specificity. Imperialism,
colonialism, and re1note political authority in general were indicted not only
for iinposing foreign political control and enabling economic exploitation, but
also for suppressing indigenous languages and cultures to the benefit of both
European settler groups and the metropolitan center, whether London, Madrid,
or The Hague.
It was not always so sin1ple or clear-cut. Nationalist movements could be
anti-imperialist in a political sense but colonial in their sociological make-up. In some
parts of the world, the forces that pushed national independence often comprised,
and were led by, settler cotnmunities who spoke the same language as the -imperial
power; Latin An1erican nationalism and its relationship to Spain and Portugal is
an obvious case in point A more extreme exan1ple was the Philippines, whose
nationalist revolution was pressed by Spanish speakers such as Jose Rizal, who
wrote in a language used by only a tiny percentage of the population. Conversely,
in most cases, even broadly ceding a cultural authority to the mother country did
not hinder a nationalist political program from getting under way, and an assertive
national revolution did not mean the automatic sundering of cultural links with the
former colonial power. Although most readers might be inclined, in that context, to
think immediately of countries that challenged and expelled colonial powers in the
twentieth century, such as India, Kenya, or Vietnam, the United States itself offers
an interesting example of this phenomenon. The literature of the early republic up
to the mid-nineteenth century suggests a combination of political assertiveness and
cultural inferiority vis-il-vis Great:Britain. Indeed, to complicate things, this American
perspective was amplified, in turn, by a mixture of fascination and annoyance that
Narrative, Identity, and the Map of Cultural Policy
developed among the English themselves. Their difficulty in knowing exactly how
to read American culture-and not necessarily liking what they encountered, in
any case-was revealed vvith great clarity by Charles Dickens, to take one famous
exa1nple, in his 1842 travel narrative American Notes/Or General Circulation. This
is an alternately compelling, amusing, and somewhat paranoid account of his long
reading tour of the United States a couple of years earlier.
Dickens was curious about An1erica, as many other Europeans were, but as
an English writer he went to America with many more potential vulnerabilities
than did his adventurous predecessor by a fow years, Alexis de Tocqueville. As a
Frenchman, Tocqueville's interest was more protected from unpleasant surprises
at the level of the actual spoken language. For him, it was a foreign tongue,
which required some effmi to adjust to. For Charles Dickens, however, one of
his great confusions was caused by American English: he was baffied by the fact
that Americans seemed to be doing things, and not good things, to the English
language. Dickens discovered, for example, that the word "fix" had become a kind
of elastic ever-present verb for Americans (163-4), with the general meaning of
"to arrange things" and covering an array of activities from resolving a sudden
logistical problem to cooking breakfast. He was horrified by this development. For
Dickens, the casual treatment of the language aligned with Americans' apparent
social insensitivities and their coarse n1ishandling of the protocols of courtesy
and respect for status that Dickens believed to be natural. To say that Charles
Dickens suffers repeated culture shock in American Notes would be to describe
his situation precisely. lt is also noteworthy that British and European chroniclers'
readings of America, were cast within a narrative frame that could not easily
translate American culture into Old World perceptions.
The relationship between any given nation, or nation-state to be more
exact, whether already existing or coming into being, and a particular culture
or set of cultures within its area of authority, is a complex one. [t is not only a
problem familiar to larger and more diverse nation-states both before and after
the postcolonial era. Even very small and politically insignificant territories can
be home to intractable and bitter conflicts over culture and language that can, at
times, drag much larger countries into their gravitational pull. Even some fairly
recognizable cases can open up a set of confusing questions. To what degree, for
exan1ple, are the cultures of Indigenous An1ericans part of the broader cultural
narrative of the United States, and can they be treated as such within the structure
of US cultural diplomacy? To what degree do the sarne issues and questions apply
to Brazil and its many Indian cultures and languages? To Canada and its First
Nations? To Finland and its Sarni people" Or how does one regard the status of
Hungarian language and culture in Ro1nania, when the tlungarian part of Romania
was given to that country less than a century ago as a consequence of World War
I? ls Irish-American culture a variant of Irish culture? And what if it bears little
relationship to Ireland today---does the nation-state of Ireland get to say what Irish
culture is and is not?
Tales o_[Transnationalism and Globalization 15
The above questions suggest the multiplicity of narratives that might arise
from a set of cultural realities, each presenting a different set of potential policy
responses. The question is more than just a choice of perspective or of recognizing
the complex power plays of competing actors' agendas as underlying elements
for policy analysis. We argue, instead, that narrative is an integral and inherent
component of the cultural policy environment, which any reading of cultural
policy processes and outcomes must recognize. In this chapter, we examine the
complexities of transnationalism and globalization as two possible narrative
landscapes in which cultural policies unfold. The role that narrative plays both
as a framework for the functioning of policy and as a means for understanding
its functions analytically is important for questions of both identity and history.
What questions can analysis ans\ver using a narrative framework that unveils the
narrative structures embedded in the values and beliefa with which we understand
cultural variables. in given historical, social, or political events (both in single
occurrences or as ongoing tales)? What is revealed as we shift perspectives
from audience to narrative to the characters that a particular policy narrative is
about? We might ask, for example, what happens when specific and identifiable
cultures are distinct parts of several nation-states, as is the case with the Kurds,
another legacy of post-World War I arrangements at Versailles. The Kurds are
a nation in the traditional understanding of the term if there ever was one, but
they have no national territory to call their own. Given that there is a modern
history of violent Kurdish nationalism, directed against Turkey in particular,
can references to a "Kurdish nation" be legitimately dismissed as a subversive
(and also fictional) concept that endangers its own national territorial coherence?
Or, to take another case, is the con1plex and-to Westerners, at l e s t ~ ..........-0ften
incomprehensible landscape of ethnicities, languages, and cultural identities in
Asia, for example in lndonesia or the Philippines, graspable at all under normal
rubrics of "national" or "regional" cultures? Especially when, on top of all those
distinctions, important differences of economic and social class represent an even
more problematic overlay. How might teasing out the differences in narrative
structure further policy understanding, and thus action? As far as the Philippines
are concerned, the historian and theorist of nationalism Benedict Anderson (1998)
describes the very curious example of a nationalist tradition that is expressed
in a language, Spanish, which most Filipinos no longer speak and which fewer
than five per cent spoke even at the moment of the national uprising in 1898.
As Anderson notes, today "no one other than a few scholars understands the
language in which the revolutionary heroes com1nunicated among themselves and
with the outside world," constituting a "virtual loboto1ny" on Filipino national
memory ( 1998: 227). And to take one 'final and well-known example, in what
\;t,tay, and in which national cultural framework, should Romani experience be
legitimately rendered, given that ( l) people identified as being of this ethnicity are
found in communities scattered throughout a dozen countries, mainly in Europe
and the Near East, and (2) countries with a large Romani population, such as
Romania, have no great interest in drawing attention to that fact, as the mainstream
16 Narrative, Identity, and the 1\1ap o.f Cultural Policy
culture sees no value in that segment of its national demographic? This population,
in particular, is haunted by narrative renderings of its culture in which they appear
as romantic, dangerous, 1nysterious, den1onic, pestilent, and anything but a
people si1nply trying to maintain the integrity of their cultural identity within the
perpetually hostile panorama of transnational Europe.
From Decolonization to Globalization
ln one of the earliest contemporary atte1npts to portray the nature of conflicting
narratives of identity in a world of global tnovements and relationships, the
1991 film Mississippi Masa/a follows the story of Meena, the daughter of Indian
immigrants to the United States who fled the East African nation of Uganda in the
1970s. An important character in the story is Jay, the father of the main protagonist,
who was previously deeply involved in the national independence move1nent
against British rule that united both Africans and Asians, many of whom had lived
in Uganda for several generations. The sudden demonizing of Asian Ugandans
and the ethnic violence unleashed against them by the dictator !di Amin in the
early 1970s forces Meena's family, like thousands of others, to flee their country.
The film's story raises in1portant issues of social identity, and asks unco1nfortable
questions about the ability of nationalist movements in 1nulticultural or multi-
ethnic societies to maintain their diversity in the einerging nation to be constructed
once Britain, or some other colonial power, gives up and departs. Although there
are 1nany possible argu1nents over the implications of Mississippi Masala, it
remains a historical truth that, in the decade or so after independence, African
Ugandans began to treat Asian Ugandans, their fellow citizens, as if they were
merely a hostile and unwanted residue of British imperialisn1.
Although there were certainly economic aspects to the growth of tension between
Africans and Asians, not to mention Idi Arnin's individual psychopathologies, we
are not raising this issue to argue the ethical aspects of Uganda's expulsion of
Asian citizens in the early 1970s. Rather, it is a classic exa1nple of the narrative
disconnect between formal national identity and cultural or ethnic identity that
is often baffling to Western Europeans and Americans, even though Europe, the
United States, and Canada provide many examples of such gaps in their own
We would like to note that, for whatever reason (and avoidance of unpleasant
thoughts may play a role here), Americans are oflen inclined to look in puzzlement
at the ethnic disturbances in faraway lands while forgetting how similar
disturbances-the violent protests and high racial tensions in cities during the
late civil rights and Black Power years, for example-seemed very much part of
the domestic scene in the lJnited States not so long ago. And indeed _Mississippi
Masala, while focusing on the pain and sadness of the Ugandan experience, brings
the fear of the Other back to America. In the movie's parallel story, Meena's family
is surprised and horrified by her romantic relationship with a young African-
Tales ofTransnationalism and Globalization 17
American, De111etrius. In her film, director Mira Nair is very aware, and in tum
n1akes us aware, that the racial animosity of a victim's narrative can become a
perpetrator's narrative in a changed environment, even if that animosity was, in
the one case, the political tool of a brutal dictatorship and, in the other, more
of a domestic or family affair. And yet, Mississippi Masala is not only about
the confosions of prejudice, but also about the pleasures of complication, as the
inherited racial dividing lines of the American South are crossed by new paths,
laid by the children of South Asian immigrants who do not fit the old, old story.
The story of Mississippi Masala can be easily read as one of globalization. It
involves race and culture, n1igration and belonging, language and 111isunderstanding,
friendship and distance. In the classic understanding of that term, especially
from the !ell of the political spectrum, the forces and dynamics of capital, state
policy, and nationalist ideology compel the uprooting and the movements of
people across borders and oceans. There is, in the narrative of globalization, a
plot connection between, say, the disappearance of Asians from Uganda and the
later takeover of the motel market in the American South and Southwest by Asian
in1111igrant families. Although the 1nigratory movements of the contemporary era
are more likely to be the second-order consequences of global investment cycles
and industrial relocation decisions, the Ugandan-Asian exodus of the 1970s
reveals si111ilarities with historical events of the nineteenth century such as the
Irish Famine and Russian anti-Semitism. Indeed, in a curious way that opens up
so1ne of the ironies of this theme, it could be argued that Mississippi Masala is a
story that eventually valorizes globalization by way of empathy with immigration.
It is as if the movie begins (considering the underlying narrative) in the age of
decolonization and ends in the age of globalization.
When Jay, the father, returns to Uganda on a visit sometime in the 1980s, he
is confronted with a country on the edge of the abyss. The promise of national
independence has been hollowed out completely. Poverty and wanton destrnction
are all around; society seems to have suffered a collapse in every dimension. The
desire on the part ofldi Amin to "de-Asianize" Uganda has, at least in part, brought
the country to its knees. The desire for racial and national purity, the movie implies,
is fatal to economic health and social development. In this complicated story, the
victims of a defense of purity become its advocates elsewhere, as noted above.
But if globalization has brought Jay and his family to run a successful business in
America, or at least enabled it for good or ill, then in some ways the corollary is
that it is the absence of globalization that has brought down Uganda: the country
portrayed in the film seems to have checked out of the world, as it were; it has no
available connection to any econo111ic or cultural assets that nlight balance out the
dictatorial nightn1are under which it has been imprisoned. In the traumatized ruins
of Uganda, the global is what is entirely missing.
Thus, characterizing Mississippi Masala as a story of globalization raises
a problem. While seemingly accurate, the term will strike most audiences as
an indication of a negative: that is, the assu111ption would be that globalization
is critiqued or exposed in the film, because for any liberal, educated audience
18 Narrative, Identity, and the Map o.fCultural Policy
likely to view the 1novie in Europe, the United States, or Latin America, the term
itself already carries substantial negative baggage (in contrast, an article about
globalization in, say, The Econo1nist would not have the same audience and would
have more potential for a positive reading of the term). f-lowever, as we noted
above, the 1novie itself is at least ambivalent on the topic, and while it might
be unproblematic simply to describe the theme of globalization as being the
underpinning of Mississippi Masala's narrative, it does presuppose some things
that are, in fact, open to question.
To that extent, then, an alternative term might be helpful in getting to the
crux of the matter \Vithout setting up a partisan divide of understanding. The
Oxfi>rd English Dictionary presents an etymological history for "transnational"
and its derivatives using exa1nples fro1n which it appears that the tenn became
useful because writers and co1nmentators found that it expressed a meaning not
covered by the 1nore common tern1 "international." Whereas the underlying sense
of international was a relationship between fixed entities, the quasi-neologis1n
transnational, sometimes hyphenated, sometimes not, see1ned to provide a tenn
for so1nething that overlapped national borders, or linked nations in a way not
described accurately enough by the older term. To that degree, one can argue that
transnational was not a substitute for international but rather a way of describing
a phenomenon that pushed at the boundaries of the more traditional term. The
cultural and historical sense of the tenn transnational, however, was deeply rooted
in European history and in the study of civilizations. Although the tennis a modem
creation, an earlier age of historical thought would have understood, altnost as an
axiom, the Christian Church in the Middle Ages to be a transnational body; it was
an institution that transcended boundaries and borders, kingdoms and ethnicities,
and embryonic national territories. Indeed, its very transnational nature was not
only a key detail of its existence, but also a powerful asset. Its capacity to unify
much of Europe, at least at the level of general religious culture and educated faith,
was not only a fact but a fact that suggested supernatural or divine sponsorship.
The Holy Roman Empire was the apex of this historical dynamic and, in many
ways, its arrival and decline reflect in a paradigmatic landscape the shift from a
transnational European and Christian culture to a secular European international
order from the eighteenth century onward.
The Renaissance of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, the European
Reformation, and the Enlightenment of the late eighteenth century were also
clearly transnational phenomena, although the latter is complicated by the rise of
modern political nationalism in roughly the same era. In fact, although the example
offered here is Europe, the story of the loss of transnational structures leading to an
era of national identities can be observed also in North Africa and the Middle East
(although in a different way), as well as in Asia. In any case, the main point is that
the national very often emerged from a decaying of the transnational, even if that
term or its equivalents in various cultures and languages inight not have been used,
and a new, post-Cold War sense of the transnational has run into problems with
the legacy of national thinking. One of the most striking examples of the modern
Tales q(Transnationa!is111 and Globalization 19
presence of an older transnational concept is, without doubt, the Isla1nic umma,
or the worldwide community of Muslims, that crosses borders, raises questions
about loyalty and political citizenship, and offers a kind of transcendent home
to ameliorate the sense of fragmentation that national identities can bring with
the1n. This concept appears to reflect, in unavoidable ways, the former unified
world of Christian Europe in which, at least in theory, a religious culture could
underpin a range of societies that even went to war \Vith each other regularly for
non-theological reasons (until the atTival of the day when the conflict was over
But whether theologically inflected or not, this sense of a term that implies
a virtuous disn1issal of official or quotidian boundaries and constraints retnains
active, \.Ve contend, in the current early twenty-first century usage, It see1ns
inarguable that when a speaker invokes the transnational, he is conjuring up
at the same time a narrative of interaction and co1nmunicationi something that
makes the nation-state appear as outdated as a Victorian factory populated by a
workforce chained to a clanking industrial production line, whereas to introduce
globalization is to raise the specter of a force that chips away at the local values
(both cultural and economic) of a given nation to the advantage of a remote cost-
benefit calculation made elsewhere. It is very striking that many people can hold
two opposing visions of the nation-state in their minds without being conscious of
any contradiction.
Transnationalisin, like many tenns that have become so popular in the eras
of migration and globalization, particularly as they relate to the development
of cultural policy, is often indiscriminately used or applied in different ways in
different fields so that it is sometimes difficult to apprehend exactly what the term
means. In different contexts it refers to conditions, move1nents, and processes that
occur at both domestic/local and global levels. It has been used as a synonym of
globalization, as the impetus for globalization, particularly in the econo1nic sense,
and as a consequence of globalization. The increasingly popular use of the term,
and thus its bearing on cultural policy fonnulation and implementation, is reason
enough for inquiry. Our choice of narrative as an analytical lens to consider these
issues acknowledges the ways in which culture is an in1posing factor in the story of
transnationalism, the way we construct meaning out of its impacts, its hnpl ications
for individual and group identity, and its significance in contemporary cultural
rfhe coining of the tenn transnationalism is generally attributed to the American
writer Randolph Bourne, who used it when pointing at the failure of the United
States as a so-called melting pot for immigrants (1916). From the late nineteenth
century onward, n1any believed that the American experiment would gradually
hone away the cultural differences imported with the European im_n1igrant.
The melting process of cultural assin1ilation was thought to gradually erase the
differences between iinmigrant groups, as well as those betv,1een im1nigrants and
groups who were descended from the earliest colonists. By virtue of that heritage,
the latter groups thought they had earned the right to be called native-born. The
20 Narrative, Identity, and the Map oj'Cu/turaL F'olicy
"unpleasant truth," as Bourne sardonically calls it, was much different. "The
discovery of diverse nationalistic feelings among our great alien populations,"
he writes, "has come to most people as an intense shock" (Bourne 1916: 86). The
revelation was not a call on his part to close American borders in order to preserve
nationalistic integrity or son1e sort of American purity. Rather, it was an invitation
for the United States to cast off its "traditional isolation," to refrain from being
"aloof and irresponsible," and to take on instead the mantle of a "trans-nationality
of all nations" (ibid.: 96). Bourne recognized the fluidity of culture found in
the United States at the beginning of the twentieth century. Not only does "the
cultivated A1nerican" practice an informal dual citizenship through regular travel
abroad (such a person is guilty, in Bourne's view, of a "dual spiritual citizenship"
when he adopts the spirit, ways, and thinking of another culture), but the many
laborers who make their way to America "are no longer n1asses of aliens, waiting
to be 'assimilated,' waiting to be melted down into the indistinguishable dough of
Anglo-Saxonism" (ibid.: 94). To be American, he suggests, is to be transnational
because of the long tradition of cultures coming together. Whether or not, in
practice, all who came were equally welcome, the guiding principle behind the
An1erican concept was that in fact they were.
Bourne's transnational America wa-; one that would e1nbrace differences as a
means of ensuring social and political stability, not erase them. Forcing assin1ilation
would produce enmity and distrust instead of forging patriotism among new
A1nericans in service of American ideals. l ~ i s American social contract insisted
on a reciprocal acceptance and tolerance (once again, in principle, if not always in
practice) whereby l would accept your culture, language, and religious differences
if you tolerated mine.
Bourne's essay raises inany issues of policy and no doubt is an attempt, with its
sardonic tone, to influence the policies of the time while recognizing the difficulty
of executing such an influence. However, despite the questions he posed regarding
the concept, the persistence of the melting-pot theory was never successfully
challenged until long after the publication of his essay. The narrative of cultural
assimilation persisted in the United States until the color of inunigration changed--
in place of1nostly European 111asses, an increasing number of Hispanic, Asian, and
Caribbean immigrants forced the "native" Anglos to revise the story. By the 1960s
the trend was to see the 1Jnited States more as a mosaic than as a blending of
cultures. By the 1980s and early 1990s the shocking realization noted by Bourne
in 1916 had finally matured. The so-called Culture Wars in the United States,
essentially a struggle over values in the public sphere, were partly a reaction to
the reality of diversity and its very real implications for American life. In 200 I
the narrative shifted dramatically again, as the response to the Al-Qaeda terror
attacks on the US 1nain!and institutionalized a new paranoia about politicized
Islam and the sudden recognition that there were significant American Muslim
co111n1unities whose traditions did not (or, confusingly, perhaps did?) 1nesh with
inainstrea1n An1erican life. What is interesting to note is the sheer durability of
particular narratives and their effects on policy processes. Although Bourne, with
Tales qfTransnationalism and Globalization 21
his edgy, ironic siyle, certainly aimed to affect the policy of his day, his analysis
also pointed out that A1nericans were in fact more transnational than national
and had allegiances beyond their own borders; Americans were citizens of the
larger world with interests and-more importantly in some ways-duties within
the larger global sphere. His view of transnationalism was intended to counter
smug assumptions about robust and uniquely Anglo-A1nerican values that were
a standard trope in the public debate and were often evoked to disparage the new
immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe by portraying them as culturally
alien and inevitably dan1aging to A1nerican life.
Global versus "fransnational
Significant events of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, as well as responses
to them, have increasingly encouraged a global framework for economic, social,
and political systems. Globalization refers to the integration of these systems
across national boundaries and includes the mobility of people (especially
workers), ideas, products, and capital. It was popularized as a buzzword in the
1980s, although it first appeared in an economic context in 1959 when it was
used, benignly, to talk about globalized quotas. A short time later, media theorists
Carpenter and McLuhan coined the tenn "global village" ( 1960: xi) and spoke
of the global tribe, seeing both of these as outcomes of the electronic age. More
recently, globalization, especially in the cultural sphere, as we note above, is seen
as an intimidating force serving (as a first priority) the corporate and (as a second
priority) the political interests of powerful nations ....-the United States in particular.
Globalization often carries the sa1ne negative connotations embodied in such
tenns as the "Coca-Colization," "McDonaldization," and "Americanization" of
cultures-processes that are seen as serious threats to cultural identity. The move
between international and global is a Kuhnian shift, according to some theorists.
As a powerful metaphor, globalization suggests total integration into a single
dominant system: "a world system that covers the entire globe" (Kim and Shen
2002: 447). Economic and political implications aside, the effects, both real and
i1nagined, provide an unfolding narrative in which homogenization is the cultural
norm. ln place of the ideal of multiple and equal systems coexisting for mutual
benefit while maintaining individual cultural integrity, the narrative is particularly
popular (and powerful) within cultural policy settings. This view of a globalized
world is one in which distinct cultural identities no longer exist. It is the American
melting pot writ large enough to cover the globe.
In contrast, transnational is used, sombtimes loosely, in such hopeful-sounding
fonnulations as "transnational studies" and "transnational projects" that cheerfully
leap over traditional academic and political boundaries. But the term also finds
its way into combinations that evoke something less desirable: the forced
transnational inigration of refugees (as is depicted in Mississippi Masala). Such
forced migrations often leave their victims without the support and protection of
JVarrative, Identity; and the Map Policy
a nation. We also recognize the use of the term in son1ething more chaotic and
dangerous, as in the case of transnational terrorism. The term has crossed the
tnultiple boundaries of scholarly disciplines, often with increasing ambiguity as it
is applied in newer contexts. ln so1nc cases, transnational reveals little difference
from the term global, and some scholars use the term "post-national globalization"
in an etTort to be more precise.
Still, it is clear that, connotatively, the words differ greatly in shades of
1neaning and usage, especially in the arena of cultural policy. Yet one wonders if
transnational-even if it implies something new and not a so1i of verbal
legerdemain, intended to inove us beyond the controversy of globalizing without
the substance of nc\v practices. Indeed, \Ve have yet to co1ne to (e1npirical) tenns
with the idea of global. The inore recent appearance of transnational as a tcnn to
describe a newer 1nanifestation of cultural) political, and econo111ic integration has
received even less scrutiny despite its increased usage in investigating issues relating
to hybrid cultures, indigenous cultures, or 1nultiple cultural groups wrestling with
coexistence, all within a globalized landscape. We recognize, in essence, an etTort
to change the discourse and its definitional tenns--that is, both the story and its
frame--without changing the reality to which they apply.
What is clear, then, is that the policy perspectives entailed in the flow of culture
into, out of, and even within countries have 1nuch to do with how we understand
these terms. Because concepts such as global, international, transnational, and
national are ffames \vithin which cultural activity can take place, the very 1neaning
of culture and the identities we construct both individually and collectively
depend acutely on the tcrritory, .. -and the terms delin1it and
define. Despite claiins, for cxa1nple, that we have entered an era of increasing
de-nationalization, cultural identity and national identity remain closely bound
together fOr tnany people around the world, for all manner of reasons ranging
fro1n the political to the ccono1nic, the sociocultural, and even the personal. The
question of difl'crences between the terms global, international, and transnational,
therefore, is not n1ercly an academic one.
"fhe question to be answered in unpacking these terms is what they hint at
in the field of culture to which the policy practitioner, the cultural manager, the
individual artist, artists as a stakeholding group, and the individual (non-artist)
citizen should pay heed. One possibility is that transnational integrations arc the
outco1ne of historical trends that pose new challenges foreshadowed, but not
realized, under international and then global sche1ncs. If globalization, for example,
is seen correctly as a threat to cultural ideas and identifications, recognized-if not
always protected-in international relations, then transnationalism may be seen
as one effort to correct the consequences of those threats and to circu1nvcnt their
A co1n1non but flav-,1cd assu1nption is that transnationalisn1 describes a context
in which the mobility of individual agents is a dynamic product of freely made
econo1nic choices. Transnationalism, in this case, is a narrative genre in which
characters (policy actors) n1ake decisions rather than having them thrust upon
Tales ofTransnationalism and Globalization 23
the1n. The ideal narrative of a transnational culture is one in which organizations
and individuals engage in the exchange of ideas, participate in cultural activities
as artists and/or as audience, move from place to place at will, and take advantage
of loosened borders and barriers in order to benefit from, and contribute to, the
flourishing of arts and culture. In these scenarios, artists in1port and export nevv,
enriching cultural experiences to and fro1n each country. rfhese exchanges are
embraced (in the narrative ideal) because they are products of artistic/cultural
coinmunities and the fair exchange betvveen individuals rather than being i111posed
by avaricious global enterprises. While traditional international arrangements
govern inany such exchanges, a transnational focus ain1s at more fully integrated
connections that encompass a wide variety of relationships, including social
networks, econo1nic policies, and others that not only fbcilitate, but also enhance,
creative exchange. The reality, however, is not quite so rosy, as evidence
re111ains sketchy that national structures have indeed given way to more flexible
understandings of 111ovement, identity, and culture. The image of a community
of artists engaged in a free, 1nutual, and beneficial exchange of ideas does not
don1inate the transnational landscape.
Nevertheless, we might just say that, in an ideal sense, transnationalism is
a condition that offers challenges and potential both for losing one's identity
and for forging a stronger one, as vve discuss in Chapters 5 and 6. ln this view,
transnationalism is taken to be a positive term of empowennent and agency,
offering a distinct alternative concept to the bleak process of globalization, to
which all except its few beneficiaries have become victims. Transnationalism,
in terms of narrative me111es, is the courtly knight who arrives on white horse
to rescue the heroine (us) and the villagers (our cultural norms and traditions)
fron1 the rapacious claws of the dragon: globalization, This shift to a new term,
however, despite its attractive implications, deserves a little inspection.
ln contrast to transnationalism, globalization is less a fixed and identifiable
state of affairs and more of a narrative \Vith something of an inconclusive end
always open for the possibility of a sequel. As a narrative it has snme crucial
strands and inotifs. The story of the movement of capital across the world is an
exa1nple, including across ideological divides that 1night have seemed difficult
to achieve at one time-notably American investment in China despite the
latter's communist political syste111. Another is the story of the flattening out or
homogenizing of local economies and cultures in developing countries. A third
is the story of how economic sovereignty was hollowed out by a conspiracy
involving organizations such as the international Monetary Fund (always seen as
doing the bidding of the United States) and the World Bank, as well as complicit
governments and individuals who had t ~ l l n prey to ne,,_>liberal theories of open
financial borders and unfettered free trade-a n1ix often known since the early
1990s as the "Washington Model." The story of globalization is the composite
of these subordinate narratives, but it also goes beyond then1. Globalization is
somehow a malicious subversion of the "globe" itself. Once upon a time and not
too far back in the past, the tenn "globe" see1ned to summon up our positive
24 Narrative, identity, and the Map ~ f Cultural Policy
human collectivity, like the famous pictures of a fragile blue-green planet taken by
the Apollo astronauts in 1968 that hinted strongly at our mutual interdependence.
ln a curious historical and cultural development that has attracted little notice, it
was around this tirne that the presence of model globes in homes, schools, and
offices seemed to fall into decline in \Vestern countries; indeed, now, despite
Google Earth, the globe o!Ien seems absent from debates on globalization.
Globalization later came to n1ean, in many circles, a depressing perversion of
that in1age: a network of hostile and exploitative forces covering the globe from
pole to pole \\rith seemingly nothing to hinder its n1ovement. Instead of a planetary
consciousness deepening our sense of a common humanity, inarket forces (seen as
generally ominous, if not quite destructive) were somehow using the very "globe-
ness" of the world to create an economic mesh that had no beginning and no
end. The sense of being trapped in a seamless econon1ic and, indeed, conceptual
universe has provoked some distinct responses, ranging from the fury of the
n1ore militant demonstrators against the World Trade Organization conference
in Seattle, Washington, in Nove1nber 1999 to intellectual interventions such as
Toni Negri's and Michael Hardt's best-selling polemical study Empire a year later.
More recently, this has also included the mushroo1ning of grassroots organizing,
and sustained demonstrations led by the "Occupy!" movement, beginning with
Occupy Wall Street in New York in late 2011.
Ironically enough, of course, two by-products of globalization are the large
multinational market for Empire, making it available to readers and activists around
the world, and the decreasing price of don1estic and international air tares over the
past few decades, enabling n1any of the sa1ne activists to gather for such events as
the UN-sponsored World Conference against Racism in Durban, South Africa, in
2001 or the World Climate Summit in Cancun, Mexico, in 2010. Very few people
would seriously deny that there have been at least some benefits from a globalized
econo1ny, even if they are potentially superficial and restricted to certain parts
of the world (or to a certain demographic, not necessarily territorially defined).
Nevertheless, one of the crucial objections inight be that while new consumer
benefits have indeed accrued to those who live in the advanced economies, and
those with secure positions in the developing nations, deeper econon1ic benefits
such as better health, educational opportunities, and sustainable econo1nic
improvement fOr others are less easy to identify. Even if present, they tnay be
severely compromised by rising prices for basic commodities, political corruption,
and other factors pressured into existence by that sa1ne dynamic of globalization
that seen1s to undermine even the positive changes it brings about. At the more
extren1e end of the spectrum of critique one can find praise for populist and
authoritarian figures such as fJugo Ch<ivez in Venezuela and the forn1er Serbian
leader Slobodan MiloSeviC who are, or were, held up as heroes of anti-capitalist
resistance, keeping the forces of econon1ic imperialism at bay. Jn response to such
ironies, one can easily understand the need fOr a term that is not as loaded as
globalization. One can see the desire for a different tale.
Tales ofTransnationalisn1 and Globalization 25
The story of Western Europe in the post-World War II era is one that contains
certain standard eletnents of the shift frotn an international to a transnational
configuration. Emerging traumatized after years of occupation and war, European
nations had to face the legacy of their history in a divided continent in which
two new global pov.
ers, the United States and the Soviet Union, were free to
reshape their spheres of interest. These included Germany of course, which had
largely precipitated the years of death and destruction. One of the tasks that its
Western neighbors saw as crucial was to devise some system that would permit
the restoration of the German industrial base-without which the economic
regeneration of Europe would be difficult, if not impossible-while preventing
that industrial strength from re-emerging as the engine of aggressive national
expansion, as it had already done three times in the previous eighty years. The
political division of Germany in 1948 n1ade such a process easier, in the sense that
a reunified Germany was off the table. It \vas not obvious, however, that there was
an easy resolution at hand.
One solution, which eventually became the European lJnion, was launched
as a s1nall organization to create a joint Franco-German market for coal and
steel production. The treaty forming the European Coal and Steel Community
was unveiled in l 951 and brought together not only France and West Germany,
but also Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands. With the creation
of the European Econoinic Comn1unity in Rome in 1955, a supranational body
that would have some considerable authority in certain areas while leaving a
basic national sovereignty intact, the course was set for a peculiar experiment
involving Western Europe and later (atler the fall of Soviet communism) Eastern
Europe. Are the roots of globalization as demon to be found in this tale? We tend
to view the European experiment as a case of transnationalism in the positive
sense, but ce1tainly one inust also see it as a 1nove towards globalization-that
is, the integration of independent nation-states into something larger and more
homogenous, if only economically, per the original intent. That the European
project \vould encounter n1any proble1ns on the way was inevitable, but there was
also the hope that the passage of ti1ne would bring a generational and attitudinal
shift that would make European integration more palatable.
Although in very recent times an unusual level of disorganization and acrimony
has arisen within and among ElJ member states, the narrative that began to fonn
around European institutions in the 1960s developed into something quite robust
and even attractive. The desire of post-communist states such as Poland, Hungary,
and Romania to join the European Union has made this evident over the last
twenty years. Although ongoing economic volatility and the crisis in the European
financial markets since 2008 have done great darnage to the more idealistic notions
and elevated rhetoric that used to accompany the expansion of the European
lJnion, we argue nonetheless that the governing story is one in which a deeper
intention is masked by a more superficial goal. The ostensible tale of the European
Union is the economic, conunercia!, and administrative/political integration that
the member states have worked on for two generations, with the common currency
26 1Varrative, Identity, and the Map o.fG'ultural PoliLy
of the euro as its most an1bitious, and now possibly endangered, experin1ent in
weaving a continent of different and disparate nations together for a set of co1nn1on
purposes. "['he deeper structure, however, is marked by the narrative of war and by
the significance of the European Union as a tool to wed Germany and its econo1nic
power to a multinational European institution that might prevent nev.,r geopolitical
uncertainties fro1n breaking out. Later in this chapter we describe vvhat happened
when the ghosts of that previous war escaped from their crypt in an incident in the
German Bundestag at the end of the 1980s.
In sum, tales of globalization and transnationalisn1 take many fonns. Amid the
many present-day clashes and complexities of cultures we often forget that similar
issues can be found throughout history, even if they someti1nes look different at
first glance. In the next section, we exan1ine a different kind of globalizing force,
which in fact takes the form of a very literal narrative.
Delivering the Chronicle
When the first institutional account of events in England \Vas co1nmissioned
under King Alfred the Great, the task was assigned to one group among the very
fCw who possessed the power of literacy in the ninth century: the monks in their
monasteries and abbeys. The product of their work, which continued for at least
200 years, is known as the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. Segments of it have survived
until the present day. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and other examples of historical
record-keeping in the early Middle Ages reveal something interesting about the
nature of nanative.
In bis study of the implications of historical narrative, Hayden White (1987)
offers an earlier and more primitive set of records fro111 France, the eighth-century
Annals of' Saint Gall. Incidents recounted in the docu1nent are extren1ely briet:
one or two sentences only, about a battle or a bad harvest, even though the details
would be very useful to know. Often, dates pass by with no entry, as if that
particular period \Vas completely devoid of events, or as if keeping the record
up to date was sin1ply too great a burden at that moment. White argues that these
annals lack a center of social or human meaning that would support an actual
narrative structure or pern1it evaluations or interpretations of events. The years
roll by as if time was merely the checking of1narkers in "a world in which things
happen to people rather than one in which people do things" (l 987: l 0- l l ). The
Anglo-Saxon C'hronicle represents son1ething ofa contrast to the Annals r!fSaint
Gall in its progress fi:o1n a simple sequence of events, marked by the repetition
of ''And then," to a more co1nplex narrative embodied in sentences with clauses
and qualifications. Somewhat like the progress children make fron1 just relating
events to their parents, to having thoughts about the events they relate, the authors
of the Chronicle eventually becan1e inore confident and more willing to consider,
compare, and express their thoughts relating to different ele111ents in the raw
material of their account.
Tales o.fTransnationalism and Globalization 27
Although scholars of that era in history and literature might protest that the
childhood analogy is patronizing or misleading, we are not arguing that the literate
monks who gave us the window onto Anglo-Saxon England were like children
with their simple dependence on chronological sequence, but rather that the
relationship between oral culture, fonnalized storytelling, and institutional history
(or theology, political theory, or policy) is a complex one, and that capacities grow
and decline and grow again in a sorne\vhat different form. Clearly, the institutional
effort-and indeed the personal efforts, too-necessary to initiate and maintain
a written chronological record over several hundred years was rather more than
merely allocating tasks like a TV or newspaper editor assigning different angles on
a news event to her reporters. It is far more comparable to a large-scale community
inission such as building up a national archives or creating a digital library with
worldwide agree1nent on access protocols.
One can say, however, that what was being constructed was a narrative of events
and their meanings. ln fact, it is this move towards supplying meaning through
the contextualization of the Chronicles con1mentary as an overlay to recounted
events that we recognize as narrative. Most often, the n1eanings were implicit in
the religious belief of the monks and of the societies they worked in: a Christian
theology that united an expanding swathe of the European continent of the early
Middle Ages in which God if at some affairs
of hu1nankind, and understood, even if men and wo1nen did not, why disasters
and suffering alternated with good fortune in a seemingly unchangeable cycle.
Complexity cannot be held at bay for ever, of course, and the political volatility
of England and other parts of Europe, the problem of the Scandinavian raids, the
relationship between temporal (aristocratic and kingly) and spiritual (religious
and papal) power, and other issues were always hovering in the background of the
Chronicle's accounts. The Chronicle itself needed to be sufficiently flexible to grow
to meet narrative demands greater than a rigid inventory of happenstance within an
unquestionable theological framework. 'fo say that, in fact, is to say no more than
that narrative, as practiced by the Anglo-Saxon reporter-historians, some of whose
work has come down to us, needed to develop complexity to deal with a complex
world. 'fhe syntax required to express the consideration of an event, or to recount
multiple events with their own internal relative chronology, will inevitably be
richer and 1nore adaptive than the syntax required for a simple narrative sequence.
Only so much can be expressed by the phrase, "And then." Thus, as the ability to
consider complex matters in writing grew (as opposed to oral culture, which was
much more common across the globe), so did stories that not only had beginnings,
middles, and ends, but also introduced some play of thought across the surface of
those phases of narrative, as the authorS chronicled more than one di1nension of
social and psychological experience and reached beyond the bleakly sequential.
Among other things, narrative seems to be about political growth.
But narrative is not just complexity. indeed, complexity itself is not exactly a
universally accepted characteristic. As we have come to realize at the beginning
of the twenty-first century, confident-sounding one-sentence assertions such as
28 Narrative, Identity, and the Map of Cultural Policy
any of the following are often powerful tools for locking into place a particular
position or narrative world-view:
1. Raising taxes won't create jobs.
2. Family first.
3. We must defend our den1ocratic freedoms.
4. You can take the girl out of the small town, but you can't take the small
town out of the girl.
5. 1'he custo1ner is king.
6. Yes we canl
What links the above utterances is that they are essentially conceptual statements
based on abstractions whose narrative force is not to be questioned. We cannot
know, tOr example, what kinds oft.axes are involved in proposition (l). Does the
author or speaker mean corporate or commercial taxes of some kind, which n1ight
make it a reasonably uncontroversial remark, or personal income laxes? Jn (2), we
have no idea if the state1nent n1eans that the government should favor households
with children over those of single citizens-an arguable case, at least--or that the
state has no right to inquire into family situations where children might be in danger,
or that policies addressing family issues should take priority over all others. The
problems with (3), and indeed with any cognate of (3), such as "Muslims will fight
the oppression of the West," need no great elaboration, no matter how legitimate
the moral requirement to defend "freedom" or fight "the West" appears at first
glance. Even proposition (4), while appearing to be more ofa folksy and humorous
co1nmonplace than the declaration of a principle, has so n1any assu1nptions and
narrative motifs built into it-about "girls" (as opposed to, say, young women),
s1nall towns, travel and migration, social interactions, psychological developn1ent,
and the nature of modernity--that it could be a long TV drama repeatedly reduced
down by so1ne distilling process until it becon1es more like a verbal equation.
The problem with (5) is that it sets out something like an ideal toward which
a group of people-the staff of the company-should work, but it also has the
disadvantage of glossing over the areas where no co1npany is really interested
in bending to the customer's point of view. Finally, (6) was, as many will recall,
the principal slogan used by the Barack Obama campaign during the American
presidential election of 2008. Effective precisely because of its lack of defined
reference or elaboration, the slogan was sharply distinct from others and became
unforgettable. It is not made clear exactly what "we" can do, but the emphatic
''Yes,'' which seems to be a response that reaffinns an earlier statement of capability,
implies that it is something that others have doubted. But the affirmation is non-
specific: we are able to achieve things, and achievement itself is good. It might
even be argued that the assertion is all the more powerful because it is a general
co1nment on capability rather than a declaration of capabilities directed toward a
particular goal ("we" might end up disagreeing on specific goals or their ranking,
such as universal healthcare or the appropriate response to foreign policy crises).
Tales o/71-ansnationalisrn and Globalization 29
Jn contrast to examples (1) to (5), proposition (6) avoids even the appearance of
concrete referentiality and is, in so1ne ways, closer to a team slogan that fans might
yell out at a sports event. Nevertheless, an implicit narrative about capability is at
work in the background and meshes perfectly with the widespread perception of
then Senator Obama as a politician who might have the right key to turn for getting
beyond what many perceived as a sense of defeat and national worry in the light
of the wars in [raq and Afghanistan, and the darkening economic prospects as the
recession unfolded over that election year. During the election of 2012, in which
Barack Obama won a second term, no such slogan \Vas in view. Even attempts
by political opponents in the Republican Party to satirize "Yes we can!" during
difficult times for the Obama administration, especially early in his first term,
tended to bounce off the energetic optimism of the words. No politician wants to
be seen implying that "No we can't'" is a better approach.
All of these examples also have two characteristics in common: first, they
clearly gloss over n1ore elaborate statements of an issue; and, second, they can
only function because there is a more intricate narrative account lurking in the
background structures of such discourses and providing a frame for each punchy
idiom or slogan. The more complex (and often unarticulated) background narrative
n1ay be avoided because it is inore open to challenge, due to its complexity, than the
platitudinous or well-encapsulated principle that impresses with its simplicity and
whose apparent "wisdon1" den1ands n1ental obedience. As we note in subsequent
chapters, the co1np1icated matter of the ditlerent ways in which a narrative can be
received and interpreted haunts attempts to explain policy by means of stories,
despite their effectiveness in making such policies understandable and justifiable
in a manner that mere datasets or legal justifications cannot.
So the struggle is, to a certain extent, between the need for narrative and
the requirement to somehow 1nonitor and control narrative so it does not open
up complexities that the narrator is unprepared to deal with. Here we find the
fault line that tends to divide one use of narrative from another-the romance of
complexity from the charm of simplicity, one could say. This is a very important
issue, and one that we touch on in later chapters as evidence of the difficulty of
getting stories, and indeed frames, to stay in place as they are communicated from
teller to audience.
A Narrative Framework Introduced
I-I ere, and in the next chapter, \Ve offer a triadic structure of narrative as a formal
system, an ideological proposition, and a rhetorical exercise, or-to put it another
way-a human activity that poses aesthetic, ethico-political, and pragmatic_.choices
and articulates their results. We argue that most successful narratives, whether
fictional or documentary or some co1nbination of the two, have found a balance
of dynamic elements. This does not mean that something like a mathematical
balance is possible or that, even if it were, it would make every story acceptable
30 Narrative, Identity, and the Map of Policy
to all interested parties, but rather that a story conspicuously lacking in son1e
manifestation of one of these elements is going to suffer. lf a narrative is going to
operate in the real social in the concrete world of cultural
the narrator who sets that nanative in motion and the researcher or analyst trying
to make sense of it must consider each element carefully. First, if human beings arc
to communicate and receive a narrative, they 1nust recognize, within its structures,
the co1nponents of a story. A story is, we argue, an ancient element of hu1nan
culture, and even the most contemporary co1n1nunication technologies must rely
on narrative structures to trans1nit the components of a story in a way that renders
the intended audience open to it; it must make it aesthetically pleasing, in some
way. Again, the content of the story-as distinct from its narrative structure-need
not be pleasurable in and of itself. The role of the audience in supplying important
content has already been discussed. But even a silnple report of an incident 1nust
reveal, on inspection, so1ne sense of the aesthetic effects of narrative.
The use of "aesthetic effect" as a term might disturb some people, especially
those who have a cause in which inuch energy is invested in the honest truth of
its telling, but the nature of stories is such that even the 1nost nakedly realistic
docu1nentary recounting will develop its own narrative aesthetic-it cannot help
but do that, in fact, as no narrative can divest itself of the fabric of language,
cadence, image, and plot (and even an ostensible absence of plot is a plot), which
is how narrative comes to be in the world. Treated as a variable that can be
recognized, it is thus open to inquiry by the cultural policy researcher.
A second way in which policy na1Tatives may be exan1ined is through the
question of narrative as an "ideological instrument." According to Scholes,
Phelan, and Kellogg in The Nature of' Narrative, this is an area of inquiry that is
not particularly simple (2006: 284). There can be many ideological levels at work
in any one narrative text. Indeed, the authors note that this general rule applies to
their own text, too. The final chapter in 1he Nature o,fNarrative, in fact, makes the
point that the argument presented in the work is only "one of the many plausible
narratives" (ibid.) of the growth and significance of narratology in academic
inquiry over the past two or three decades. Thus, the book warns against the book,
so to speak, or at least against taking it to be the only definitive statement on
storytelling, or the formal criticism of narration that often appears to have defeated
all other positions and occupied the landscape. To emphasize: all stories involve,
either explicitly or implicitly, an idea against which the action of the story can
be judged. In other words, narratives never appear in isolation. The context in
which they unfold (the cultural policy environment, for example) supplies some
of the meaning we find in them. Even if the story is strange, exotic, surreal, or
apparently disconnected fron1 any real-world context, an ideological con1mitment
can emerge in that very n1ix of strangeness itself--perhaps the co1nmitment is to
sustainability of cultural integrity or autonomy by securing ecological protection
of a habitat, or solidarity with victims of cultural persecution, or the interests of a
religious/cultural cornn1unity. The ideological commitinents of transnationalism
versus globalization should be counted here, too.
Tales q[Transnationalism and Globalization 31
If at least one level of the narrative concerns itself with ideas, the embedded
ideological propositions can be the subject of reasonable agreement or
disagreement. Though it 1nay be difficult, especially given the inherent untidiness
of culture, this does not diminish the value of narratives or of narrative frameworks
for analysis. Indeed, as a means for opening the conversation about the meaning of
events, policies, or outcomes, it has added value.
l'he third di1nension, that of narrative as a rhetorical act, involves the fact that a
story, no matter what its aesthetic qualities or its ideological emphases might be, has
to be co1nmunicated to an audience, and the shape and style of the communication
are within the authority of the teller to detennine. One cannot determine them
with absolute measures, given that rhetoric involves prag111atic choices without
guaranteed outcomes, although the chances of achieving a desired end can be high
or low depending on the receptivity of the audience, the skill of the storyteller, the
compelling nature of the material, and siinilar tilctors. It is in this third dilnension
that the structures and mechanics of the narration are decided upon, and the kind of
balance that any narrative requires becomes an important goaL A silnple plot can
be attractive, but if people sense that a 111ore coinplicated issue is being dumbed
down, they can respond negatively. A dull and uninteresting story cannot be made
into something else merely by recounting it in an excited tone, because an audience
will sense the inadequacy behind the act. indeed, the danger of slipping into
bathos---a clear and often comic disconnect between context and expression, such
as misjudging the solemnity of an event and n1aking more grandiose statements
than are always present when nanative perfonnances take place.
Thus, fo1111al choices in the act of storytelling-oral, vvritten, or visual-are not
merely internally fonctional, but can also have substantial influence on both the
aesthetic and ideological registers of any given narrative, and consequently on
the total narrative effort as it is received by the audience. Tf a storyteller tnakes a
mistake along the one or the other axis of narrative coherence and identity, there
n1ay be consequences, as the following cxa111ple illustrates.
One of the strangest real-world examples of a narrative that slipped the leash
and escaped to wreak damage occurred in the Federal Republic of Germany in
1988. That November, the fiftieth anniversary of the Reichskristailnacht took
place. The 1938 event, a state-sponsored pogrom that resulted in the burning down
of over 1,000 synagogues as we!! as several thousand stores and businesses, and
the deaths of about 100 Jewish citizens, was the first organized attack on Jevvish
businesses, synagogues, and communities carried out all over Gern1any with the
tacit encouragetnent of the Nazi Party and government 1'housands of Jews \Vere
injured or shipped ofTto concentration camps. The comme1noration of these events
half a century later was seen as a historical duty by the Gennan government, but
it was also a somewhat tense affair because the chosen approach had to v.
......... jn a manner with which citizens could identify-rejection of the Nazi
vision and its anti-Semitic hatred, later military defeat and occupation, and
national re-e1nergence fron1 the ruins of war. In some ways, the event vvas seen as
rather more problematic than the fortieth anniversary of the end of World War lI in
32 Narrative, Identity, and the Nlap ~ l Cultural F'olicy
1985. The reasons were not difficult to see: the comn1e1noration of the victin1s of
the Reichskristallnacht focused on a s1nal!er, more intimate canvas and concerned
the complicity of the population in the demonizing of German and Austrian Jews.
Since the end of the war, West Germany had always e1nphasized its reintegration
into the Western com1nunity of nations via NATO and the European Union. It
sought recognition, too, for its remarkable econo1nic achievement with the
successful convergence of the free market system and the Sozialstaat-a German
state that looked after its people in terms of universal healthcare and education,
in particular. In addition, and in contrast to, Austria, or the communist German
Democratic Republic, the Federal Republic had, for many years, accepted the
legacy of responsibility (sometimes syn1bo1ic, so1netin1es judicial) for the crimes
of the Nazis. With all these considerations in mind, the government decided that
there would be a special session of the Bundestag in Bonn on November 10, 1988
during which Bundestag President, Philipp Jenninger would deliver a keynote
In the late 1980s Germany was governed by a center-right coalition
government under Chancellor Helmut Kohl. Jenninger's party, the Christlich-
Demokratische Union (CDU) was the larger partner alongside the traditional
upper-middle-class liberals of the small but often influential Free Democratic
Party (FDP). Although distrusted by the German left, the CDU for its part saw
itself as the architect of the Federal Republic-it had rescued Germany from the
ruins of 1945 and was proud of what it saw as its own conservative, and mainly
Catholic, history of opposition to Hitler and the Nazis. As the commemorative
events in Nove1nber were being prepared, the unofficial word among reporters
on the parlia1nentary beat was that there was no question but that the president
of the Bundestag-an occasionally aggressive politician---was going to deliver a
noteworthy speech that would tackle, with sensitivity and directness, an ugly and
on1inous 1noment in modern German history, although exactly how he was going
to approach the topic remained unclear.
The Bundestag assembled in the parlian1ent building in Bonn on the morning
of the event. In attendance were the people's representatives of all parties, senior
goven1111ent officials, and invited guests fro1n the diplomatic corps, as well as
pron1inent members of the sn1all Jewish community in West Germany. Eventually
Jenninger stepped to the podium. After various acknowledgments, he proceeded
to the substance of his address.
Jenninger talked about the way in which the non-Jewish neighbors of the
victims of the Reichskristallnacht were frequently disgusted by what was
happening, and despite shaking their heads in disapproval, had only very rarely
stepped in to help (the same could be said of the police). He discussed the way
in which several years of Nazi propaganda, both open and covert, had s1noothed
the way for the attacks of November 1938 and had given Germans the sense that
under Hitler they were doing far better materially, and in terms of confidence, than
they had during the democracy of the Weimar Republic. If the price for this was
so1ne unpleasantness against the Jews-according to the propaganda-well, so
Tales oj.Transnationalism and Globalization
be it. Jenninger noted that the popular term itself, Reichskristallnacht or "State-
Sponsored Night of Broken Glass," was an awkward mix of"Verlegenheit, lronie,
und Verharmlosing" ("embarrassment, irony, and downplaying the seriousness [of
the events]" trans, MG) that eerily reflected a deep inner confusion about how
to react to such exercises in planned violence, or even what to think about them.
At this stage, some people in the audience were uneasy, and one Green Party
representative left the chamber in protest.
Jenninger crossed the line into the danger zone in earnest when he introduced
two paragraph-length quotes from wartime documentation into his talk, The first
quote involved a gruesome description of a mass execution of hundreds of Jews
who were herded into a huge mass grave and machine-gunned by SS units set
up at the edge of the pit. The description included the final moments of families,
parents gently touching their children before they were all mown down together,
the observer's astonishment that there must have been a thousand bodies in the
grave, and the fact that there were clearly people left alive among the hundreds of
corpses that were to be buried when the grave was filled in. Many such accounts
could be found in the history books, but it was unusual, to say the least, for the
German Bundestag to devote such focused attention to the cri1nes of the Nazis as
they went about the act of genocide, especially in Eastern Europe and Russia. That
was the first quote, It should be borne in mind that it takes a considerably longer
time to listen to a spoken paragraph than it does to read one on the page,
The second quote was the door to disaster, but it needs some context. The
quote was from Reichsfilhrer SS Heinrich Himmler, and the setting is a speech
he gave to an asse1nbly of SS commanders in Poznan, Western Poland, in autu1nn
1943. The full quote, here in English, runs as follows:
I want to mention openly a very difficult chapter, as r stand here before you.
It should be expressed quite openly among us, but nevertheless we'll never
talk about it in public I mean of course the evacuation of the Jews, the
extermination of the Jewish people. It's one of those things said quite ea'sily.
"The Jewish people will be extern1inated," says some Party member, "definitely,
it's there in our program, re1noval of the Je\vS, extermination, let's do it!" And
then they all arrive, eighty n1illion well-behaved Germans, and eve1y last one of
them knows a decent Jew. Yeah, OK, the others are scum, but this guy is a totally
fine Jew. Of all who talk like that, no-one saw what's really been happening, or
had to endure it. Most of you will know what it's like when a hundred corpses are
laid out together, or five hundred, or a thousand. To have endured that and also-
apart from exceptions n1ade for hun1an weakness--to have remained decent:
that has 1nade us hard. This is a glorious page in our history, never written down
and never to be written d<nvn in the future either ... In general, we can say that
we have successfully carried out this n10St difficult mission for the love of our
people. And \Ve have done so vvithout dan1age to our inner lives, to our souls, or
to our character. (Jenninger 1988: 13; trans. MG)
34 Narrative, Identity, and the A1ap ofC'u/tural Policy
Jenninger followed this quote with his own words, "We stand helplessly before
those sentences. We are iinpotent in the face of the destruction of millions of
human beings. Numbers and \Vords cannot help. I-Iu1nan suffering cannot be rolled
back ... [A ]s regards what remains [of that history], all attempts to explain or even
to grasp it must fail" (ibid.).
The situation was, as it turned out, beyond rescue. Jenninger continued to the
end of his speech, making many interesting and unexpectedly candid re1narks,
including a comment on the crucial relationship between the Nazi war plans for the
Eastern F root and the Final Solution. That the invasion of Russia and the genocide
of European Jews \Vere parts of a whole, rather than discrete ele1nents of national
policy, was an historical topic previously decried or avoided by mainstrea1n
German politicians. It did not matter, however, because several people had, by that
time, left the Bundestag chamber and had offered comments to the press and TV.
Wire services began to transtnit worldwide, telex machines clicked and hum1ned,
and within a couple of hours ru1nors had circulated that a speaker in the parlia1nent
of the Federal Republic of Germany had made some pro-Nazi remarks on the
anniversary of Reichskristallnacht. By five o'clock in the afternoon Jenninger's
career-tern1inating letter of resignation was on Chancellor Kohl's desk. 1'he TV
news broadcasts and the next day's editorials, as \vell as German embassies across
the globe, scrambled to explain exactly what had happened.
What had, in fact, happened'' Nobody who took the trouble to read Jenninger's
full text or even key parts of it could come away from it with the idea that his
address involved excusing, let alone endorsing, the -Nazi Party. Indeed, the
intensity of his condemnation is unmistakable. But clearly the speech had gone
tragically awry in so1ne way.
It should be noted, again, that under norn1al circu1nstances, listening to speech
both subjectively and objectively takes a longer time than reading a written text.
So, while the context for Jenninger's quotes fro1n the observer of the inass killing
and fro1n Heinrich Hin11nler is 1nadc clear to the reader by way of the fra1ning
remarks, the forward-1noving and voice-inflected nature of actual speech can
n1ean that listeners are "inside" a long spoken quote in a way that they would
not be if they read the sa1ne thing as a paragraph of text. When the audience in
the Bundestag vvas engaged in listening to Jcnninger's speech, therefore, the
subjective experience was very likely one of being assaulted, first, by the painful
and sickening description of the mass executions and then, if that had not been
enough, by the perverted values embodied in the SS chief's inspirational homily
to his inen. For 1ninutes at a time (as we are generally bad at objectively assessing
such durations) all relativizing and stabilizing context was lost. Jenninger was
lovingly laying out the details of mass killings and then channeling Heinrich
Himmler from 1943, as if the evil spirit of the long-dead Reichsflihrer SS had
occupied the psyche of the hapless Bundestagsprasident, hijacking the solemn
event and subverting the institutional heart of postwar Germany'.s claim to be a
nation founded on democratic values and respect for the individual.
Tales o,fTransnationalism and Globalization
Indeed, the seeds .of the catastrophe were so\vn somewhat earlier in the speech,
when Jenninger spoke about the reasons for the German population's willingness,
in 1938, to stand aside and let their German Jewish neighbors be attacked and
burned out of their synagogues and businesses. Jn a way that must have seen1ed
artful to him, Jenninger used a type of free indirect discourse, speaking in character,
as it were, as ifhe was acting out the collective inenta!ity of non-Jewish Gennans
at the end of the 1930s. He struck the tone that might have been used at the time to
excuse and perhaps even justify the events as an actor might go through a fictional
monologue on stage rather than as a politician speaking to a large 1neeting. There
is so1ne rueful irony to be heard: for example, as Jenninger notes that the foreign
policy triumphs that Hitler brought home-after the perceived humiliations of the
Weimar period-"must have seemed like a 1uiracle."
Maybe one could accuse hi1n of rendering the attitudes of Germans too
sympathetically, but it is obvious to any reader that what he is doing is trying to
understand the national nlood in a visceral, rather than an abstract, way. But if
one faiJs to hear the irony, the note of critical distance, then one might easily-
especially in an oral context-believe that so111e kind of retrospective justification
was taking place. Fu1ihermore, Jenninger, by including lengthy quotes, failed to
recognize that the language Him111ler used in Poznan was particularly dangerous.
tlaving tailed (to some extent at least) to communicate the irony and distance
in his own words and phrases, Jenninger waded into the 1niddle of an extended
performance by the Reichsflihrer SS and found himself suddenly out of his depth,
because 1-Iimmler's own speech was not identifiably "Nazi" in terrr1s of style, as,
forexa1uple, Hitler's interminable rants have become for posterity. On the contrary,
and in a rather terrifying way, Hi1nmler's rhetoric included folksy vocabulary,
h1nnorous fonnulations, darts of sarcasm and irony, 1noments of poetic elevation,
and even a kind of perverse "appeal to the sublime" (LaCapra 2004: 184-5).
Given that the basic theme of the speech is a plan for genocide 1neans that it and
other speeches like it should be treated with great caution. I-laving introduced an
unconventional but also risky i1npersonation of other voices into his presentation,
Jenninger suddenly had no good way of being ironic about Hitn111ler's ironies. I"le
\Vas simply unable to control the n1eanings and tone in the Reichsfi.ihrer's quote.
After a certain point, 1uany of those present in the audience seem to have become
confused about who was really speaking before them.
In sum, Jenninger failed to grasp the dangers of an unfortunate rhetorical choice
when he planned his speech for that important day one that might have constituted
one of the high moments of his political life. He wanted to give the German people
and all who were listening so1nething special that they would reme1nber: he Y...'as
going to publicly confront issues that had been awkwardly glossed over for forty
years. He tnade a good aesthetic decision on the style and structure of the address;
the ideological issue, it must have see1ned to hi1n, \:Vas in many ways a given---
nobody could doubt West Germany's efforts to create a democratic, tolerant, and
economically fair society. As a good Christian conservative-in the European
rather than the American sense-he stood behind that project. He had not thought
36 Narrative, Identify, and the Map of' C'ultural Policy
through, however, the axis of rhetorical selection and organization required when
dealing with a sensitive historical moment. ln an analysis of this piece ofprose-
and there have been quite a few in German-language scholarship---one finds that
the crucial flaw is Jenninger's obvious failure to understand that, in the absence of
a good frame, content can go its own way. Lacking the intuitive sense that hearing
speech and reading prose are different experiences, he completely lost control of
his own address. His passion for telling a truth that had not previously been told
openly in the Bundestag did not rescue him from the disastrous way in which he
had chosen to tell that truth. A textbook example ofnarrative fumbling in a public
arena, the case of Philipp Jenninger is an object lesson in how, if the stakes are
high enough, and the inissteps severe enough, telling a story badly can tenninate
your career.
The account of Jenninger's catastrophic performance demonstrates ho\V control
of narrative (or lack of control, in this case) is a factor with fruitful potential for
analysis. At minimum, we must recognize that as hu1nan, social, political, and
cultural beings we inhabit narrative landscapes, so1ne of our choosing and others
in which we find ourselves through persuasion or force. Often the territory we
occupy may be one we don't recognize as such. We argue that such landscapes,
however, contain a readable terrain. In the next chapter, we look more concretely
at the workings of narrative frameworks in cultural policy inquiry.
Chapter 2
History, Transitions, and Frameworks
for Analysis
The case for using a narrative framework to analyze cultural policies within
the landscapes of globalization and transnationalisn1 requires some additional
foregrounding. Before we address the patticulars of these two spheres, we think
it would be helpful to provide preliminary background and justification for
employing a narrative .fra1nework for cultural policy analysis, which we expand
upon in the next chapter.
"Policy analysis," as used here, refers to the range of activities engaged in
by policy analysts and scholars that includes, among others, the investigation of
policy issues and alten1atives to infonn the decisions of policy-makers, as well as
the study of policy as a phenomenon for more academic purposes.
In this chapter, we recount so1ne of the history of narrative and its fonns, discuss
the possible influences of those fom1s in political and social contexts, exan1inc so1ne
of the challenges posed by various critics for using narrative as a framework for
analysis, and explain the value of narrative as a means fOr investigating cultural
policy systems. An important starting-point for this treatise is that the nature and
complexity of culture (and the arts as an important area of culture) introduce
significant proble1ns for the analysis of cultural policies, policy processes, and
outco1nes. In a defense of interpretive 1nethods for policy analysis, however, political
scientists Frank Fischer and Philippe Zittoun fra1ne the issue as follows:
Contemporary policyproblen1s facing govem1nents are more uncertain, complex,
and riskier than they \.Vere when the theories and nlethods of policy analysis
were first advanced. Often poorly defined, such problen1s-such as clin1ate
change, health, and transportation-see1n nlessier than their earlier counterparts.
Despite concerted atte1npts to identify theru, solutions to these problems are
missing. Traditional policy approaches prove inadequate or Jail. Indeed, science
and scientific knowledge have often compounded proble1n solving, beco1ning
themselves sources of uncertainty and ambiguity ... (Fischer and Zittoun 2012)
We contend that problems relating to arts and culture are equally poorly understood
and defined; thus, they also require methods that take into account theirinherent
1uessiness and complexity. 1''he problems of culture within the untidy, and often
chaotic, terrain of globalization and transnationa!ism are particular cases in point.
Some criticisins of narrative as a fra1nework for analysis, nonetheless, dismiss
its origins in interpretive or hermeneutical practices as mere whimsy, without basis
Narrative, Identity, and the Map qf Cultural Polic:y
in textual evidence or objective ineasuren1ent. It is true that the results of policy
analysis should not depend on subjectivity or caprice. We rnaintain, however,
that interpretive methods, while grounded in other values, inay provide the sa1ne
synoptic rigor as positivistic approaches. We find justification for a narrative
fra1nework in the very nature of narrative and the "narrative nature of hun1an
beings" (Sandelowksi l 99 l: 161 ). Specifically, we argue for a narrative framework
for analysis that makes comprehensive use of narrative theories and its fonns for
a full range of tools for inquiry in the cultural policy sphere. As an interpretive
device, we find that a narrative fra111ework allows for 1nany of the sa1ne benefits as
other interpretive n1odes. A distinct advantage is that they can reveal and suggest
solutions for analytic proble1ns that have typically been disguised in
conventional t.heory-and-n1ethod debates about objectivity and validily. These
analytic problems involve the ambiguous nature of truth, the n1etaphoric nature
of language in communicating a putatively objective reality, the ten1porality
and H1ninality of human beings' interpretation of their lives, the historical and
sociocultural constraints against which individuals labor to in1part information
about the1nselves to other individuals who, in turn, labor to listen, and most
significantly, the inherently contradictory project of 1naking something scientific
out of everything biographical. (Ibid.)
In the case of such emotionally and politically laden issues as globalization
and the social, political, and cultural narratives they inspire, interpretive 1nethods
serve a distinct purpose. We argue, in fact, that absent interpretive devices to
unpack a1nbiguities that trans1nit ineaning or the psychological and philosophical
dimensions of metaphor for constructing an action-inducing reality, deep analysis
of na1Tatives in or outside policy syste1ns is unlikely. While we acknowledge
the possibility of identifying specific quantifiable elctnents within a narrative,
we believe that to do so may sometin1es require a constrained understanding of
the tenn and the ways in which narrative understandings arc received by human
beings. In other words, while we do not dec1y the necessity of positivistic 1nodcs
of analysis, we contend lhat they inay be inherently limited in the context of
investigating the messiness of culture.
The practice of analysis in the area of cultural policy vvill tbercfore profit from
use of an interpretive 1nethod such as the narrative fran1evvork offered here. A
story, after all, is not a clock (Freeman 2003), and yet it may !Unction according to
an apparently mechanical sequence. To apply this wisdo1n to policy, we can expect
to find patterns and a governing logic that allow one to sort through the clutter
and still acknowledge the inherent untidiness of such a thing as culture. To grasp
a narrative analytically-whether it involves policy or son1e other area of hun1an
endeavor--requires understanding not only how it functions internally as a unit,
but also the values it transmits to the audience (or the values of the audience it
echoes), as well as the choices 1nade by the narrator as she unfolds the story for that
audience or, indeed, for n1ultiple audiences. Psychologist Donald Polkinghorne
History, Transitions, and Frarneivorks.for Analysis 39
notes that narrative competence-that is, "the capacity to tell Vo.
hethcr a plot coheres
and makes e n s e ~ .. is much like the ability to "identify i 11-formed sentences that do
not conform to syntactic rules" (1988: 20). We suggest that narrative con1petence
may also include the ability to comprehend meanings despite the presence of
surface errors. 10 continue with the exan1ple of language structures, we 1nay
recognize, en1pirically, that a tnistake has been made (a wrong conjugation of
a verb or noun/pronoun confusion) but recognize, too, that a mistake does not
always impede cominunication and that the \Vays in which com1nunication still
occurs (ho\v meaning may be transferred and relained) are myriad. A method
that can identify mistakes has great value. One that accounts for meaning despite
those mistakes has 111uch additional value because it accounts for the \vays in
\vhich n1eaning transference takes place notwithstanding the i111pedi111ent of real
or apparent errors. The value of a narrative fra111e\\'Ork is that it peeks beneath
the surface of both verbal and non-verbal discourses to capture the less obvious
1neanings that are part of the na1rative's structural undergirding. For our purposes,
a narrative fra111ework should accounl for the transference of cultural meanings
within the perspective of policy problems that occur sqarely within the myriad and
often confused contexts of lived lives.
A n1ethod encompassing the substantial complexities of narrative structures,
the pervasiveness of narrative in human behavior, narrative as a factor of human
nature, human understanding and meaning-making, and narrative as a persuasive
tool would see1n unwieldy at best and inuch too far-reaching for an analyst's
repertoire of tools. Nonetheless, our aim is to investigate how they can translate
into a fruitful analytic technique. As a starting-point, we suggest, as specified
in Chapter 1, that the analysis of narrative must distinguish between "narrative
as fonnal syste1n, narrative as ideological instru1nent, and narrative as rhetoric"
(Sholes, Phelan, and Kellogg 2006: 284) in order to provide a framework of
coherent value to the process of cultural policy inquiry. We ground our approach
in the understanding that narrative is a pervasive element of human life. As a
psychologist who has investigated the power of narrative so aptly states, "[W]e
do not live only in the titne of clocks .. [ vv]e also live in the time of stories"
(Freeman 2003: 125). Mark Freeman's proposition in the essay "Rethinking the
Fictive, IZeclaiming the IZeal" clearly expresses the meaning of narrative in human
existence. The real significance of narrative is that, once inside its perimeter, \Ve are
(although still in the real world) influenced by a psychic frame in which events do
not unfold in the sa111e way as they do in the ordinary cycle of existence, but rather
in a state in which nonnal conditions relating to the passage of time, the influence
of particular events and variables, and even causality itself are inisleading or
distorted. The past may be recalled with'an intensity that, for a mon1ent, occludes
the present, or the potential future may be unveiled as an almost-existent and
urgent presence, or the present itself is slowed down or speeded up depending on
our emotional response to the unfolding of a story with its moments of tension,
interest, compulsion, and seduction. Causal relationships may be presented as
having mythical or n1agical origins \Vhich are as plausible and real, in the context
40 Narrative, Identity, and the Map qfCultural Policy
of the narrative, as those that fall strictly in line with physical laws. This is true
whether we are in the fictional world of narrative rendered in a novel, film or stage
play, or as manifested in the ostensibly real world of policy events in which other
types ofnarrative unfold (policy briefa, documents, speeches, and declarations, for
example). The significance of these relationships is inherently difficult to measure
empirically, yet there is no question that they influence both social and political
behavior. Narrative imposes its own structure on our understanding of the world,
which includes the systems of culture and public policy. That the topic of narrative
itself is of some considerable importance can therefore hardly be doubted:
We arc living in the age of the Narrative Turn, an era when narrative is widely
celebrated and studied for its ubiquity and importance. Doctors, lawyers,
psychologists, business n1en and wo1nen, politicians, and political pundits of all
stripes are just a fe\v of the groups who now regard narrative as the Queen of
Discourses and an essential co1nponent of their work. These groups acknowledge
narrative's power to capture certain truths and experiences in ways that other
n1odes of explanation and analysis such as statistics, descriptions, summaries,
and reasoning via conceptual abstractions cannot. (Scholes, Phelan, and Kellogg
While the power of narrative is acknowledged above in a rather general and
abstract sense for reasons, we would argue, beyond mere cultural or intellectual
taste, it is also part of the argument that it can have real-world effects. In other
words, we suggest not only that narrative is a way of understanding the world (and
thus has value as an analyst's tool), but also that narrative is a way of living in the
world. A narrative framework can thus provide a map of human behavior both
outside and within the cultural policy sphere.
Given that proposition, it follows with reasonable logic that cultural policy
inquiry inust pay attention to the ways in which stories and storyte Hing influence
human behavior. lt must also try to understand how and why narratives function in
the way they do. We offer the narrative framework developed here as one tneans to
achieve this end. For those who fear that such an interpretive method will sacrifice
rigor to subjectivity, we point out that narratives (in order to be understood as
narratives) do not have arbitrary features but are structured in identifiable ways
that provide methods for understanding. Cultural policy analysts, rather than
sitting alone in the field, join many other scholars who find value in narrative as a
framework for analysis within a wide variety of disciplines. Literary scholars have
always seen the nature of narrative as one of their long-fa1niliar fields of study. More
recently, other disciplines have taken a long analytical look at the role of stories
in their local 1nilieux and in their respective discourses, especially in terms of the
non-rational elements that often override n1ore reasoned and rational analysis. ln
the next section, we look more closely at the fonnal, rhetorical, and ideological
attributes of narrative as a first step in showing how narrative interpretation may
operate for understanding policy phenomena. In particular, we are concerned with
History, Transitions, and Analysis 41
the logic of narratives, which operates on human understanding. If narrative, as
we have maintained, is a meaning-1naking set of structures, the logic supplied by
those structures, and the way it may be worked out by a narrative's audience, 1..vill
also supply meaning. That is not to say that the emotional content of a narrative is
not important. In fact, in many of the examples that follow, emotion is seen to be
a significant component of the narrative's logical structure.
Persistent 'I'ales
"fhc term "narrative," as we have shown above, indeed possesses a strong
emotional force, and the alternate term, "storytelling," even more so. As
professional storyteller Carol L. Birch has noted with respect to the latter, "the
word is appealing ... because it breaks through the chill isolation of contemporary
lives" (1998: 308). Nevertheless, it is also a matter of technique and practice.
Despite its initial appearance as a massive interwoven cultural form (all stories,
from all cultures, fron1 all ti1nes ), the nature of narrative is subject to certain
analytic fra1nes that, surprisingly or not, echo each other across cultures and tin1es.
This is not to say that all cultures deploy narrative in the same way, but rather that
human beings are narrative beings and some common elements can be identified
so that we can clai1n, with confidence, that it extends across nations and peoples.
What is addressed is "what it means to be a human being within a specific cultural
context that ranges from the highest spiritual aspirations of a people to a people's
most basic injunctions about living" (ibid.: 314).
The universality of narrative and storytelling, neve1iheless, brings so1ne
problems in its wake. It is the nature of deeply rooted and widely spread cultural
forms to become normative in the social and psychic environments in \vhich
people live. Although a particular story may be contradicted by established facts,
the logic of the narrative can often compel people to continue to believe it and also
compel them to action, even if their judgment is pushing then1 toward skepticis1n.
Indeed, in certain kinds of contexts in which narratives carry a heavy load of
ideological assumption, it can be very difficult to introduce any skepticism at all.
A classic example of this in the United States is the persistent and apparently
incurable presence of a story involving A1nerican soldjers being jostled and spat
upon by long-haired anti-war protesters when they returned home from Vietnam
in the early 1970s, at the end of the war in Southeast Asia. Although this story is
an ideologically infused urban legend without a sliver of evidence to suppo1i it
(Lembcke 1998), it is still widely and enthusiastically believed in conservative
and even simply 1nainstream circles to this day. On closer inspection, the ele1nents
of the story are revealing: it is always San Francisco International Airport (even
though troops returning from Vietnam did not fly into San Francisco, but rather
into various air force bases on the West Coast); the attacker is always a long-haired
male hippie-activist or a barefoot hippie girl in a grubby skirt; and so on. The
combination of these characters with particular physical attributes and the specific
Narrative, Identity, and the Map of Cultural Policy
location resonate well to lend an authenticity to the story that might not be present
if the airport identified were instead Philadelphia or Dallas/Fort Worth. When
these standard co1npositional elements are pointed out, however, those invested
in the claim of that particular narrative continue to assert its truth. Indeed, the fact
that this fictional account first appeared in the early 1990s, some twenty years
atter the incidents were supposed to have happened, is often likely to be ignored
by those whose world-view includes such governing motifs as cowardly hippies
disrespecting soldiers, and anti-war protesters \vho are either fetninized inen or
won1en who have abandoned personal groon1ing. What is in1portant to note is
that the story, though untrue, is composed of1notifs that ring true enough from its
audience's viewpoint. Indeed, narrative perspective is strengthened and reassured
by the telling and retelling of that !ale. The policy implications become evident
when we see that beliefs or attitudes formulated as a result of the story may be
applied in other situations.
Nanatives, of course, invite reflection, conclusions, and action. As important
as the factual ele111ents inight be, it is equally iinportant to recognize the e1notional
and persuasive force of an untrue narrative that is taken to be true. We might ask
whether it is possible for an individual to acknowledge the fictional status of a story
and still e1nbrace its e111otional potency as action-inducing in the policy sphere.
Or, does the narrative only engender emotional gains vvithin the everyday policy
sphere if its truth is undisputed by its audience? Such questions are a necessary
part of a narrative framework for analysis because we want to kno\v how it is that
the narrative and its structures deliver the einotional punch of truth to those who
are receptive to its influence. One possibility, which we explore in greater depth in
a later chapter, is that narrative speaks to our selves-to our perception of our own
therefore performs a function well beyond transfer of information,
ideological affirmation, or rhetorical persuasion.
As an exa1nple, we note that in the United States in the early twenty-first
century various statements about supporting service n1e1nbers in the n1ilitary have
often evoked complicated stories about loyalty and credibility. To say "I support
the troops" is to untOld a wide spectrun1 of possible tneanings from "l don't
want our military to fighi bad wars that I'm opposed io but l don't blame the
individual soldier," through "I vvant our inen and wo1nen in uniform to survive
their service overseas and co1ne home safely to their fa1nilies and friends," to
"I strongly support fighting the wars in which our troops are currently engaged,
no matter what the cost, and anyone who opposes them is either ill-inforn1ed at
best or, at \Vorst, treasonous!" Such fom1ulations may be implicated in culture
to the extent that stories about soldiers and wars are stories about who we are as
individuals and societies. More to the point, one can easily translate the above
principles into other kinds of stories with much the saine conclusions relating to
narrative perspective. For cxa1nple, "I like (support) American inovies" conjures
its own set of possible 1neanings suggestive of certain loyalties and identities
colored by the context in which it is uttered. The lesson is that persistent. tales
appear in a vvide variety of cultural policy contexts.
fiistory, Transitions, and F'rameworksfor Analysis
Oblique statements("! support the troops!", "I prefer American cinema") conjure
up narratives ofpatriotis1n, foreign policy, cultural values, professional careers, and
(often) issues of self-validation. We must note that this overview of possibilities
includes only the United States: to imagine the sa1ne range of expression in, say,
France, Argentina, or China is to conjure a multiplicity of other stories: narratives
that make sense only because very particular circumstances conspire to make
1neaning out of local experience and then structure it according to local expectations
of discourse and its values. A similar set of conjuring acts occurs at the 1nere 1nention
of ce1iain words that then stand for a whole range of meanings: Hitler, fascism,
communism, terror, human rights, feminisn1, globalization, anti-Americanism,
and many others. The narratives to which they attach need not be fully ai1iculated.
In fact, their effect may be heightened when the person introducing them allows
the me1nbers of the audience to supply their own narratives, in effect becoming
their own storytellers. The pressure to ignore, overlook, or bypass the constructed
status of such narratives 1nay be a natural product of contingent political situations
in which one set of actors wants to have a story simply accepted without being
investigated-policy actors who want to cash in on the warmth bonus but not suffer
the chill of objective review: thus there 1nay often be a level of strong resistance
to exposing the mechanism of a particular rhetorical account or proposition. The
ways in which such a heightened effect might influence cultural policy processes is
a worthy avenue of inquiry. The catalytic effect of a potent, but vaguely articulated,
story in fueling policy actions might be well explained by further investigation of
the particular \Vorkings of narrative fran1eworks.
What is clear, however, is that unique structural elements occur across a wide
variety of narratives. 1'he presence of a story and a storyteller, for example, is
required for narrative to occur (Scholes, Phelan, and Kellogg 2006: 4) hut that is
only to list the most basic ele1nents. At this juncture, however, it is enough to state
that objectively recognizable elements of narrative exist, can be identified, and can
serve the aims of the cultural policy analyst wishing to investigate cultural policy
systems through such a framework. A further step, as outlined at the end of this
chapter, distinguishes between the formal, ideological, and rhetorical dimensions
of narrative, and recognizes that narratives, whether self-constn1cted or introduced
by a narrator, function in ways that are logical to their audiences.
Vladimir Propp's structural analysis of narrative, treated in greater depth in
Chapter 4, operates through categorizing the body of Russian folktales. He makes
it clear that individual narrative functions have a logical causal relationship to
each other, so that their sequence is, in a sense, preprograrn1ned. 'fo that extent,
a narrative that disobeys the chronological sequence that hu1nan experience
has validated will appear to be anomal<ius or simply incoherent. The syntax or
organization of the story will be compromised, resulting in the content, never
entirely separate from the structure, suffering too. 'fhis does not mean, however,
that only a simple causal sequence or a simple chronology can ever be deployed.
Audiences are able to hold not only varied plot elements, but also different points in
tirne in their minds, and different situations can permit different approaches-for
44 Narrative, Identity; and the Map qfCultural Policy
example, a live audience for a political speech may not be as open to multilayered
exposition as will, for example, the audience for an academic lecture. Narratives
are necessarily fragmented and abstracted from whatever events, ideas, or issues
they represent. The particular arrange1nent made of those ele1nents is what
especially matters for the purposes of analysis.
The ideological question is something very different, however, and the
challenge is to understand what values, or value systems, a narrative is speaking
from and speaking to. Indeed, the question of values can be a very knotty one,
as a story 1nay conununicate several sets of values simultaneously. A person
may value the cultural production of her nation and wish to support it through
various policies, while at the same time enjoy, and even prefer (perhaps with guilty
pleasure) watching Ainerican films and listening to An1erican music. Moreover,
to expand Birch's comment above, storytelling can be used for various purposes:
passing on a set of baking recipes, for example, and fr)r keeping a cnmn1uni1y's
religious beliefs intact. It can be used for war or peace, for children or adults or
both, for pleasure and for moral pedagogy. For the policy analyst there is often a
certain amount of interpretive reading to be done, as most stories do not impart
their ideological consideration with tnathematica1 clarity. Jane Austen's novels,
to take a popular as well as canonical example, co1nmunicate a number of value
systems that do not always mesh perfectly (indeed, the fact that they do not mesh
perfectly is precisely why a novel such as Pride and Prc:;judice can be constructed
around a basic plot dealing with a clash of values): economic prosperity and
moral probity; critical intelligence and domestic affections; female hopes and
male a1nbitions. To say that the question of wealth is "ideological," for example,
and love and marriage not, would be to overlook the fact that values are not just
embedded in the public realtn but also in the area of private or intimate relations.
To distinguish the formal system tfom the ideological progran1 of a narrative can
ollen be a delicate task, but one that has to be done. It can also serve to explain the
failure of a policy narrative to achieve the perfect meshing of logical connection
while ren1aining persuasive because of its often ove1riding aft'ective attributes.
The rhetorical aspect of narrative is one of the more subtle subheadings we want
to deal \Vith. As a story is not only a fOrn1al system and an ideological instrument, but
also an enacted pcr:fonnance in print, on a screen or stage, or spoken to a group, the
question of the "how" of the narrative is i1nportant. The issues of posture, delivery,
and audience are not merely decorative additions, but structuring choices 1nade by
the author or storyteller. The use of irony or the avoidance of it, the presence of a
comic note or the absence of the same, the balance of descriptive as opposed to
discursive threads in a story are all the result of rhetorical selections and decisions
that the author or authors design "to favor an interpretation of reality" (Phelan,
2007: 82). For the cultural policy analyst, recognizing the structuring choices within
a policy system 1nay be particularly revealing in circu1nstances where readings
of experienced reality can have a significant impact on policy outco1nes. Indeed,
globalization and transnationalism are two good examples of interpretations of
reality where rhetorical selections have real-world implications.
History, Transitions, and f'rametvorks for Analysis 45
This does not entail the insertion of a value system as in the question of
ideological instrun1enta!ity, but invokes the relationship of the narrative to both
its authors and its audiences as a result of choices 1nade in how to communicate
that narrative, whether fictional or non-fictional. Consider, as illustration, the
following, which makes light of how jokes are recycled among comics, while
making a relevant point.
A young stand-up comic waits patiently backstage watching more seasoned
con1ics perform in a private club whose inen1bers are all also stand-up
co1nics. Because the jokes they tell are so well kno\vn, they need only state
their corresponding nu1nbcr within the canon. The first comic takes the stage.
"Tw-enty-five," she says and the roo1n erupts in raucous laughter. The comic
continues. "Forty-two. Eleven. Ninety-seven," she says and each nu1nber causes
another appreciative expression of mirth. A second comic takes the stage and
then a third. Each time, as they yell out the nun1bers corresponding to each joke,
the audience laughs. Finally, it is the young co1nic's tum. "Seven," he says.
The audience is silent. He tries again. "Fifty-six," he says, then "Eighty-hvo."
In desperation he shouts, ;'One thousand and nine." Each time, however, the
audience ren1ains silent. Crushed, the inexperienced comic exits the stage. A
veteran co1nic is standing in the wings. The green, young comic says, ;;I don't
kno\v what happened out there," to -which the old-timer replies, "It's all in the
delivery, kid."
The joke thus illustrates the way in which "the manner of presentation is altogether
more intimately connected with the content conveyed" (Lamarque 2007: 17). The
poor choices in "how to com1nunicate" affect the relationship between narrator
and audience and recall the more so1nber exatnple of West German _Bundestag
President Philipp Jenninger recounted in Chapter 1. As we saw, the gap between
content and narrative delive1y had particularly disastrous results on that occasion.
The relevant point is that narrative analysis is not simply attention to content or
form, but must also find \vays to account fOr interpretive elements like delivery,
receptivity, and context, and how they n1ay influence a policy environment or
policy process.
Another important mode of narrative analysis involves the question of what
is sometimes called the split between "story" and "genre" or "discourse." This is
a significant fact.or that requires some teasing out. The key issue is that no story
can exist outside a framework for identifying stories. We need to distinguish,
therefore, between the elements that mark the individuality of a particular story,
and the elements that determine the type of story that the narrative is attempting
to become. To take an example, a tale of a man and a woman making their way
across a dark field at night is, in and of it.self, somewhat lacking in significance or
shape. But as we, the listeners or readers, receive various signals as to the nature of
that story, we begin to assess it in terms of its genre: we use those signals to begin
to categorize what we are hearing. We sense a higher order of narrative discourse,
46 Narrative, identity; and the lvfap o_(C'uliural Policy
although we are perhaps initially unsure what we are receiving. We begin to label
it tentatively as a ghost story, a thriller, a travel narrative, an account of religious
experience, a story of scientific insight, or the beginning of a comic n1onologue.
We may sometimes be wrong, but the basic truth is that the meaning of a story is
deeply affected by the kind of story it is, or the kind of story we assume it to be.
Indeed, the tendency to want to identify the genre of story we are consuming in
print or oral form is, we believe, part of the central meaning of narrative itself as
a 1node of discourse and con11nunication. The example of Grand Fenwick offered
earlier considered how the same 1notif could be cast and recast as one kind of story
versus another. Is it a story of nationalism, of oppression, or elusive triumph? It
inight be a story of globalization, or one of transnationalism instead. The point
is that understanding what kind of story confronts us will suggest a range of
appropriate conclusions, ideas, or attitudes.
Precisely because no story can exist without some sense of the genre of story it
fits into, narrative is a model of enacting integration to a higher order of n1eaning:
we have to integrate narrative x into genre _X in order to understand that it is about
X and not about Y (or, let us say, it is xX and not x Y, the latter being an anomalous
situation where, for exan1ple, due to some confusion or misunderstanding a stray
ghost story found itself in the genre of travel narrative). Similarly, in the context
of policy narratives, our expectations of what kind of story it is depend on cues
introduced by the narrator through particular devices. Is it a story of struggle or
loss? Of political triu1nph or cultural despair? Once the particular genre is set
(or the cues are read by the audience) it becomes an additional asset for
understanding and making n1eaning. Violating the expectations set up by those
cues-"either intentionally or through the inexperience of the narrator-is not
to be taken lightly, as illustrated by some of the examples provided throughout
this text. To provide a further example, consider a story in which two travelers
begin in Paris, walk through a doorway, and find themselves in Bangladesh. If
the underlying narrative is a travelogue, the reader is perplexed (in the absence
of some very det1 word-craft on the part of the author). It may be important to
consider, therefore, whether, once established, expectations can be changed (and
under \Vhat circun1stances) to achieve particular ends. In the context of a fantasy,
the above shift in geography would, no doubt, be commonplace. How might
this operate for the cultural policy analyst reading a cultural policy narrative in
play? Detennining what sort of narrative it appears to be, given a set of policy
actors and circu1nstances, is an aid t{)r understanding the expectations that arise
for those actors within a particular policy systen1 and the eventual outcomes of
a particular policy process. Narrative shifts, such as described above, n1ay also
provide important policy cues.
Finally, an analytical approach that is of particular importance for political and
policy discussions and processes is the one that identifies and distinguishes "the
affective and ethical dimensions of literary experience" (Phelan 2007: 87). For
exainple, it has become a fairly standard proposition that narrative and other forms
of artistic expression carry ethical responsibility. Even if many would disagree, it
flistory, Transitions, and Analysis
is fairly uncontroversial to note that stories are not com1nunicated in a personal or
social vacuum, and that a narrative will insert itself into the mind of the audience,
subtly (or not so subtly) suggesting virtue here and vice there, arguing for love before
money, or free nJarkets be0re state subsidies, or class identity before racial identity,
and putting both problems and potential solutions before the reader or listener.
The term "potential solutions" is useful here, because the ethical pressure
within a narrative also acts in tande1n with affective pressure. A story about sexual
love may provoke some divided responses in its audience because the ethical
choice is not the same as the affective choice: to place oneself on the side of the
lovers as opposed to endorsing the marriage of one of the couples may satisfy
so1ne of our responses, while to take the opposite position will satisfy others. But
stories can raise issues that require the reader to 1nake sotne kind of investn1ent in
ethical choice, even if it is one that she is einotionally uncertain about. As Gregory
Jusdanis notes, the great "political potential" of narrative is "the capacity it instills
in its audience to create counterstatements" (2010: 70). The interplay of affective
and ethical drivers can push the audience into genuinely looking at alternatives,
especially if the narrative itself leaves certain elements open.
Equally there are n1any real-world situations in \vhich narratives trigger both
affective and ethical responses. In those cases, the diffuse sense that one must do
so111ething or take some kind of action as a result of the story, is the ethical drive
attaching to narrative. It is a very powerful tool and may trigger a deep-seated
sense of responsibility in the audience. The destruction of indigenous art, the
imprisonn1ent of musicians who have offended an oppressive regi1ne, and a poet
accused of religious blasphemy are exa1nples of such cases. One only has to look at
the concrete responses that arise to understand the extent to which such stories affect
both individual behavior and policy responses. Consider the well-told accounts of
disaster and survival, in which people give generously of their time, n1oney, and
sympathy, clearly feeling that it would not be appropriate to merely acknowledge the
powerful nature of the story and pass on to other things. In other situations, where
that ethical pressure is not actively present, audiences n1ay be 1noved by a si1nilar
kind of story but treat it as n1uch 1nore of an aesthetic experience than an urgent call
to action. This is not a difference bet\.Veen real and fictional narratives but, rather,
a distinction based on the ethical pressure of any given narrative-documentary or
fabulous. An example of the latter is the 1939 film The Grapes a/Wrath, John Ford's
film adaptation of the best-selling novel by John Steinbeck about migrant farmers
and their families fleeing the Dustbowl for the groves of California. Although a
work of fiction, it had noticeable political effects in tenns of a ne\v awareness of
econoinic deprivation in the United States, ca1npaigns to reform the syste1n of
te1nporary fann labor, and an angry backlitsh from big California fann-owners who
dreamed up national campaigns to challenge the authenticity of the stories. told by
the film. lf one were at all attuned to the message of Ford's movie, then it was
clearly an experience that went beyond the cinematic into political solidarity if not
political action. A contrasting example is 9111, the documentary about the World
Trade Center attacks by two young French film-makers, Jules and Gedeon Naudet.
Narrative, Identity, and the Map of Cultural Policy
1'he t\vo documentary-1nakers were on the scene that day because they were making
a inovie about how to become a New York fire1nan. The docun1entary, which drew
a TV audience of 35 million when it was broadcast in 2002, came about simply
because the filtn-makers happened to be filming son1e regular training near the
World Trade Center when the first plane hit the Nmth Tower. Despite its urgency and
the stark tn1th of the experience, it was inore of an affective work. 1"he film captures
the horror and devastation of that morning-the sound of falling bodies hitting the
WTC plaza was edited out, although it could be heard in an earlier version-but
remains an c1notional, also an aesthetic, but not a n1obilizing narrative. Again there
are, of course, so1ne ethical pressures at work in this docu1ncntary (as there is also
an aesthetic achieve1nent in Ford's nlovie), but the balance co1nes out differently.
What is relevant is that the affective and the ethical are factors to be considered in
real-world events. To the extent that they appear as narrative elements that can be
identified through an analytical process, they provide an important din1ension to be
considered by the cultural policy analyst.
Narrative Procedures
In the foregoing, we have laid out son1e of the rhetorical, formal, and ideological
attributes of narrative that, we argue, are essential to a thoroughgoing application
of narrative theory, as well as some of the historical antecedents, challenges, and
ways in which narrative, as a natural structure of human thought, may be integral
to policy syste1ns. Befi.)re we proceed with a more concrete outline of the way in
which a narrative framework might perfOnn the kinds of analysis \Ve suggest, we
must reiterate that narratives co1ne in a variety of fonns. Analysis inust recognize
that while a legal docu1nent, a set of instructions, a call to action, and a theater
dran1a are all instances of narrative, the way in which they are treated as objects
of analysis must take some account of their inherent differences. Tootler a banal
analogy, just as cypress and aspens are both trees, they thrive best when we attend
to their rather different characteristics. At the same ti1ne, we cannot ignore the fact
that they share many similarities with each other and with all other trees. In the case
of narratives, we 1night also differentiate between the fictional and the non-fictional
while recognizing that both are narratives and, like all other narritives, share scnne
essential qualities. Given the myriad varieties (of both trees and nanatives ), can one
tnily develop a coherent, usable, and useful fran1ework for analysis?
Given that all narratives share essential attributes, we argue that they are indeed
amenable to the coherence, usefulness, and facility of the framework outlined
here. Adapting the work of Scholes, Phelan, and Kellogg (2006), we suggest that
narratological analysis can proceed along the three axes specified below. Our
framework, however, is not a set of invariable 1nethods. Instead, the flexibility of
these axes pennits their application to a wide variety of narrative types as well as
to variations within each type. The process of analysis proceeds by identification
History, Transitions, and for Analysis 49
and expJications of the axial components, taking note of the context in which a
particular narrative occurs. We provide sorne brief exa1nples to illustrate.
1. The breaking up'( a narrative act or text (or both) in order to grasp hovv
its.formal or compositional ::,ystem enables it to 1vork
This entails asking what kind of ideological (political, religious, cultural, social)
commitments or standards the narrative is communicating, and how this act or text
is being presented to an audience (what is put in, what is left out, how the storyteller
validates her own credibility, and so on). The process entails metaphorically
holding up the narrative to a magnifying glass for scrutiny. Such a sustained,
interpretive examination allows for the identification of patterns (or of broken
patterns), of stylistic and logical constructions (for their possible relevance), and
of many other narrative elements that help uncover the comn1itments or standards
suggested above. Analysis of a written policy text is a good example of how this
first axis of analysis might operate; here, we consider the policy document Scottish
Executive Response on the Cultural Review (2006) to illustrate the ways in which
ideological commit1nents may be conveyed using one type of narrative form.
Drafted as a reply to Scotland's cultural review and produced by Scotland's
Cultural Co1nn1issio11, the docu1nent states that "culture is a vital ingredient in
Scotland's success, both here and overseas" (ibid.: 3), thus suggesting culture
as a kind of a thing that can be had or not had-an ingredient, which though
vital, could exist independently rather than as an inseparable component of any
human existence. Culture, in the context of this document, thus carries particular
ideological assumptions and is meant in the sense of arts and culture. The
document argues for certain types of activities within this category to be promoted
in Scotland and connects them as an a priori judgn1ent to the \Yell-being and
identity of the nation as a whole. It maintains that "the fact that personal views
vary considerably regarding what is good art must also be respected" (ibid.: 4),
though it does not make clear by who1n. The source of this latter state'ment is
given as "Quotes from the 'Elbowroom' visitors' book" with the explanation
that "Elbowroom" was an award-winning Scottish project relating to visual
arts education, during which "participants gave expressive shape to shared and
personal issues, negotiating strong, instinctive responses to a big public issue-
violence against women" (ibid.: 5). These compositional elements can be broken
up as ite1ns for analysis in order to see more clearly how the narrative, as a whole,
fonctions both to inform and to persuade. For example, citing the exhibit so that
it counts as evidence provides further ideological clues relating to at least one
policy intent, namely to secure accord 3bout the policy's larger aims. lt serves
to circumvent ideological objections for those who might look askance-.at even
the suggestion that the Scottish government vvas dictating preferences in art. The
policy frames suggested by the narrators gain added legitimacy by acknowledging
the views of a group of people (the exact number is not provided) who comprise
the public (and are therefore not the administration collectively or any particular
50 Narrative, Identity, and the Map of Cultural Policy
individual in the administration). The policy document gains additional validity-
as noted above-.... by its acknowledg1nent of views associated with an event of
some political resonance (raising awareness about violence against \VOmen),
perhaps suggesting that to oppose the policy's ai1ns is also to take a stand against
women. Despite the assurance that multiple vievvs on what constitutes art will be
considered, other sections of the document state that:
the proper functions of Government are: to ensure that cultural talent in
Scotland is recognised and nurtured, and thal excellence is developed as a
national resource; to promote the best of Scotland's rich cultural treasure-store
... (Ibid.: IO)
The document reiterates in a number of its sections that the "best" is what the
government will pro1note though, again, the reader has been assured that personal
views must be respected.
The brief illustration above demonstrates that ideological committnents-what
is put in and left out-its compositional system, and other underlying elements can
be read through narrative analysis even in the relatively dry prose ofa government
policy document.
2. The examination o.lthe narrative act to determine 1Vhere the distinction lies
be/ween story and discourse
To put it another way, this conce111s the distinction between the content of the
narrative and the fra1ncwork of expectations and assumptions within which that
narrative can achieve any meaning at all. The genre of the story, in relation to
systems of art and culture, is important. The exan1ple we suggest is the story of
artist as genius that emerged in the Romantic era and which continues to affect the
\Vay in which 1nany people continue to view artists today. ~ f h i1nage of the artist
as the lone genius channeling inspiration from some divine source gained strength
from narratives as diverse as Edmund Burke's discussions of the sublime, to the
in1ages of Byron on a lonely and windswept hill. It includes the notion of artist
as outsider and iconoclast. It can be contrasted with the image of artist as worker
and contributing member of society (Wolff 1981 ). This latter image was more
co1nmon before the Ron1antic era and is e1nerging, once again, in the present.
What we wish to highlight is that the story of art and artist can be cast as one of
ro1nantic adventure, or as one of sustainable domestic industry. The contentofthese
nanatives (the sto1y about artists that each narrative tells) conjures a different set
of expectations and policy responses. There are many indications that the popular
view of artist as ro1nantic figure contributed to the distaste that arose in the mid-to
late twentieth-century United States for providing direct governrnent subsidies to
individual artists. Policy actors, hoping to persuade law-makers and the public to
maintain (and, in some cases, to restore) funding for the arts found it better to tell
a different story, emphasizing artists as working, contributing me1nbers of society.
ffistory, Transitions, and }""rarneivorks jhr Analysis 51
Clearly, the discourse underlying each of the tale types noted above is decidedly
different, and might thus prompt decidedly different policy responses,
As an added example, one could distinguish, along several lines, betvveen
the story of art and the discourse of art (and likewise the story of culture and
the discourse of culture). Art discourses focus on, an1ong other themes, the
cultural significance of particular a1i: forn1s and practices, issues of inclusion and
exclusion, art-\11
orld networks as systems, the world of art practices, effects of
institutionalism, and so on. These various frameworks-including those aimed
at critical reflection about fra1neworks-engender different kinds of ideas and
expectations relating to art. In a somewhat sitnilar \Vay, policy discourses about
art where the distinction bet\veen a piece of art, the process of art, and the systems
of art are not adequately articulated may obscure the fact that different values and
expectations arise at each level of abstraction (Devereaux 2006), which might
then either foster or impede the policy process.
3. The question C?f the affective versus the ethical pressure that a story can
Affecti vc fra1ning has been shown to operate on ethical decision-111aking through
influences on the sense-n1aking capacity of individuals \Vorking to understand
dynamic and complex situations (Martin, Stenmark, et al. 2011). "Sensemaking,
as applied to ethical decision 1naking, is the process of recognizing key factors
influencing an ethical decision, integrating that infonnation into a working schema,
and applying that information in making a choice" (ibid.: 127). We argue for the
role that moral sentiment plays in distinguishing between an en1otionally n1oving
story-or levels of a leaves the reader or listener with a feeling of
completeness or reden1ptive reassurance, and a narrative act that inserts a certain
dissatisfaction, or a feeling that con1pletion is still missing, into the reader's or
listener's sensibility. The feeling of dissatisfaction or of something incomplete
has the potential to move one to action as a 1neans of resolving the dissatisfaction.
Narratives move us emotionally, and as beings who understand through our senses
as n1uch as through the di1nension of intellect, the affective holds an important
stature. Even so, we recognize the dangers of mixing emotion into the ethical
example, the dramatically told tale that fans the flames of the affective
into ill-conceived action. The question of affective versus ethical pressures,
therefore, is a final axis for reflection in our framework for cultural policy analysis.
As an exainp!e, narratives relating to n1ajor disasters, pleas for solidarity and
help, and the experiences of survivors of extreme, or at least harrowing, events
are all likely candidates for the tension hetween the two kinds of pressures. One
of the most -fertile sources for such stories has been the city of New Orleans in the
post-Hurricane Katrina years. Since the calamitous events of that su1nmer in 2005,
books, articles, filn1s, dran1as, docun1entaries, fiction, music, and political
speeches have been produced, all seeking to relate some aspect of l-Jurricane
Katrina's devastation and its consequences for New Orleans. Writers, musicians,
52 Narrative, Identity, and the Nlap o.fCultural Policy
and film-makers have occupied themselves with this compelling theme, but
their stories (and the stories of ordinary people) are ofien striking in the way in
vvhich the current state of affairs in the city overshadows any particular narrative:
unlike most stories about, say, Los Angeles, Edinburgh, or Singapore, the ethical
realization that New Orleans still faces significant problems and challenges,
related or parallel to those in the narrative, rises to complicate the response to
the pleasures of narrative and dramatic representation. Even if we are touched
or inovcd by a narrative, something in us remains unsatisfied if we know that
what we have experienced takes its power from a story that has not yet played
itself out in the real world. Indeed, there is a very curious trade-off between the
aesthetic or rhetorical qualities of a story, and the belief that the story is rooted in
a context of particular existential urgency: it tnay even be the case that there is a
particular intensity to the ethical pressure of a work that, in practical ways, takes
on the nature of an aesthetic. To be both n1oved by a story and also nloved to join
an aid project or write a check to the Red Cross is a very distinctive convergence
of responses. It is particularly relevant that aid to arts and cultural organizations
in the Katrina disaster area benefited from the same kind of ethical urgency that
motivated other types of philanthropy and relief, and likewise prompted policy
actions directed specifically at arts and cultural institutions in -New Orleans. lt is
clear that cultural narratives in particular--as they will inevitably trigger debates
about values-can reach audiences in such a way as to arrive at both affective
response and ethical decision-making that, in turn, affect policy. Jn the case of
globalization versus transnationalis1n, the affective difference is often pronounced,
particularly in cultural policy systems.
Beyond those three ele1nents is an instruction that is known inside and outside
academic analysis: trust the tale, not the teller. The imperative that is expressed
in that declaration is sin1ply to understand that authors, narrators, and storytellers
are hun1an beings with their conscious and unconscious agendas, but stories are
subtle and sometimes recalcitrant entities that often say particular things even if
their makers do not want to say the1n, or to say them in that way. A cheerfully
upbeat politician relating a tale vvith an accidentally grim ironic twist is saying
more than she thinks she is, and a parent recounting a moral tale to his child 1nay
discover that the child can find in that tale inore than just the proscriptive warning
the parent intended to deliver. ~ f h u s the value of a narrative framework, we argue,
is that it provides a means of accounting for the etfects of such recalcitrant tales
within the messiness of the cultural policy domain. The bottom line: never, in any
act of narrative analysis, contUse the actual meaning of the story with the ineaning
the storyteller intended to con11nunicate.
Chapter 3
Case Studies: Stories in Conflict
In the previous chapters we have suggested son1e of the challenges and intricacies
of narratives and the use of a narrative fratnework for cultural policy analysis. This
chapter looks at four real-world examples and one invented fable of the intersection
of narratives, discursive frameworks, and political decisions that not only have a
strong cultural dimension, but also take place within a transnational or globalized
environn1ent. It is also, however, a little set of what 1night be called instructional
tales-...... stories that reveal why policy is never merely a response to a set of precise
data but most often an attempt to both work within, and influence, a particular
unfolding of events. This is even more the case in the situation where two or
more sovereign nations, either in a transnational or global context, are involved in
such a way that the potential for a policy arena populated with multiple and often
competing narratives increases. In such circumstances, the question arises as to
not only whether the parties are telling mutually con1n1unicable stories but, tnore
i1nportantly, whether they have at least modestly overlapping frame discourses that
permit them to grasp the significance of each storyline within a larger, globalized
narrative, or whether they are inco1nmensurable and incommunicable for reasons
not only of culture, but also because they are discourses or genres that simply
cannot mesh.
The four cases we look at are: (I) competing Soviet and American cultural
policies in occupied Berlin during 1945-47; (2) the creation of the National
Endowment for the Arts in the United States in the mid-twentieth century;
(3) the attempted destruction of two ancient-and now UNESCO designated-
sixth-century Buddha statues in the Bamiyan Valley in Afghanistan; and
(4) cultural sustainability and citizenship in the case of the Hopi of Arizona,
These diverse examples were selected because they illustrate particular elements
of the framework we have described, including the problems of submerged
nanative assu1nptions and contesting frameworks. We pose the1n in terms of
conflicts in cultural narratives either because the narratives themselves were born
of, or engender, cultural conflicts, or because they are of contesting narratives
with no clear co1nmensurability between the1n. The first section, "Conflicts in
Cultural Narratives !," focuses on rhetorical and ideological elements embedded
in differing narrative assumptions that influence policy and political behavior.
"Conflicts in Cultural Narratives Il" looks at incompatible
where the narrative tJ-a1nes differ to significant degrees, with no one narrative
clearly able to assert itself vis-a-vis the other because they share no common
ground. Here we see, with some subtlety, the interplay of formal structures that
also proceed along ideological paths. We complete our case studies with a second
54 Narrative, Identity, and the A1ap Policy
brief installment from the tales of the Duchy of Grand Fenwick. Broadly, we argue
that use of a narrative framework, such as that ofTered here, has considerable value
fOr understanding just how these global and transnational narratives unfOld within
a policy context.
Conflicts in Cultural Narratives I
A Cultural Gambit: Berlin 1945
Our first example co1nes from a situation of crisis. This story goes back a couple
of generations to the end of World War II, and reveals how a profound difference
in assu1nptions about major aspects of life can affect policy decisions and, more
basically, even determine the initial recognition that a policy decision of so1ne
kind has to be made. Aspects of the story are told in Wolfgang Schivelbusch's
Jn a Cold Crater ( 1998), his study of the cultural politics and policies ofoccupied
Berlin, and others are drawn from The Cultural Cold War (2000), Frances Stoner
Saunders's history of cultural politics as an identifiable field of struggle in the
decades after World War II. The backdrop is late summer 1945, in occupied Berlin,
after the Third Reich had been defeated and the formal division of Gem1any and
Berlin into occupation sectors (American, Russian, British, and French) was
complete. The fragile and uncertain situation arose because each victor nation had
a somewhat di'fferent agenda, and conceived of its medium to longer-term interests
in Gen11any in distinctive ways. The Russians, under the Comtnunist Party and
the authoritarian figure of Josef Stalin, had endured millions of deaths in a war of
un1nitigated savagery, but within four years had rolled back the Gern1an invasion
to the heart of Berlin, v..
here the Red Army and, a couple of tnonths later, A1nerica11
and British soldiers wandered among the ruins of the Gennan National Socialist
project to conquer Europe and Eurasia.
After Pearl Harbor in l 94 l, the Americans had turned the productive power
of their economy over to winning the \var and had emerged, as a result, as the
strongest nation in the world. Plans for securing peace included the new idea of the
United Nations-precisely the global security concept that had failed so miserably
after the previous European war. Britain wanted to maintain its ernpire and its
influence in the world, as did France, which also wanted revenge for the years of
Nazi occupation.
Into this divided Berlin wandered Michael Josselson, a US Army officer
working with the Office of Military Government. Josselson ca1ne tTon1 a fi:tn1ily
of Estonian Jews who had fled to Germany to escape the Bolshevik Revolution.
During the late 1920s Josselson had lived in Berlin as a young student, and later
en1igrated to France, and subsequently to the United States. Josselson was in
Berlin by way ofwartin1e military service, like two of his collaborators, Nicholas
Nabokov, a White Russian e1nigrC to America and Melvin Lasky, an anti-Stalinist
journalist vvho can1e fron1 the Eastern European, Yiddish-speaking, itnn1igrant
Case Studies: Stories in Conjlict 55
neighborhoods of Brooklyn. All three of these men, incidentally, went on to
play a major role in the Congress for Cultural Freedom (CCF), a CIA-sponsored
foundation set up in 1950 to combat pro-Soviet ideas in the global public sphere.
Many on the Left in Europe, the United States, and elsewhere would not approve
of the CCF's history. The authors do not endorse the later political activities of
Josselson and his cohorts but are rather noting (as indeed Frances Stonor Saunders
does in her book) that they are significant figures because they realized, when
1nany did not, that narratives of culture presented a new challenge for American
foreign policy.
Josselson's perspective on politics and society included an appreciation for
border-crossing and 1nigration as shaping influences but was marked, as well,
by a continental European idea of intellectual culture. l"Iaving grown up outside
the United States, he often saw how the world-views of his new country and his
old continent differed. Josselson, Lasky, Nabokov, and others were also, broadly
speaking, of a political conviction that might be called left anti-communist. Like
other people of their background and generation, they were often to be found
on the liberal side of the spectru1n in matters of cultural values, education, and
econon1ics, but they believed that Soviet co1nmunism represented a great danger
for Western den1ocracies and their detnocratic ideas. They \Vere concerned that the
West, especially the United States, might be too naive about whether the Russians
genuinely wanted to continue the wartime alliance against Hitler. The two areas
of great difficulty-areas where the failure of Americans to grasp the nature of the
narrative was ominous-were cultural policy and denazification.
Even in the very early days of the occupation when a collapsed economy
with food and fuel shortages were niaking life a n1isery for civilians, the Russian
military authorities in Berlin were reopening the State Opera (all theaters had
ceased operation in late 1944). Not only was this a lucky break for actors,
musicians, stage hands and other theatrical professionals, but the reaction of the
Berlin population was one of approval. Despite the fear inspired by the Soviet
forces (in the early days of the occupation there had been many thousands of
rapes and other attacks on civilians), the Gennan population was clearly reacting
positively to this event. Other theaters were quickly given pern1ission to open.
This gambit was followed up by the opening, in 1947, of a Soviet "House of
Culture" that was more luxurious (and with better heating against the North
German winter) than anything that the British or the Americans had in their
sectors of Berlin (Saunders 2000). Josselson and the others recognized that the
Russians were gradually drawing Germans-especially those disposed toward
the arts and other cultural pursuits-into a perspective or i1nplicit narrative
frame that went something like this: despite the horrors of the war and the
violent hu1niliation of Germany's defeat, the Russians understood-better than
the A1nericans-that the Germans were a cultured people with an admirable
history. Just as in1portant, the Germans had n1uch 1nore in coinmon with the
Russians than either of them had with the alliances
56 Narrative, Identity, and the Map o.fCultural PoLiLy
A policy strategy can be seen within this narrative frame, strengthened by a
failure on the part of the A1nericans to grasp it or to develop a sufficiently coherent
and attractive fran1e of their own. In other words, it was not that the US authorities,
or people on the ground comprising the middle to higher ranks of fhe Office of
the Military Government of the United States (OM GUS), were lazy or dismissive
of their Russian counterparts' focus on cultural afTairs. It was that they did not
fully understand the frame within which they were operating. For A1nericans, two
purposes were embedded in the occupation: first, responsibility for the physical well-
being of the civilians in their sector, and, second, eradication of the Nazi element
from German public life. The significance of a particular approach the Russians had
chosen to emphasize----cultural escaped their attention.
1'he Russian gambit was somewhat unexpected. ()n the surface, its chances
for success might have seemed slight given that the Soviets were in some ways
much harsher than the Western Allies on the German population in the sector they
controlled. They were, nevertheless, confident that they could proffer a narrative
that placed Russia in the mainstrean1 of European cultural history while pointing
dismissively to the United States as a wasteland fOr culture. Disney inovies and
jazz music were, after all, conveniently stereotypical for n1any Gennans' views
about Atnerica. Beyond the anti-American feelings arising from the 1noment of
defeat was an older set of German prejudices about the United States that were
traditionally held more strongly by the conservative Bildungsbiirgertum (the
educated bourgeois establishment) than by the middle or working classes, namely
that the American experience was a racially and psychologically corroding one.
Further, the glib notion of aspiring to equality and citizenship as the highest
democratic ideal was something the Gern1ans were likely to reject.
The Russian project assu1ned three things: first, that an ostensible dedication
to the task of restoring Gennan cultural institutions would go a long way toward
convincing Berliners that the Soviet occupation meant them no ill will; second, that
they could convince the Germans that the future of Germany and its culture was
important to Moscow; and, third, that intelligent Germans would con1e to see that, in
the longer tenn, they had inore in con1mon with Russians than might have seemed
apparent in the weeks and months i1n1nediately after the surrender. The Soviet
cultural affairs officers were ga111bling that many Berliners harbored suspicions
that the way in which an American soldier (a mere enlisted man!) could casually
buy souvenirs, eat what he wanted, or take women for a drive in a jeep (or even a
private car) suggested that the United States was a nation of crass materialists. 1'hese
Americans might proclaim democracy and individual rights, went the narrative, but
their ideas lacked a sense of the deeper identity and inotives of a cultured people.
Fro1n the German point of vievv, this was in son1e ways an attractive pitch.
Left bereft militarily, politically, and socially with the defeat of Nazi Germany
and the death of Hitler, Germans were looking around for something-anything-
that would provide psychic support. The question of how to respond to the Final
Solution had not yet taken center stage. 1'he Russian cultural strategy held out
hope for Germans that they could overco1ne what were sure to be inonths, if not
Case Studies: Stories in Conflict
years, of humiliation and political subservience. The obvious way to proceed was
to disengage the Nazi era from the general flow of German history and to call
on Gen11any's artistic, philosophical, and scientific contributions to European
civilization as witnesses to the fact that although a grotesque turn of events had
indeed taken place between 1933 and 1945, it had not, despite all, invalidated
Gern1an cultural achieven1ent. l''he lZussians understood this need of the Germans
in a way that the Americans (with some exceptions) did not, and the "liberalism and
pragmatism" (Sehivelbusch 1998: 33) of their cultural policy decisions reflected
this. If the Soviet military government could get the educated Berliner to see his
perceptions reflected in Soviet cultural policy on the ground, rather than in what the
United States was offering, then the possibility opened up, in the inedium to longer
term, of a new Germany tilted more toward the East than the West, which would
be much to Moscow's benefit. The great advantage of a cultural war for hearts and
minds was that it was mostly positive rather than was nurturing
things rather than suppressing the111, expanding the1n rather than trimming the1n.
Indeed, the I:Zussians knew that if it ca1ne to an economic struggle for Germany,
they would probably lose to the United States, a confident, victorious superpower
and owner of a majority percentage of the world's functioning industrial plant.
In the area of culture, however, the Russians held a few cards, and knew it. Like
the Germans, they had a somewhat broader definition than the Americans for the
term "culture," which meant not only a society's artistic, literary, and architectural
achievements, but also the submerged n1ovements of a people's perceptions,
values, and character. Indeed, the Gennan word Kultur was often used to describe
a countervailing fOrce against civilization, pitting a deeply internalized shared
identity against the purportedly universal values einbodied in French civilization
or American republican detnocracy. A story of cultural brotherhood and of one
nation helping another to heal its wounds by focusing on its cultural strengths,
rather than on political tragedies, was a more attractive narrative.
'I'he American authorities seemed cheerfully unaware of this plan. Even more
significantly, they were unaware of the thinking behind the frame within which
a narrative of culture-numb Americans versus culture-attuned Gern1ans and
Russians unfolded. The United States became a victor in World War II in a way
that, on the one hand, had brought it much authority in the world, but on the other
revealed several assu111ptions embedded in the American strategic vision as likely
to cause problems in the future. One of those assumptions was that other people,
even a recently defeated enemy, were just like Americans at base; that once freed
of the legacy of Nazi indoctrination, they would be like Americans in their likes
and dislikes, their hopes and desires. Thus, OMGUS set about making practical
improvements in the lives of Germans in the American sector of Berlin. For those
who, like Josselson and his friends, saw a cultural front opening up with the Soviet
Union in Berlin and elsewhere, the problem was not simply to get OMGUS and
the State Departinent to free up some n1oney fOr cultural activities. It was more a
matter of making the nature of the challenge clear to anyone who might conceive of
culture either positively as fine arts and humanist thought, or negatively as merely
58 .Narrative, Identity, and the Map o.l Cultural Policy
a fancy word for entertainment. Viewing culture within a very li1nited sphere
seemed to be an intrinsic American characteristic in 1945, and the Russian 1nilitary
administration had the perspicacity to play the opening they had been given.
The other and related problem was the issue of denazification. The objective
of purging German political thinking of the ideas that had enabled National
Socialis1n to take power was iinpo1iant to the Americans in a quite distinctive
way. While the Soviet Union was interested in crushing any remaining Nazi power
structures in its occupation zone, it also saw possibilities in the disenchanted
junior party tne1nber who n1ight be reformed and turned into a suitable recruit
for a new socialist Gern1an administration. The British saw denazification as a
gesture that had to be made, but they wanted their sector of Gennany to be put
back together quickly with reliable political leadership. They were not going to
make an issue of former NSDAP membership for ordinary people, especially in
cases where employment had been dependent on a party card. The United States
took denazification more seriously as a political project, and was 1nore rigorous
in enforcing the security checks aimed at identifying former Nazis applying for
jobs, or seeking to retain one. Many A1nerican officers savv denazification as
a virtuous policy (and looked dovvn on the way in which the other occupation
powers were watering it down), completing the pron1ise of liberation that had
been so strongly expressed by President Roosevelt during the war. Nevertheless,
according to historian Frank Taylor (2011), the entire denazification process was
riddled with inconsistencies and political maneuvering across and between the
An1erican and British occupation zones, and as the process changed over time
within each individual zone. What is less well known, however, is the way in
which denazification created problems for OM GUS cultural policies at exactly the
moment it became obvious that some nuance was required.
A typical example is the composer and conductor Wilhelm Furtwiingler's
attempt to seek clearance from the Allied Control Commission (ACC) to continue
his career after the war. He tried forcing the result by signaling to the l ~ u s s i n
military government that he 1night well remove hin1self to the Soviet occupation
zone if it seemed likely he would be well received there. He had not been a NSDAP
me1nber, but his relationship with senior Nazis had been cordial, and he had been
appointed to senior positions in the Third Reich cultural administration. Michael
Josselson was able to intervene in the process and have Furtwiingler cleared by the
ACC instead. Later, he achieved the same outcome for hVO other me1nbers of the
1nusical profession, the conductor Herbert von Karajan and the singer Elisabeth
Schwartzkopf. For four decades after that, Karajan (a Nazi Paity member since
1933) was the "tmdisputed king of the Berlin Philhannonic," an orchestra that came
to syn1bolize West Berlin's cultural ffeedom in opposition to Soviet authoritarianisn1
and the oppressively sober society of East Germany (Saunders 1999: 15).
These few examples show the degree to which the American difficulty was not
only that the Russians seemed to grasp the meaning of cultural politics more readily
than OM GUS did, but also that the American occupation authority's own declared
principles in the area of denazification were running up against a problem. They
C'ase Studies: Stories in Conflict
could not exclude a whole generation of cultural produce.rs and practitioners from
national life and expect others to just arrive and take their place. For their part, the
Russian cultural affairs officers knew that the position of intellectuals and artists
in a totalitarian society was a difficult one, and a little subtlety was required to
assess whether these people were political dangers, war criminals, or just talented
but trapped individuals who had ren1ained in their country and tried to survive in
their niche. Americans came to grasp this a little too late. In contrast, Josselson,
Nabokov, and Lasky knew, like others who brought a European perspective to the
problem, that a certain understanding beyond the rigorous box-checking of the
denazification program was needed. If the United States was going to have some
artists and cultural workers on its side in the upcoming ideological struggle with
the Soviet lJnion, then recognizing the ambiguities implicit in narratives of art and
cultural production was something Americans would need to learn.
The broader issue is that narratives about culture differ quite substantially
from society to society, and those narratives contain values that can be recognized,
analyzed, defended, and replicated. Clearly, in postwar Berlin, the Soviet military
administration, at least in the persons of its cultural affairs officers, introduced into
the politics of four-power occupation a narrative about culture and its significance
that spoke to a place in the Berliner psyche beyond or behind the wounds of war
and defeat. The narrative, intentionally introduced into the political and policy
arena, touched on certain understandings that Berliners had about themselves and
their potential relationship with the Russians, which the former responded to, or
might well respond to. lt is equally clear, at least in the first twelve to eighteen
months of the occupation, that the US military government could not put an equally
compelling narrative into the field; and, indeed, the overarching problem was that
most An1ericans did not grasp that there was any such narrative in play. lt was
not, we emphasize, that Americans had no appreciation of the arts or of cultural
expression, but rather that they did not grasp their significance as a component of
policy strategy. The competing (implied) narrative they offered instead was far
less compelling for the reasons given here.
Eventually things changed, and budgets were made available for American
drama, for translation, for the American libraries, and for student and academic
exchange, but that was all a little later. In the winter of l 945-46 it was not so much
a story of the conft ict between two notions of culture, or two kinds of cultural
production; rather, it was a strange clash by night between an entity that had an
understanding of how to use culture for political advantage and another entity who
stood as if listening to a curious folktale in a strange dialect.
How Art Will Save Us All
By the 1950s the United States seemed to have become familiar with the dialect
that allowed some policy-makers to see the political benefits of a narrative based
on culture. The creation of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in 1965
was the result of multiple forces coming together at the right time with the right
60 Narrative, Identity, and the Map of Cultural Policy
combination of narratives to persuade the US Congress to pass legislation that had,
until that ti1ne, remained unlikely despite concerted efforts beginning in the earliest
days of the American republic. The NEA is an independent federal agency that
serves to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of
individuals and com1nunities. When one considers, however, that the country had
existed for nearly 200 years without such an agency, it is fair to ask why it suddenly
felt the need to create one in the mid-twentieth century. Here is the story.
The time is approximately twenty years into the Cold War. The setting is
Washington, DC. The plot, in which the arts figure as the central character, is the
creation of the National Endow1nent for the Arts. American artists are the minor
characters, who so1netimes emerge 1norc centrally. As the story opens, a group of
cultural elites have partnered with select me1nbers of Congress to push forward a
bill. The arts are positioned as a causal agent with the power to protect, promote,
and sustain the Ainerican \Vay of life against a variety of threats. Russia is one of
the antagonists. Others are the threat of technology and the specter of weakness
menacing the United States if it does not 1naintain its supremacy against its global
peers. Globalization is the narrative fra1ne, although the 1nid-twentieth century was
still too early for that tem1 to be in con1rnon currency. Countering the resistance by
many legislators to creating such an agency were pressures on the United States to
add culture as a component of its world leadership role.
In the preceding exa1nple, we noted the seeming antipathy toward arts and
culture, as aspects of a policy strategy, exhibited by the Americans in dealing with
postwar Germany. Whether or not the seeds of the NEA can be found, in part, in
the divided city of Berlin is not something we speculate about here. The idea of
war and a world gone technologically n1ad, however, were significant pieces of the
American narrative in the 1950s and 1960s, constructed in such a way to convince
the US Congress that creation of a federal arts agency \Vas vital to the country's
development and survival as a supreme power.
That the United States was concerned with world (or global) leadership in the
1960s is no revelation. That it pegged it<> aspirations in part to the arts, however,
is noteworthy. Post-World War Il prosperity and the Cold War that followed were
two good reasons for the United States to engage in competitive self-reflection on
its status ainong other nations. In 1965 these aspirations were strongly influenced
by its econo1nic and ideological co1npetition with the Soviet Union. Following
the war, US superiority in wealth, technology, and 1nilitary strength was obvious.
How the United States ranked as a nation of culture with the physical trappings of
great buildings, public statues, major symphonic works, great literature, ad1nired
paintings, and the like was another story. Curiously, it was not that the United
States really lacked such things, but that it felt itself inferior compared to other
nations. As Congressman Lloyd Meeds noted:
The great civilizations of the world have all established their place in history
not merely as great military powers, as great centers of comn1erce or as nations
possessed of scientific and technical knowledge. They have also given the world
Case Studies: Stories in Co11ffict
superb achievements in art, music, history, the theatre, literature, philosophy,
and stagecraft. We are a great nation. But \Ve have not reached our potential .
(Meeds 1965)
The tendency of other nations to agree on this point was what the Russians so
deflly exploited to narrative advantage during the postwar occupation of Berlin.
The generally accepted idea of the United States as the lesser nation in
terms of artistic and cultural accomplishments itself had multiple roots, and is a
phenomenon requiring closer study. The ultimately successful ploy that played
on law-makers' fears about the Cold War had much to overcome. Specifically, a
nun1ber of competing and well-entrenched narratives about American attitudes
toward the arts had been common currency at least since the nineteenth century.
'fhat these narratives succeeded in convincing many Americans, and others, that
they had no need or desire for the aesthetic is worth more detailed examination.
Early settlers from European nations would have experienced some of the high
civilization, noted by Meeds above, before their migration to the New World. The
architecture of monarchy and the many examples of patronymic public statuary
in European nations was at least accessible to the eye of aristocrat and peasant
alike. Churches and cathedrals exhibited their own splendors in varying degrees.
Religious festivals, folk festivals and pageantry celebrating kings and queens,
or at least ingratiating them through these means to a peasantry who might need
pacifying, provided many forms of cultural and artistic entertainment. However, on
arrival in the New World, settlers would have found considerably fewer of these
things on display, given the radically diflerent conditions in terms of population and
the built environment. The quantifiably fewer examples of art of all forms might
have been a contributing factor, therefore, to the notion that Atnericans did not love
the arts. Professional and fairly common in
the Old World but underrepresented (though understandably so) in the wilds of
the New. To insist that early An1ericans had little interest in the arts, however, is to
clain1 that they somehow lost their interest so1netime after their arrival in America
(a version of this, in act, is \Vhat some observers did clai1n, as we discuss below).
By the nineteenth century the presence of museums, public mt and gardens,
professional orchestras, opera, and theater in major cities and some larger towns,
however, vvent a long way towards ameliorating the difference between the United
States and Europe in quantity of cultural offerings. Yet, the notion of an America
sorely wanting in the n1easures of high civilization nonetheless persisted, thanks
to a number of prominent writers. 1'he French aristocrat Alexis de Tocqueville and
the American novelist Jan1es Fenimore Cooper are two cases in point. The former
famously commented on an apparent utilitirian attitude among Americans suggesting
their preference tOr the useful over the beautiful, and com1nenting also that>
[t]he political activity which pervades the lJnited States 1nust be seen in order to
be understood. No sooner do you set foot upon Ainerican ground than you are
stunned by a kind of tumult ... ahnost the only pleasure of \.vhich an American
62 Narrative, Identity, and the Map a/Cultural Policy
has any idea is to take part in the Government, and to discuss the part he has
taken in it. (Tocqueville 1899: Vol. I, 266)
Although his key work Democracy in America is a nuanced and co1nplex
report on the United States at the time, a more simplified version ofTocqueville's
theory of American attitudes to culture has proven to be particularly tenacious.
More importantly, however, Tocqueville's frame for understanding the value
and role of the arts in early America was si1nply not com1nensurable with many
American realities. ln this way, he was not unlike many other early European
documentarian writers. No matter how honest their attempt to objectively
describe what they observed, it was possible to miss many things because the
narrative frame Tocqueville and others brought with then1 could not accommodate
particular understandings of the American experience. One could liken it,
perhaps, to efforts by early investigators, such as Ptolemy, to reconcile empirical
astronomical observations with accepted doctrine. The world just couldn't revolve
around the sun-in their view--unless they adopted a con1pletely new fra1ne for
what they were observing. 1'ocquevi1le, like many other foreign writers, praised
some outcon1es of democracy, but couched this praise within a frame that saw
den1ocratic ideals as necessarily compron1ising certain human capacities. f-Jis
famous com1nentary on Ainericans and their inclinations toward the arts appears
in the following quote:
Detnocratic nations . will therefore cultivate the arts which serve to render
life easy, in preference to those whose object is to adorn it. They wiH habitually
prefer the useful to the beautiful, and they will require that the beautiful should
be useful. (Tocqueville 1899: Vol. II, 53 l)
If we accept his view, what seems to have occurred is that people arriving on
Ainerican shores were exposed to democracy and lost all interest in cultivating
the fine arts. In a similar vein, Tocqueville suggests that possibilities for scientific
accomplishment will also diminish within a democracy:
Nothing is more necessary to the culture of the higher sciences, or of the n1ore
elevated depart111ents of science, than meditation; and nothing is less suited to
meditation than the structure of democratic society. (Tocqueville: Vol.11, 524)
Unsurprisingly, no one seriously considers Tocqueville's views (if at all) in
1natters of policies aiined at science. Yet, in great contrast, in the area of American
arts and culture, the French writer's views are revered and apparently inviolable.
Acknowledging his ad1niration fOr Democracy in America as "a great book,"
Ja1nes Q. Wilson also insists that putting Tocqueville's fundamental views "in
context" is a necessary step when considering his conclusions about Americans:
"l do not want him to be a cardboard hero of American thought with all of his
arguments let! unexamined" (2012: 16).
Case Studies: Stories in
An introductory ren1ark about Wilson's article notes that \.Vhile "'l'ocqueville
understood democracy ... the founders understood America" (ibid.: 3). While
we may certainly question the founders' understanding as well, a relevant point
is that Tocqueville's interpretation of A1nerica "and the founders' vie\.vs differed
so profoundly" (ibid.: l 6) that we must at least entertain further scrutiny of
sotne of Tocqueville's conclusions. ln the case of art and Americans there is
much to reconsider. As a first step we tnight note that when measured against
an accepted standard-European art American, or indeed African, Caribbean,
or Mexican art did not, at one time, rate as highly. Nonetheless, no one today
would earnestly claim that African art, for example, is in some fundamental
way inferior, or that the aesthetic sensibilities or response of Africans are in any
way less informed than those of Europeans. Nonetheless, the n1yth of American
antipathy and inferiority in the arena of arts and culture persists, so powerful is the
narrative that has developed around this subject. Indeed, Tocqueville continues
to be cited as a relevant reference to explain arts policy in the United States
well into the twenty-first century, and, where not cited specifically, his views on
Americans' seemingly intrinsic utilitarian attitudes about the arts persist today
in many discussions of arts and cultural policy. More specifically, in explaining
why the United States devotes fewer public dollars in direct support of the arts
than other Western countries, Tocqueville and the authority of his observations
are frequently cited. The tact that policy-makers and citizens in other countries
1night also show leanings toward reducing or defunding the arts is not part of
the accepted narrative. Nonetheless, debates about the necessity or wisdom of
government art subsidies regularly occur in many European countries despite
a long tradition of support for cultural heritage, preservation of indigenous art
fonns, and subsidies for contemporary artists. Indeed, present trends suggest
that reluctance to fund the arts is part of a global movement toward fiscal
conservatis111 with roots closer to Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher than to
the times of Alexis de Tocqueville. Yet, the view that Americans care little for
the arts and that this historical attitude dates from the early days of the American
republic ren1ains entrenched.
Ja1nes Fenimore Cooper, the author of a series of novels celebrating the
American wilde111ess (discussed in 1nore detail in Chapter 5), came to much
harsher conclusions about !he United States and its antipathy to the arts than did
Tocqueville at roughly the same time. In "On Civilization" (1838), Cooper reflects
upon the state of A1nerican culture fOllowing a seven-year tour of Europe; he
returned to the United States one year after T'ocqueville 's visit. He writes:
America occupies a nJiddle place in the scale [between England and continental
countries like Italy and France], vY'anting most of the higher tastes, and selling
that species of civilization which inarks ease and improvement in the 111iddling
and lower classes ... They are almost ignorant of the mi of111usic, one of the most
elevating, innocent and refining of hun1an tastes, \Vhose influence on the habits
and n1orals of a people is one of the most beneficial tendency ... They are also
64 Narrative, Identity, and the Map of Cultural Policy
wanting in 1nost of the high tastes, and consequently in the high enjoyments that
accon1pany a knowledge of all the fine arts in general, and in much that depends
on learning, research, and fatniliarity with the world. (Cooper 1838: 163-4)
Cooper's thoughts on A1nerica, following his European tour, are
understandable given, once again, the comparably greater quantity of cultural
offerings in Europe versus Atnerica, as well as their superiority measured by
the standards of the era. Cooper, however, is much like the tourist returning
from New York who laments the absence of Broadway in Knoxville, Tennessee
(with no disrespect intended to the contemporary artistic offerings of that city).
What is important is that narratives like those of Tocqueville, Cooper, and
others influenced an understanding of A1uerican attitudes toward the arts that
in n1any ways belied reality. 1'he first American museums were established in
the late eighteenth century. The Charleston Museum in South Carolina was
established in 1773, and opened to the public in 1824. ln 1782 the Swiss-born
American, Pierre Eugene du Sin1itiere, established the American 'Museum, an
extensive collection of 2,000 prints and drawings, flora and fauna, Indian and
African antiquities, a book collection on the history of America, and hundreds of
examples of colonial newspapers (Levey 1951 ). A later natural history museum
was founded by Charles Willson Peale in 1786. Other developments in the
cultural sector include the American Philosophical Society, founded in 1743. The
Hudson River School of American painters, pioneered by Thomas Cole, appeared
in 1820, before Tocqueville 's American travels. By the late 1800s institutions
such as the New York Philharmonic (1842), the Smithsonian institution (1846),
and the American Opera Company (1886) had also been established. Literary
and cultural journals such as the North American Review ( l 8 l 5--1939), The Dial
(1840-44), and the Atlantic Monthly (1857-) were also part of the scene. The first
documented American perfom1ance of a Shakespeare play took place in 1750
(Levine 1988), and by 1835 (when Tocqueville published the first volume of
his travels), Shakespeare's works were finuly entrenched within the Atnerican
cultural lexicon. Readers of Huckleberry Finn will recall that the novel's ne'er-
do-well "duke and king" raise money by performing pastiches of scenes from
Shakespeare's plays. "That the presentation of Shakespeare ins.mall Mississippi
River towns could be conceived of as potentially lucrative," notes historian
Lawrence W. Levine, "tells us much about the position of Shakespeare in the
nineteenth century" (Levine l 988: 22). He further notes that Hamlet's soliloquy
recited by the duke "from memory," which is actually a quite elaborate parody,
also reveals a great deal about Americans' familiarity with at least one example
of high culture. To understand the spoof, he observes, requires recognition and
knowledge of the original lines (ibid.). The likelihood that Twain wrote his book
for young boys is also notable. [t suggests a sophistication and facility with the
classics not generally attributed to American children or adults of the period,
especially outside of metropolitan centers such as New York or Boston.
C'ase Studies: S!ories in C"onfiict
In contrast, during those early decades of the nation, many Americans were
clearly interested in arts and culture, and began, early on, to develop both formal
and infOrmal institutions for delivering them. Levine also notes, at length, that
American theater companies often re1nade Shakespeare and his plays more in tune
with An1erican values and interests in vvays that did not, however, diminish their
aesthetic merits.
'fhat is not to say that there was not a dearth of fOrmal institutions in many parts
of the country. These were largely concentrated in the east or in 1netropolitan centers,
and in any case were not as plentiful as in Europe. One might argue, however, as
does Levine, that accessibility to high culture in America, where available, was
not divided across class lines. Given the country's relative youth and its sparse and
widely spread population in n1any regions, such a dearth is no doubt due to 1nore
than simply a lack of interest in the arts (if, indeed, one could establish that such
an antipathy existed in the general populace). What the United States lacked in
fonnal institutions, however, was mitigated by the many ways in which Americans
participated in arts and culture, from public lectures and crafts, such as quilting,
to musical performance, not to mention the many indigenous 10rms of artistic
expression that obviously pre-dated European colonization. If the United States did
not compare favorably to European nations of the san1e time period, as 1neasured
against the European standard, it is nevertheless going too far to say that A1nerican
lite eschewed the arts. Yet, as noted above, such a narrative has persisted, especially
as a means of explaining or justifying both historical and present-day attitudes.
There were a number of other threads that told the story of Americans' purported
antipathy. ~ h e first was a distrust of the arts as a morally viable activity, assun1ed
to have been born in the Puritan crucible of New England and surviving in a great
deal of mainstreain American Protestantism (there are also Catholic versions of
this). It is worth noting, however, that art historians studying the early American
period do not typically see it this way. Indeed, extant material artifacts seem to tell
a quite different tale- that the Puritans in fact rather enjoyed embellishing their
do1nestic surroundings with a bit of decoration. The view of an American'- Puritan
rejection of the aesthetic is also not shared by religious scholars. Even if true,
however, such a perspective ignores that Puritan heritage is not the sole cultural
tradition passed down to n1odern Americans (the Puritan community, in fact, was
limited to a particular, relatively small area of the Northeast). The narrative of
Puritan roots for American attitudes regarding the arts negates the influence of
Spanish settlers (to cite just one example) who were distinctly not Puritan in their
aesthetic tastes. Nonetheless, the narrative thread of Puritan influence is quite as
deeply entrenched as an explanatory factor as are the views of Tocqueville.
Another thread is a negative assessme'llt of culture as a feminized and therefore
in1plicitly unmanly activity, found in the southern and western states w,ith their
powerful traditions of authority and patriarchal self regard or of rugged and
masculine individualism; the third is a growing dismissal of arts and culture as
unprofitable and at best inerely decorative, rooted in the strong entrepreneurial
66 Narrative, Identity, and the Map of Cultural Policy
culture ofA111erican business and amplified by the sometimes brutal shift toward
an industrial econon1y at the end of the nineteenth century. Yet there persisted a
notion that an identifiably A1nerican arts and culture required adopting a particular
point of view (a narrative, in fact). Literary and cultural historian Martha Banta
explains how nineteenth century discourse on the arts turned to the iinagery of
nature, setting "the language of organic growth over against terms overcharged
with mechanic references" (Banta 2007: 38) common in the industrial age.
This would allow, "the seeds of high culture," to flourish in America if properly
cultivated to avoid the rot and decline of the Old World. As Banta describes the
nineteenth century scene:
A11 commentary placed constant scrutiny on the tnoral qualities of individual
artists. Language of botany, n1ixed with that of biology and touches of the
nomenclature of anin1al husbandry, 1nake clear the itnportance of proper
breeding techniques. Once again, Italy's Old Masters were con1mandeered to
instruct the American public in right and wrong ways to advance the nation's
aesthetic reputation. Young in culture, although old in technology, America 1nust
not tnake the 1nistakes found everywhere in ltalian art history. A1nerica's artists
should not 1nerely edge toward acceptance as an equal by Europe's advanced
societies. They inust arrive at the point where they were different: different
because better, because American, because their art was manly and moral. (Ibid.)
Banta's account of the conflict around inatters of artistic vision and cultural
sensibility in A1nerica reveals that they were not just private narratives of
individual creative frustration. They embodied a public narrative that could affect
policy decisions about, for example, architectural co1n1nissions, public statuary,
and the aesthetic choices that, one way or another, have to be n1ade if a public art
is going to einerge. Such choices are issues of power, control, and choosing which
narratives will ultimately succeed. To select this public statue over a competitor
has the effect of telling one story and silencing others----0frecounting one version
(or one group's version) of America and effectively suppressing another.
Another important aspect of the above conflict is, once again, to be found
in early Americans' ideas regarding democracy and, in particular, the equality
among individuals that it was supposed to ensure. As expressed, for example, in
1\1emoirs of' an American Lady (Grant 1846) and other early American writings,
there was son1e concern that European arl (produced within an aesthetic and ethos
that supported aristocracy) would influence individuals away fro1n the high value
placed on equality. The need for a uniquely American art form (but what should it
be?) was therefore a given.
To that extent, therefore, it had been a significant n1aturing process over the
course of a century or nlore that enabled the federal government to conceive
of, and bring into existence, an actual organization whose re1nit was to develop
A1nerican artistic production to demonstrate its greatness in all areas of hu1nan
endeavor, not just the technological and commercial. Strikingly si1nilar argu1nents
Case Studies: Stories in Conflict 67
had been made at least since the nineteenth century. An article in The Californian,
an internationally distributed American periodical, to cite just one example,
pointedly re1narks that in order to succeed (and indeed compete) as a civilized
nation, the United States n1ust rise to the level of European endeavors in the arts
(Peatfield 1892-93).
The tenacity of the above narratives as part of the story of America (widely
accepted by educated Americans and Europeans alike) had a notable effect in the
policy sphere-for example, in delaying creation of a federal arts agency until
con1paratively late in the country's develop1nent. In 1965, however, two new
accounts were introduced that were cotnpelling enough to counter the earlier
narrative clai1ns. One was the idea of the arts and artists as saviors of hu111anity.
Another was the idea of the arts as a champion of democracy and its ideals. The
first of these narratives had its roots in Enlightenment thinking about the arts
and the Ro1nantic notion of transcendence, or the Sublin1e, associated with the
writings ofEd1nund Burke and other Enlightenment thinkers who saw, in the arts,
a means of both transcending the baseness and banality of human existence, and
resisting the corroding influences of technology on hu1nanity. Within the narrative
frame developed by those wishing to establish something like the NEA, artists
were cast as heroes who could save humanity from a host of both self-inflicted
and externally originating ills such as com1nunis1n and fascis1n on the ideological
front, technology and its possible dangers on another, and the related potential fOr
humans (or Americans, in this case) to fall into a barbarous state if some immediate
ineasures were not taken. Americans in the Cold War feared both conquest by an
authoritarian power and technological destruction fro1n nuclear bombs and other
machines of war. Frightening predictions of the future were part of the narrative
terrain of the mid-twentieth century. Technological nighttnares of science gone
awry as recounted in fictions like George Langelaan's "The Fly" (1957) and Pierre
Boulle's Planet of the Apes ( 1963), as well as in novels like Richard Condon's
The Manchurian Candidate ( 1959) where good American soldiers were turned
into tools for A1nerican destruction through brainwashing, fueled American fears.
1he specter of technology was particularly threatening because of its potential to
subve1i dcrnocracy as we!! as to destroy both human life and our very hun1anity.
Rather than becoming noble beings through art, in the Romantic ideal, technology
1night render us no 1nore than beasts or automatons, in service of totalitarian ideals
instead. l''he arts \Vere positioned in the NEA policy narrative as an exe1nplary
antidote: they appealed to what was good in humankind rather than what was base;
the life of Socrates instead of swine. 1'hus there was a distinct ethical cast to the
narrative that included aspirations toward human excel ience within the strictures
of civil society. The "arts as savior" na1T<itive put forward the optimistic view that
human beings could achieve the lof\ier goal of utopia rather than dystopia. The
popular novel Fahrenheit 451 (Bradbury 1953), incidentally, gave us a glimpse
of a world without art, and it was in every way as dystopian in its bleakness,
debasement of human dignity, and threat of totalitarian rule as the backers of the
NEA might have imagined was possible in reality.
68 Narrative, Identity, and the Map o_fCuitural Policy
The story as laid out above gained force through ideological sparring with Russia.
The Cold War turned issues of democracy and, very markedly, freedom of speech
into ainmunition. The aiis, a freedom of speech issue ne plus ultra, were drafted to
the cause. The suppression of art in Germany prior to World War II, and in Soviet
Russia, led to a wave ofrefogees to both the United States and Europe, and provided
a population of artists-notably in cinetna-who could translate these fears into
creative expression for the consumption of an already fearful public. The fact that
artists and other intellectuals sought refuge in the United States bolstered the notion
of the country as a place of freedom where artistic expression could flourish. The
fact that some of what passed tOr art did not appeal to mainstream tastes was not
ignored, and the very observant might have guessed how the tale would eventually
unfold. For the tin1e being, however, it was a forceful and compelling narrative.
During World War ll, then in tits and starts in the period immediately following,
the United States tried to use artists and artistic production to its advantage. It
organized diplomatic progra1ns aiined at displaying American cultural wares
abroad. The founding of the \JS lnformationAgency in 1953, in particular, gave an
institutional framework for a sustained agenda of cultural diplomacy. The state's
role in these progra1ns has been characterized, by so1ne, as propagandistic in intent
(Taylor and Baressi 1984). Indeed, the goal was not simply to sbow American
accomplishments in the cultural field, but equally to tout American democracy in
the form of artistic freedom-another kind of glorification of the American state.
"[T]hroughout the fifties, the government saw the propaganda value of circulating
throughout the world the kind of brash and inventive American art that was
drawing the attention of Europe" (Brenson 200 l: 6). In other words, the arts were
used to contrast the American way of life in which freedo111 of expression could
flourish, with a non-democratic (for example, Soviet or Nazi) way oflife in which
art and tfee expression were either suppressed, or were used in propagandistic
ways by the state to exploit or manipulate its people. In essence, they succeeded in
standing Tocqueville's argument on its ear.
We inust note that the Soviet Union also used art, to contrast the corrupt
and decrepit nature of capitalism with the vigor and purity of communism. The
larger project of Soviet c'Ultural policy was, one could say, the goal of reconciling
socialist state power with the inheritance of nJainly European humanist values
(Caute 2003). This obvious aim of the United States' leading Cold War opponent
may have reinforced the Ainerican narrative point of view, which could counter
that, while American de1nocracy celebrated the autonomy of the artist and free
expression, repressive states like the Soviet Union restricted free expression and
forced artists into service for the state. On the US side, the autonomy of artists
was a key component of An1erica 's narrative and it-; desire to see democracy
spread. Giving artists full rein in their means of expression de1nonstrated that the
state could flourish because of, and not in spite ot: such freedo1n. Nevertheless,
it should be noted that the US government was never entirely comfortable with
the autonomy it granted to artists: "the arts were considered possibly dangerous
ground for the Congress to get into" (Biddle, quoted in Brenson 2001: 8).
Case Studies: Stories in Conflict
ln sun1, the United States viewed the arts, in this context, as a means of achieving
several i1nportant ends: first, the expansion of A1nerican influence especially
regarding the ideals of de1nocracy; second, the reinforcement of de1nocratic ideals
at home; and, third, the counteraction of the negative effects of uncontrolled
technology. An interesting narrative twist occurred alter the collapse of the Berlin
Wall, however. If artists and the arts served the role of hero in the above-described
narrative, such a twist was almost inevitable. It came in the form of a fall fro1n
grace from which the arts in the United States have yet to fully recover.
An1erican artists, even those who took part in the cultural diplomacy aims of
the US government, were often critics of the state; they used their art to voice
criticism of the United States and its policies. It was a mistake, therefore, in
some people's view, to think of artists as appropriate ambassadors for American
democracy abroad. It should also be noted that while artists were cast in the role
of helping the United States spread democracy, they seemed strange messengers
with regard to the glories of American capitalisn1, a key feature of American
den1ocra.cy according to n1any. While there are notable exceptions in the combined
art world of painting, sculpture, theater, literature, music, and dance, the concept
of a wealthy artist could be considered as one composed of contradictory tenns.
"Starving artist," in fact, has been the more common formulation. 'fhe artist
who loves art and its creation more than money, or indeed shelter and food, is
a well-established archetype and served the "art will save us all" narrative quite
well. Artists' natural disdain (according to the narrative) of mere money was
their immunity against its corrupting influences. At least one conception of
Americanism is that individuals work for their own economic advancement rather
than for the benefit of the community or the state. In contrast, artists were thought
to favor humanistic ideals over their own individual gain. Art itself provided
sufficient sustenance for people of such rarefied talents. It was the fact that artists
stood apart from a society dominated by the pursuit of wealth that made them
ideal images for the betterment of mankind. The NEA's Declaration of Pmpose
alludes, in fact, to a purpose higher than 1naterial advancement \Vhen it states that
leadership cannot rest solely on the superior wealth and technology of the United
States, but rather requires superiority in the realm of ideas and the spirit. "Because
artists .. , were not seduced and corrupted by money," the argument went, they
remained morally and spiritually pure. They were needed by society, therefore,
to counter "the obsession [with money], which was threatening to undermine the
moral and spiritual purpose [that] America had to maintain if it was going to be
equal to the challenges it faced at home and abroad" ( Brenson 2001: 3). The artist
as protector of morals, therefore, is another significant ele111ent of the narrative.
As "outsiders" to moral corruption theY were cast as torchbearers on the path
toward higher humanity. Artists could not only help the United States expand the
influence of democracy abroad, but also deepen its influence at home.
In the end, however, the United States lost faith with its artists-no doubt
because the pedestal they were made to stand on was raised too high. The narrative
in \vhich art and artists saved us did not quite pan out in reality. 1'he trust the
70 .l\Tarrative, Identity; and the Jvfap Policy
United States invested in artists as leaders in the march towards its si1nultaneously
hegemonic and lofty human goals had been broken. One explanation is that this
view of artists cru111bled in the face of the many excesses of1nodcrn art. 1'he NEA
\Vas established at a time when the arts were both the catalyst and the product of
cultural revolution in the United States and Europe that challenged what could
be counted as art, the role of art in society, the moral di1nensions of art, and (in
some views) the wisdom of free expression. The kind of art produced in the
period (in all its outrageous glory) ran counter to the kinds of ideals invested in
art and artists by the public, law-makers, and NEA legislation. In the face of art
that celebrated obscenity, nudity, or social and political critique it beca1ne hard to
argue that ennobling goals such as those envisioned in creating the N'EA could
actually be achieved. ln fact, an en1erging narrative contended that such excesses
of art could only work counter to those goals and should be seen as contrary to
A1nerican values. Art critic Michael Brenson notes that Congress was "more
comfortable with the belief that art was ennobling and transcendent" (2001: 21 ),
but the dominant trend in the arts seemed to put a lie to that view. The discovery
that n1any artists inight be s\vaycd by money, and indeed have monetary gain as a
central goal in creating art, also disrupted the narrative ideal.
By 1989, the so-called Crisis Years of the arts were in full S\ving. It was in fact
a noteworthy year. In January, the US Congress passed a resolution prohibiting
"willful and knowing contempt" for the An1erican flag. In March, an art\vork
entitled What is the Proper Way to Display a U.S. Flag? was exhibited at the
Art Institute of Chicago and drew protest fro1n hundreds of Vietnam veterans and
others. Jn May, Andres Serrano received a grant for his controversial work f>fss
Christ, which gave fuel to anti-arts-funding advocates. In June, controversy over
Robert Mapplethorpe's work, The Perfect Moment, caused the Corcoran Gallery to
cancel its exhibit. In July, an amendn1ent introduced by the conservative southern
senator Jesse Hehns (known, therefore, as the Helms A1nendment) sought to
prohibit the use of NEA fllnds to support art dee1ned obscene, or indecent, or
that denigrated a particular religion. On November 8, 1989, NEA Chairperson
John Frohn1nayer revoked a grant to a New York gallery because of its exhibition
about All)S entitled "Witnesses: Against Our Vanishing." On Noven1ber 9, the
Berlin Wall ca1ne do\vn and, with it, one of the key motivating argu1nents for
federal support of the arts. "After the Cold War ended in 1989, the willingness of
Congress to tolerate NEA support for fiee expression, and with it for contemporary
art values, disappeared" (Brenson 200 I : 21 ).
The United States did not abandon its goals of world leadership and expansion
of democratic ideals following the collapse of the Wall. It was no longer inclined,
however, to see support of the arts (n1orally, tnonetarily, or politically) as necessary
to achieving these goals. The symbolic role of the arts and concerns about artistic
free expression were less in1portant by the end of the Cold War. At the sa1ne
titne, ccono111ic and dip!o1natic strategies gained ground. As a1nbassadors of the
A1nerican way of life, global expansion of A1nerican business interests seen1ed
to serve the state's interests far better than the arts. Other kinds of freedom, such
Case Studies: Stories in C'of!flict 71
as economic expansion through globalization and trade, political freedon1 (free
elections and citizen participation in governance), the easing of restrictions on
doing business abroad, religious frcedo111, rights for women, and the liberating
effects of education and the easing of restrictive social traditions, became the new
strategy for championing A1ncrica abroad.
At the same time as the United States was losing its faith in the aiis as a way
of achieving its diplomatic goals, the view of technology as a threat requiring
the arts as an antidote had also retreated. Technology, today, is not the same
demon presence that it was for Americans in the post-World War II period. It has
become far more pervasive in daily life, and, despite the many infringements on
privacy, the technological advancements in war, torture, and i1nprisonn1ent, and
the spectacular failures that have resulted in the disasters at Three Mile Island,
Chernobyl, and Bhopal, and the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, we are now far less
critical of technology than we once were (we are, in fact, quite enamored of it).
l ndeed, much of what we feared from technology during the Cold War has since
come to pass. Nonetheless, artists, today, along vvith everyone else, are more ready
to welco1ne the advantages of technology than decry its risks. The irony is that the
destructive po\ver of technology and the specter of its potential as an Or\vellian
tool of repression are n1uch greater now than when the NEA \Vas created. Even
so, Americans see1n to have reconciled the good of technology with the bad, and
images of the evils of technology are far less prevalent, even in the arts. Policies
relating to technology, in fact, are nowadays inore likely to favor the interests of
companies and government rather than the protection of individuals.
Absent the faith in, or need for, such lof\y goals and ends to be achieved
through the arts, public-funding advocates lost ground, therefore, in convincing
law-makers and the public that despite the excesses of the arts, they still fulfilled
identifiable and necessary ends. In the 1990s a significant shift took place. The
arts co1nn1unity took stock of its situation and decided that practical, rather than
lofty, ain1s would convince lavv-rnakers to continue public support of the arts. Two
rather different narratives \Vere introduced, based, however, on more measurable,
instrumental aitns rather than moral or spiritual benefits. 'foday, the argument
fOr the arts as a societal necessity is premised on ways in which participation in
the arts fulfills measurable econon1ic goals such as stimulating local economies
through creative industries and supplying the kind ofworkfOrce that can meet the
challenges for creativity and innovation that help the United States compete in a
global marketplace. Alternatively, they are based on the promise of particular social
benefits, such as quantifiable success on standardized tests for schoolchildren as
the result of exposure to-or participation in-the arts, and positive socialization
for at-risk youth, or for special needs populations. It seems that the notion of art
and artists in service to the state (whether at the national, state, or local) is no
longer such a frightening prospect.
Since then, hovvever, the federal agency and many state a1is agencies in the
United States have suffered from politically motivated budget cuts. Funding for
arts and culture, as noted above, now foUows a di'flCrent that puts
72 Narrative, and the Map o.fCultural Policy
service to a com1nunity at the center. Another especially compelling narrative, to
government and private funders alike, is that of artists working v:,rith children; it
necessarily precludes, coincidentally, work that may be outrageous or offensive.
The narrative of arts as economic catalyst has also been warn1ly e1nbraced. While
we are in favor of the integration of art and artists into daily life, and do not dispute
the positive influences artists can have in working with children or for stimulating
an economy, we note that the n1ore heady days of free expression in the arts, fueled
by government support, have mutated into something distinctly tamer.
ln conclusion, we argue that the politics of arts policy is a story of the
fra1neworks for the story of art. Two approaches are visible, rooted in their own
explanatory frame: one is the tale of artistic developn1ent as a struggle against
social hostility and antithetical value systems-often waged in a very personal
and subjective way, sometimes inore collectively-and the other is the story of the
taming of creative energies in service to the state. ln his study of modern American
fiction Morris Dickstein (2002) uses a short fable by Franz Kafka to illustrate a
central thesis: that post-World War II A1nerican fiction started out as disturbing
and transgressive, but was eventually domesticated by changing the circumstances
in which these authors and their works appeared (2002: 75). The Kafka original is
only one sentence long, but subtly implies a longer story as it tells of the leopards
that keep nmning into a temple and drinking the holy liquid the monks keep there,
until the day their appearance can be calculated in advance, and they are 1nade
into part of the temple's ritual. This little narrative and the tum that Dickstein's
book gives it reflect our argument here: the story of the National Endowment
for the Arts is, in important ways, a si111ilar fable about integrating leopards by
changing the framework of the leopards' appearance from an invasion by strange
and often scarily unpredictable creatures into an exciting, but regularly scheduled
and managed, performance.
Conflicts in Cultural Narratives II
Sacred Ground versus the Culture of Man
The preceding cases presented cultural narratives where conflicts arose through
efforts to gain the hearts and 1ninds of publics in transnational circun1stances.
The case of Berlin was situated in the transnational space of post-World War II
where occupying forces jockeyed for influence and control. A savvy narrative
construction by the Ilussians bridged a cultural gap that the A1nericans struggled
to cross. In the case of the NEA, an effective narrative about global threats to
American life created a rallying point for establishing a federal agency for the
arts but ultimately broke down as other, conflicting na1Tatives gained strength.
1'he following two cases are also stories of transnational conflicts of culture
emerging around a particular set of issues. ln these cases, the conflicts result from
the incummensurability of narratives where one na1Tative frame trun1ps another or
Case Studies: Stories in Coriflict 73
where one policy-premised on the general acceptance of narrative elements-
thwarts another's ain1s.
'fhe case of the destruction of the two massive sixth-century Buddha statues
in Bamiyan Valley in central Afghanistan, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since
2003, is an example of what happens when two narratives cannot connect in any
manner because the nature of one narrative framing has the power to invalidate all
competitors. Although our book is, iu many ways, a call to understand and engage
in con1rnunication via narrative, and an account of how human beings have always
done that in different ways, the fact remains that particular circu1nstances can
arise in which any mutual understanding is unlikely to develop and engagement
is essentially fruitless. We add as a necessary context that, at the time of writing,
there is design and reconstruction work going on in Afghanistan, supported by the
Afghan government, to eventually rebuild the statues in their traditional location,
despite political uncertainty and fragile security.
To say "essentially fruitless" is to invoke two kinds or situation in which a
serious clash of frameworks of understanding can occur: one \Ve might call the
conflict of stories; the other is the conflict of discourses or genres. The conflict of
stories is \.Vhere the values embedded in a particular narrative are so well rooted
or so intensely held that a challenge on the basis of factual evidence, for example,
is not suflicient to alter the narrative. Good examples include the political legend,
unsupported by any evidence, of protesters spitting on Vietnam veterans discussed
earlier, or the case of Americans and their (allegedly) historical antipathy to the
arts. It is an ideological division, but also in n1any respects a rational division,
\.Vhich can be easily identified as such. A conflict of discourses is quite another
thing, however; here, the division arises as a result of divergent underlying
structures, in this case between one with a theological basis and one without.
In Afghanistan in the 1990s the chaos and violence that had accompanied the
Soviet Union's decade-long intervention in that country was followed, subsequent
to the withdrawal of Russian military forces after the collapse of the Soviet Union,
by an even more deadly 1nulti-sided civil war between regional and ethnic forces
and powerfol clans who had cast their lot with one side or another. In this bleak
and hopeless situation, the inilitary and political victory of a force representing
radical political Islamism, the Taliban, was welcomed by many Afghans who were
now willing to accept their extren1e religious views if only they \VOuld bring some
peace and respite to the country after years of armed conflict and uncontrolled
criminality (Migeaux 2007).
The assumption of power in a wrecked Afghanistan also opened the way to
the establish1nent of various types of residential or training camps tOr the Islamist
guerrilla fighters (Mujahedeen) who had come from various parts of the Arab and
Muslim world in the late J 980s to fight the Russians and subsequently to ass.isl in an
Islamic takeover of Afghanistan. Although not always welcomed by Afghans, the
"Arabs," as they were generically known, were acknowledged to have been tough
and relentless fighters, and they had made many connections in the years they spent
there. Jn particular, the network of money and terrorist training financed by the
74 Narrative, Identity, and the Map qf Cultural Policy
Saudi lslamist and anti-Soviet guerrilla Osama Bin Laden, which had previously
relocated to Sudan, returned to Afghanistan around 1996. This network would later
become known worldwide as Al-Qaeda, or "the base." As things turned out, the
collapse of the central state's structures of power and channels ofauthority-which
had never been particularly powerfol in any case-led to the opportunity for which
a radical and, significantly, transnational political lslarnism had been searching: the
opening to translate Islamic edicts of a strikingly purist nature into public policy
(Wright 2011: 261-2). This had the effect of dissolving any concept of separate
religious and civil spheres and turning the courts, and the law in particular, into
a tool of theocratic leadership. In Kabul, the Afghan capital, theologically-based
Shari'a law was installed at the level of constitutional and legal authority.
The situation regarding the Buddha statues-in reality, massive bas-relief
figures carved into the mountainside--is often portrayed as a set of extre1ne, but
internally unproblen1atic, moves toward their planned destruction. The reality,
however, was more complex. Although a couple of radical Jsla1nist leaders
called for the statues to be blown up immediately after the Taliban took power
in 1996, their leading figure and head of the newly formed Supreme Council,
Mullah Muhammed Omar, initially recommended that the statues be preserved on
two grounds: first, that there were no Buddhists left in Afghanistan so the statues
would not be worshipped (hence no direct offense toward Islam would be likely);
and, second. that the site brought in tourists and could be economically useful for a
countty that badly needed the income (although tourism as such had fallen to near
zero during the Soviet war). Despite the apparent consensus on all issues, there
was a line of disagreement between the Afghan Taliban and the foreign fighters
concerning the stability of Afghanistan weighed against the potential use of the
country as a base for terror attacks against the hated regi1nes in Arab countries,
such as Algeria and Egypt, and targets in the West. Afghans, even if they broadly
supported the radical lslamists' message, had some interest in building up their
countty again: the foreign Mujahedeen had no time for such distractions (which,
of course, were suspect precisely because their narrative vision of the world saw
nation-states as an evil that subverted the global conununity of Isla1n).
One of the strongest advocates for the demolition of the statues was Osama Bin
Laden, \\
ho would in the very near future emerge as the sponsor of the September
1 I, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in
Washington, DC. By early 200\ the initial policy announced by Mullah Omar
two years earlier was wavering under the pressure of n1ore radical figures in and
around the Afghan government and the "Arabs" of Al-Qaeda, and eventually he
reversed his original position. The Afghan government announced its decision
and, at the beginning of March that year, the statues of Buddha, in place for l ,400
years, were targeted with high explosives from both artillery and charges placed at
the statues the1nselves. Despite the intense effo1t, it took several bouts of shelling
and setting explosives before the statues were da111aged seriously enough for the
lslamists to consider themselves satisfied (Power 2004).
C'ase Studies: Stories in Conflict 75
As might have been expected, however, the decision to detonate the statues
did not fly beneath the radar screen; rather, it immediately became a matter of
international controversy and protest The Buddha statues and the surrounding
landscape were on target to be designated an official World Heritage Site by
UNESCO, and indeed Mullah Omar had initially sought UNESCO financial
assistance for their preservation. The announcement of the decision to destroy
the figures triggered a number of responses worldwide, from both individual
governments and international organizations. Initially there was a certain disbelief
that the Taliban government really intended to go through with the demolition.
Letters of protest and offers of alternative solutions, some thirty-six in number,
were delivered to Kabul from UNESCO and foreign governments, including the
Organization of the Islamic Conference and, most notably, Afghanistan's Muslim
neighbor, Pakistan (whose intelligence service had some significant involvement
with the Taliban). 1"here were not only condemnations of the decision, but also
solutions advanced in which the statues would be gradually dismantled and
removed from the mountainside and shipped to another country. Specific proposals
came from both India and Japan. More commonly, governments and international
agencies sought possibilities for negotiation with the Supreme Council, on the
assumption that the decision was more of an extreme negotiating ploy to attract
international attention to a poor and struggling country than an irreversible
executive order based on grounds that seemed to fly in the face of an array of
standard notions of cultural responsibility, international respectability, and respect
for the legacy of past human history.
It re1nains unclear as to whether there was ever any chance of changing the
Supre1ne Council's mind on the tnatter, but, as time went by, it became obvious
that the representations made to _Mullah Omar (or, more ofl:en as not, to the
Afghan foreign minister, as Omar rarely went to Kabul or 1net foreign diplomats
face-to-face) were either having no effect or were beginning to irritate the Afghan
leadership. 1'he question of financial support for a solution is nonetheless intriguing,
as it appears that up until 2000 many Taliban saw the statues as a way of attracting
some foreign aid as well as-potentially-tourist dollars, but by late that year
the drumheat of Islamic scholars and lslamist radicals had mounted in intensity,
calling for the removal of these un-Islamic idols as an offense to true Muslin1s
everywhere. There is probably no real doubt that, at least for some Taliban and for
those close to Al-Qaeda, the shocked reactions and the messages of protest from
the rest of the world (including every Muslim nation in the Organization of the
Islamic Conference) were a source of considerable satisfaction (Falser 2011 ). Why
that should have been the case deserves son1e consideration.
The protests and offers of assistance for alternatives to demolishing the
Buddha statues came from a long history, especially after World War II, of
broad international agree1nent on the necessity of preserving 1najor architectural,
cultural, and sitnilar sites and 1naterials as a general responsibility going beyond
the locality and even the nation-state. As the primary international agency tasked
with enabling governments to discharge this responsibility, the United Nations
Narrative, Identity; and the Map qf Cultural Policy
Educational, Social, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has the objective
written into its constitution:
... assuring the conservation and protection of the world's inheritance of books,
\Vorks of art and 1nonuments of history and science, and recomrnending to the
nations concerned the necessary international conventions ... (Article l, 2(c),
UNESCO Constitution)
The overt state1nents express more unspoken ain1s, however. Two assu1nptions
should be understood: One is that the human past is important to humanity in
general, and therefore destruction of significant cultural goods on the basis of
identity (that is, those cultural goods belong to others and are therefore worthless)
can be of benefit to no one. The second is that culture accesses a higher and more
resonant value than politics, and thus culture itself (including the physical remains
of earlier human cultures) should not be simply sacrificed to political authority
that can come and go very quickly. In fact, a third assumption can be deduced from
the first two: that even if governments or regimes are indifferent to a particular
cultural heritage on their territory, international acceptability and prestige are lost
if that govem1nent or regime is seen to be erasing the evidence of that heritage
fron1 the \vorld. Thus, it was not just a set of executive responses to data that
encouraged nations around the world-including the tiny number that had
officially recognized the Taliban as the government of Afghanistan-but rather
a complex narrative of culture in histo1y that had, over a long time, succeeded
in bringing states with significantly difterent cultures and histoties to agree that
a global principle of respect for the inheritance of the human past was at least
supportable, if not enthusiastically embraced, by al I parties. Jn other words, while
values of a vaguely transcendent nature are at the root of the UNESCO n1ission,
the agency's founders were clearly trying to avoid theological divisions in which
culture itself becomes a contested tenn. Narratives of the sacred that explained a
particular ite1n of cultural heritage were n1eant to evoke an aesthetic, rather than
a political, response; indeed, even if there was an argu1nent of a religiol15 nature
over how to deal with a cultural 1natter, there was no reason to assu111e that it could
not be resolved as all parties would be, one assu111ed, within the same frame of
argument and resolution. Listening to each other's narratives would open up some
common ground.
The Taliban government in Afghanistan, however, was working from a different
script. It is difficult to characterize their response to the wave of representations
fro1n across the globe without entering areas of speculation and ambiguity that
lead to misunderstanding. What is clear is that blowing up the statues-which
had, after all, survived intact for a millennium and a half---was not a Muslitn
responsibility as (a) the statues had been there as long as Afghanistan had been
a Muslim country and (b) all Islamic states delivered protests against the plan,
along with Western countries. It is obvious, too, that the Taliban dismissed the
economic and tourist value of the Bamiyan Valley that had been the basis of the
Case Studies: Stories in Conflict 77
original preservation order a fe\v short years earlier by a senior 1aliban leader
who had now changed his mind. It seems safe to say that UNESCO was dealing
with something that the pragmatic idealists who wrote the original charter for
the organization in 1945 had not envisaged in quite this way. We would put it
as follows: not only were the stories embodied in the differing positions of the
Taliban and the international community radically divergent. but the frames for
those narrative understandings were also so far apart that the mere recognition
that the stories could not easily communicate vvas useless. The discourses were
blank to each other: a story realized in a framework of theological justification
with a specific purist cast can have little or nothing to say to a story fOrmed out of
a secular understanding of culture and human endeavor.
Indeed, as the peculiarly irritated responses of elements of the Taliban leadership
revealed, even the attempt to lay that narrative out as a narrative (that is, to attempt
to see if there were so1ne points of connection) was seen as a provocation: to
suggest that a secular fra1ne could enter into negotiations with the fra1ne of divine
instruction to true Muslims was not only a waste of time, but also an insult. This
clash of sacred and profane discourses is a part of the history of the West too, of
course, but it is rare to find it emerging in intergove111mental conversations today,
either because even societies with a strong religious identity tend to separate at
least some areas of ci vie and legal responsibility from those in which theology
and religious belief play a major role, or because the issue of international
respectability remains pertinent. The Taliban rejected, in a sense, not only the
principle that cultural history was something to be preserved as a civilized value,
but also--and this was, of course, what disturbed others-the very notion that
there was a secular area of responsibility buttressed by international agree1nents
and agencies that reflected a global sensibility, the conception of a common
heritage of humanity. "Humanity" in its post-1945 concept of transnational and
cross-cultural con1munication provoked a reply in the form of the 's "large-
scale live-act perforrnative iconoclasm" (Falser 2011: 157).
Finally, we would note that although over the past ten years the foregoing
aspects of the affair of the Buddha statues have been discussed and written about in
inany venues, in both acade1nic and pol icy circles and beyond, there is one aspect
that otten falls by the wayside. This is not merely an account of an international
and perhaps, in so1ne ways, transnational effort, delivering protest letters ailned
at preventing a gross breach of Afghanistan's duties as the territorial steward of a
significant World Heritage Site, facing off against a provincial and inward-looking
theocratic government that ignored the outside that would
certainly be correct as far as it goes. The Bamiyan Valley controversy also involved
another narrative that was not so internally directed-namely the narrative of a
very different kind of transnationalis1n, the transnationalis1n of Salafist lsla1n at
the cutting edge of militant action. The belief in the nation-state, still the primary
structure of political identity at the beginning of the twenty-first century, had been
rejected by those activists and anti-Soviet fighters who had stayed in, or returned
to, Afghanistan. The very existence of Al-Qaeda as a concept was inextricably tied
78 IVarrative, Identity, and the Map Policy
to a conviction that nation-states, even those with a strong lslan1ic identity, are at
best distractions from nurturing the kind of religious loyalty that transcends or
expunges Western notions of citizenship and, at worst, its enen1ies. The essential
narrative frame is one oftransnationalism, but of a very particular type. It is often
reasonably simple to in1agine certain binaries such as "native versus immigrant,"
"secular versus sacred," "'cosmopolitan versus provincial," or"conservative versus
forward-thinking," but often more difficult to imagine counternarratives taking
up confrontational positions within the same term-for example a "forward-
thinking" dynamic that seeks to use the latest technology to enforce old rules, or
a "sacred" project that uses "secular" politics to advance its goals. The 1"aliban
in Afghanistan felt, at least in part, that they had a transnational credibility in
the circles of Isla1nist n1ilitants at least as powerful as any secular international
agreements on "culture" or "heritage." The terms that may have seemed resonant
and legitimate in the offices of UNESCO's headquarters in Paris sounded weak
and offensive in Kabul.
In conclusion, we suggest that fra1nes that can reflect each other a little allow
for some conversation, but frames based on mutually repulsive assu1nptions
cannot exist if they are trying to embrace the same content field. Whereas the
ostensible power of narrative can be otherwise quite effective in bringing policy
into conceptual reality, it may be useful to understand how it might fail at the
place where a higher-order narrative (for those who embrace it) displaces the
former. From the Taliban point of view, culture was indeed the term that caused
them to reach for their guns. In sum, the inherited theological discourse embraced
by the Taliban, updated with political authority and the availability of modern
technology, prevailed.
In our next example, inherited narratives are also in play. Here, the fragments
of tradition and efforts to recapture them take center stage.
little People of Peace and the Future of the Past
The historical narrative of any people is a construction--a con1bination of
individual and collective memory, documented fiction and fact, politically,
socially, and religiously influenced propositions that set down historical accounts
in particular ways for particular purposes as well as many other elements and
factors that contribute to such inythologies. How these elements contribute, and
to what effect, can have far-reaching cultural policy implications. This is also the
story of inco1nmensurate frames where underlying assumptions of value are deeply
divergent"-even discontinuous-in a world where we like to find continuities, no
matter how hard the task.
Anthropologist Michel-Rolphe Trouillot distinguishes history understood as
"what happened" from history as "that which is said to have happened" (l 997: 2).
However, that histories are constructions is a poignant and painful truism for
many inarginalized groups whose cultural past has often been appropriated by a
dominant culture for the latter's ends. Despite attempts to restore what has been
Case Studies: Stories in Coriflict 79
lost, such efforts can never wholly succeed. In Chapter 5, we examine the case
of American Indians more broadly with regard to issues of cultural identity and
integrity considered through narrative frames. The case we examine here is that
of the Hopi of Arizona who, like many other indigenous peoples, have an acute
understanding of what they have lost and recognize that much of what is currently
claimed as knowledge about tradition, heritage, and sacred wisdom is pieced
together from the remnants of imprecise oral and written records.
Like other tribes of indigenous Americans, the Flopi are a sovereign people.
In contrast to other tribes, however, the Hopi were never at war with the US
government, so they have no treaty and were not forcibly removed from native
lands as the result of government actions. Instead, they have lived in the Four
Comers region of the United States for centuries. Four Corners refers to the location
where the corners of four states meet: Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah.
In addition to the Hopi, a number of other Indigenous A1nerican tribes, such as the
Navajo, Zuni, and Ute, populate the area and regard it as their homeland. The Hopi
claim that they have inhabited this region for longer than any other tribe. The Hopi
village ofOraibi, for example, is the longest continually inhabited village in North
America, dating back to at least J 150 CE.
While capturing the past is important for a number of
of a way of life, educating children, maintaining cultural integrity, and asserting
cultural citizenship-we focus more keenly on some of the econo1nic implications
that e1nerge when conflicting narratives co1nplicate an already complex playing
field with econon1ic concerns pitted against cultural preservation and integrity.
Specifically, we present efforts by the Hopi Tribe to preserve Hopi culture and
protect tribal members while securing opportunities for econo1nic betterment. One
strategy has been to develop opportunities and policies for tourism.
The case of the Hopi is a unique and instructive one. As a cultural group
that relies heavily on narrative as an overt co1nponent of religious, political,
and social interaction, Hopi culture embodies principles that \.Ve claim, in the
present context, for the study of cultural policy in general and for the operations
of na1Tative frameworks, as a natural component of the policy process. Though
specific structures may operate differently or in unique ways in the case of the
Hopi, including the1n in our current roster of examples allows for comparison and
illuminates possible applications in a wider context.
Tourism holds a curious and unique place in lIopi aspirations for economic
growth. Tourism is necessarily cultural tourism because the culture of the 1-Iopi
infuses all aspects of their lives. Jn fact, activities of general tourism interest
(for example, sports, dining, shopping, camping, sightseeing) do not exist as
such. Although the borders of Hopi lands are open and unprotected, the conduct
of religious and daily life is characterized by institutional secrecy. 1'he .. xelative
austerity of both life and lands also preclude the development of general tourism
on a broad scale. In addition, non-Hopi arc prohibited fron1 entering 1nany areas
of Hopi lands without a guide. Add to these considerations the fact that Hopi lands
are remote and distant from cities and from other tourist areas, and it is very likely
80 Narrative, Identity, and the Map qf Policy
that travelers to I:-Iopi are n1ost interested in experiencing their culture. Cultural
touris1n is an attractive option as an economic enterprise for the Hopi particularly
in view of their poor econo1nic conditions which are exacerbated by the lack of
other e1nployment opportunities, job training, and education.
Unemployment among the Hopi has been reported at anywhere from
50 percent to 80 latter figure being the estimate of the Arizona
Department of Commerce (2008). Hopi wage-earners are typically employed by
US federal agencies and the Hopi tribal government. Far fewer work in coal and
cattle production, at arts and crafts shops (as either sole owners or e1nployees ),
in the few eateries and service shops, or in the two hotels located on l1opi lands.
Annual median per capita income in 2009 was $10,647 (City-Data 201 l). The
desire to maintain a traditional way oflife may also affect the employment rate. It
inay, for example, discourage working for en1ployers who do not welcome their
Hopi employees' full participation in tribal rituals and ceremonies. Traditionally,
so1ne ceremonies lasted weeks, and conte1nporary versions still take place over
the course ofn1any days. Participation in economic life outside Hopi culture may
require some Hopi to choose between a job and adherence to religious practices.
The acute need for econon1ic development has led many tribal tnen1bers to look
at the creation and expansion of entrepreneurial enterprises in the area of touris1n,
including offering tours of Hopi land and sacred sites, and selling craft objects,
jewelry, and other artistic goods. One impedi111ent for the Hopi Tribe, ho\vever, is
the absence of a comprehensive tourism policy to achieve particular ai1ns and, in
1nany cases, the skills necessary to develop a touris1n industry on their own tenns.
An existing policy, adopted in the late 1980s, is considered outdated by the tribal
agency that administers it-the Hopi Office of Rcvenne Commission (HORC)-
and is 1i1nited to issuing tour operator licenses and declaring the need to secure
the well-being of the tribe (though without specific provisions for accomplishing
this). This policy was created to address a series of incidents on Hopi lands in
which non-Hopi visitors removed sacred atiifacts and religious paraphernalia, and
desecrated sacred sites. A case study commissioned by HORC officials (Swanson
and DeVereaux 2012) concluded that while tribal members appear to be in favor
of forn1ulating a new policy with a \Vider scope that can specifically address issues
of cultural citizenship and cultural preservation, these aims cannot be achieved
unless the policy can assure village autonomy while providing tor implementation
and enforcement across the tribe. Challenges to the success of any nev,r policy
arise from the complex structure of Hopi society and the central tribe/village
dichotomy of I-lopi governance. While tourism provides significant opportunities
for the Hopi, a number of additional factors relating to their culture also create
potential obstacles. As a ca<;e exa1nple in the current context, we focus on issues
relating to narrative conflicts that arise within the structure of Hopi village and
tribal relationships.
Notwithstanding the lack of an effective tourism policy, Hopi tribal lands have
been a destination for travelers throughout their recorded history. Hopi beca1ne
a popular destination in the nineteenth century as the curious took advantage of
C'ase Studies: Stories in Conflict
opportunities provided, for example, by the Fred Harvey Company which operated
tours initiating from hotels and eateries, such as those located in Winslow, Arizona
and Grand Canyon, along railroad routes. While recognizing that the practice
of tourism, in itself: 1nay disrupt indigenous cultural practices, scholars such as
anthropologist Lewis r. Deitch note that early tourism was sometimes responsible
for the protection, rather than the destruction, of cultural heritage, thereby
demonstrating that issues relating to cultural protectionis1n versus exploitation are
never clear. Tourism has always been a mixed blessing:
lt was fortuitous that the early twentieth-century settlers and health-seekers
became interested in the indigenous cultures and historic traditions of the
Southwest, and that the prime entrepreneur recognized their marketability as
a tourist attraction. Otherwise, the decline of Indian arts and crafts \YOuld have
paralleled other ele1nents of their culture ... (l)eitch 1989: 227)
The L5 million acres that presently comprise the Hopi domain (that is, are
oflicially recognized by the US government) are much reduced from what the Hopi
regard as their traditional lands: "Surrounding the Hopis on all sides as unwelco1ne
neighbors are the more nun1erous Navajos, unrelated to the1n and differing \Videly
from them in customs, traditions, and mode of life" (Hoover 1930: 426). The two
tribes have an ongoing dispute that has religious overtones for the Hopi, given the
sacredness they impart to their lands.
Following the defeat of the Navajo in 1864 by Kit Carson's troops at Canyon
de Chelly in northeastern Arizona, captured 1nembers of that tribe were rounded
up and taken to Fort Sumner in eastern New Mexico. The Long Walk, as it was
known, resulted in both hardship and death, and the conditions of their subsequent
captivity were little better (Rosser 2010), The Treaty of Fort Sumner, signed in
1868, ended the Navajo's captivity, They were provided land, by treaty, in an area
approximately the size of West Virginia that they had claimed as their homeland
and comprising parts of Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico (ibid.), The land dispute
between the Hopi and the Navajo has been ongoing ever since, although several
formal agreements have been concluded during the past decade, The Navajo have
increased the size of their reservation several times since 1868, moving onto
lands occupied by other Indigenous Americans through homesteading and other
means, The Hopi find their traditional beliefs at odds with both the Navajo and
thus, the presence of Navajo on lands claimed by the Hopi is seen
to have a significant impact on what is referred to as the l-lopi Way, and further
compromises sacred beliefs and practices. Land development by non-Natives has
also eroded the boundaries of Hopi land.
Although the Hopi appear, to outsiders, as a homogenous group, tribal structure
by villages and clans produces considerable diversity for the relatively small tribe,
There are approximately 12,000 Hopi residents on Hopi lands, roughly the same
number reported in the sixteenth century (James 1974; Whitely 1988), Eleven
villages located on the top of three n1esas comprise the Hopi residential area:
82 Narrative, and the Map of ('u/tural Policy
Walpi, Hano/1'ewa, Sichon1ovi, and Polacca to the east on First Mesa; Sipaulovi,
Shungopavi, and Moshongovi on Second Mesa; and f-fotevilla, Bacavi, Oraibi,
and Kykotsmovi on Third Mesa. The distance between Walpi and Hotevilla-
the two n1ost easterly and westerly villages-is eighteen 1niles. 1'he settlement
of Moenkopi, located in what is called Tuba Oasis, is approximately fifty miles
to the west of the mesas and is entirely separated from the other villages by land
occupied by the Navajo Nation. Despite the relatively close distance between
the main villages, there are distinct differences in dialect among the Hopi. Each
village is politically autonomous, and currently each n1ay choose its own variant
of governance. So1ne villages, for example, adhere to the traditional rule of a
kikmong1vi, a type of village father or chief. Villages can also choose whether or
not to participate in central tribal governance. However, the tribal council is not
a traditional institution of governance; it was created by agree1nent with the US
government in I 936 to facilitate exchanges with the Hopi. In addition:
Hopi political organization is difficult lo characterize because authority is
phrased in ritual rather than in secular tern1s and is not concentrated in any single
position. There is no central authority tor the l-lopi as a whole ... Within each
major village lhere is a hereditary group of priests or chiefs but the order of this
hierarchy varies from village to village, and they have a minin1u1n of secular
authority. (Eggan 1950: I 06)
The role of the Council is not to govern over the tribe. Instead, its priinary role is
to represent the tribe to the outside \vorld, especially in negotiations with federal,
state, and local governn1ents, as well as with the councils of other tribes, and it
is loosely responsible for coordination among the villages in terms of those ntles
and regulations that apply to the tribe or to Hopi lands as a whole. Each village
n1ay elect a representative to the tribal council, but several villages choose not to;
each village is thus "comparable to a city-state" (Griffin-Pierce 2000: 98) where
quasi-political alliances "based on f8.milial and clan relations govern relationships
between the villages" (DeVereaux and Swanson 2012).
Hopi religion is also location-dependent (Griffin-Pierce 2000); they believe
their origins lie in the Underworld or "Down Below, Atkya(qw)" (Glowacka and
Sekaquaptewa 2009: l ). where humans, animals. and other beings were first
created. The Hopi first emerged into this world (the Fourth World) near the Grand
Canyon at a limestone cone called Sipapuni (place of emergence). The Hopi Way
is part of a pact between the Hopi and the spirit being, Maasaw, which places
them as stewards of the earth. Potsherds, petroglyphs, ritual springs, shrines,
sacred trails, and other 1nan-n1ade artifacts are evidence, according to the Hopi,
that they have accepted, and are carrying out, the terms of this sacred pact. They
believe therefore that part of their sacred task is to protect these artifacts fro1n
damage or removal, both of which, inevitably, have occurred. Many sacred sites
have suffered defacement and desecration through removal of objects, graffiti, and
other types of damage.
Case Studies: Stories in Co11/iict 83
The principles of the Hopi Way also include a high value placed on peace
and hospitality. The more formal name by which the Hopi reter to themselves is
"l-lopitu-Shinumu" or "little people of peace" (James 1974: xii). Traditionally,
they believe that welcoming visitors is an impo11ant part of fulfilling the principles
of the Hopi Way. prefer the term ''visitor" over "tourist" in referring to
travelers to their land (Swanson and DeVereaux, 2012). Such principles, however,
have not always been in the tribe's interest, as some of their history demonstrates.
They have suffered from many of the same harsh and discriminatory laws imposed
on other American Indians such as, fOr exan1ple, the f:Orced removal of children
from the tribe for education at US govern1nent-run boarding schools; speaking
liopi, wearing native dress, or practicing native religion were once fOrbidden.
Many Hopi were converted to Christiauity, which, along with other practices,
resulted in loss of Hopi traditional cultural knowledge and practice. In order to
1nonitor compliance with these policies, US govern1nent agents used photographs,
drawings, and other 1neans of recording Hopi practices as evidence of illegal
activity, since such practices were fOrbidden by law. For these reasons, the Hopi
110\.v forbid photographing, filming, videotaping, \Vritten documentation, or any
other type of recording on Hopi lands, even by other Hopi, except for isolated
cases where prior pennission has been granted.
Recapturing their ffagmented past and presenting it to outsiders on their own
terms is seen as an i1nportant element of Hopi political and economic ernpowennent.
The Hopi place great importance on who is permitted to tell the story of their
culture and what sto1y is told. They are protective against misrepresentations of
their culture and history as a result of past practices where such distortions had the
potential to influence policies against them; their concern in this regard encompasses
both reasons of tribal \vell-being and cultural integrity. At present there is also the
concen1 that non-Hopi n1ay benefit, econo1nically, at the expense of the Hopi (as
has already occurred historically) without adequate protections to prevent such an
occurrence. This also extends to the inaking of cultural goods, the use of traditional
designs, and the use (or potential misuse) of Hopi religious symbols.
"fhe above factors, together, have consequences for the preservation of
Hopi culture. Historically, and until fairly recently, most recording of history
was carried out by non-Hopi who 1nay not have fully understood their complex
religious practices. Harry James, tOunder of the Indian Welfare
League, observes that the Hopi are so unique among Indian tribes that their culture
is of\en both misunderstood and misrepresented (James 1974). Richard Brandt,
author of a se111inal work entitled Hopi E'thics ( 1954), to cite one exan1ple, notes
that the Hopi did not appear to have developed distinctly ethical terminology for
right and wrong. I-5ut, according to anthropologists Maria Glowacka and Emory
Sekaquaptewa, Brandt's "findings are based on an outsider's interpretative
categories and a tnethodo!ogical approach" that rely on "Western classifications of
moral principles" (2009: l ). Anthropologist Peter Whitely ( 1988) also explains the
difficulty ofrnaking easy binary distinctions, inore typical ofWestern classifications
such as religious/political, secular/sacred, political (economic)/cultural when
84 Narrative, identity, and the Map of Cultural Policy
it comes to understanding Hopi culture. The work of other scholars likewise
suggests that traditional Western methods may not be adequate for appreciating
the full complexity of Hopi culture. Concerning historical and religious accounts,
Hieb, for exan1ple, observes that the construction of narrative, and not its histotical
truth, is relevant:
In the early 1880s, the Hopis were a people \Vithout writing. Their social tnl-mory
and sacred knowledge was, and continues to be, en1bodied and represented in
significant places in the built and natural landscape, in the architectural fonns
of their villages, in the bodily me1nory of ritual perlOnnance, and in a variety of
Uff\vritten but n1emorized songs and narratives which were (and are) the property
ofl-lopi clans and ceremonial societies. Within the clans and societies this sacred
knowledge (-wiimi) was (and is) the privileged property and responsibility of
various priests, producing a hierarchy of knowledge. (I-lieb 2002: 82)
Hieb cites the research of Jeremiah Sullivan ( 1886), a medical doctor who
documented Hopi language and myth, regarding the differing legends concerning
the Snake/ Antelope ceremonies. Snake and Antelope designate two of the many
Hopi clans. One of these legends "may be called the popular legend" (Sullivan
quoted in Hieb 2002: 82); it is the version told to all Hopi, no matter which clan
or village they belong to. A second is told by one of the Antelope priests who is
known as the Keeper of the West Gate. This version is known only to men1bers
of the Snake and Antelope clans. A third is only known to the priests of the two
clans (ibid.). Sullivan's findings reveal two important factors for understanding
Hopi culture, which also resonate fOr any investigation of cultural policy narrative.
The hierarchical nature of knowledge means that only a lin1ited nu1nber of people
possesses a full account (or the full range of aceounts) of important cultural
knowledge. This does not suggest that any one account is truer than the others,
only that accounts at the lower levels of the hierarchy are incomplete, and thus
fragn1ents of the fuller account. Those interested in cultnral preservation, therefore,
may be concerned about further erosion of f-lopi traditional knowledge as fe\.ver
and fewer llopi participate in "the culture" or adhere to the Hopi Way) resulting in
fewer Hopi who n1ay receive the full account.
The other factor is the treatment of knowledge as property. Whitley notes that
"the primary source of power in f1opi society lies in esoteric ritual knowledge''
( 1999: 311 ). Further:
Clans at Hopi arc corporate: like business corporations, they exist in perpetuity
despite the death of individual members, and they own property, consisting of
ritual knowledge, ceremonial paraphernalia, land, and econon1ic goods, which
they hold in trust for future generations. (Griffin-Pierce 2000: 43)
l ~ h corporate nature of the clans and the power structures established through
ownership of rituals and cultural knowledge means that a wide sharing ofknowledge
Case Studies: Stories in Conflict 85
is unlikely. ln some cases, Hopi individuals are notably more apt to share cultural
knowledge with non-Hopi (who have no use for it, or cannot wield it, as cultural
currency) than with Hopi tribal members outside of their clans (DeVereaux 2012).
Cle1n1ner notes that "clan and lineage each denotes a degree of inclusion or
exclusion" (1995: 314) that can have implications both politically and economically
within the tribe. A survey of attitudes regarding the purpose of touris1n reveals
a desire to educate non-Hopi about Hopi life as a pri1na1y reason fOr engaging
in tourism activities, with economic benefit as a strong but secondary motivation
(Swanson and DeVereaux 2012). However, as noted above, an important feature
of Hopi culture is that the structures by which transfer of knowledge occurs, such
as who can receive and who can give it, control these aims. The complex syste1ns
governing Hopi social relations, lineage, and clan groupings impose additional
restrictions on cultural knowledge transfer. Differing patterns of cultural and ritual
knowledge transmission follow either matrilineal or patrilineal lines. While Hopi
inheritance is primarily n1atrilineal, so1ne types of knowledge follow an alternative
pattern. Whitely, for example, points to the "significance ofpatrilincal relationships
for social integration" (1986: 69). Instmction of males and females on traditions,
customs, rituals, and histories differs significantly. Additional cultural knowledge
n1ay be lost because a fa1nily has no 1nale or fe1nale heir.
A third factor, already noted above, is the importance of narrative and its
particular properties, as exhibited within Hopi culture:
[t]hese narratives are inforrned by and constructed within a conception of space
and a valuing of places, as distinct fro1n the chronological structuring of events
that con1prises history. Of particular in1portancc to an understanding of Hopi
concepts of space and place is the land pact or covenant made bet\veen the Hopi
and the sacred being Masau \vhose footprints define 1-Iopitutsqua, the sacred
lands of the Hopi. (Glowacka and Sekaquaptewa 2009: I)
These narratives have significant influence over decision and policy-making an1ong
the Hopi, in ways that 1nay not be easily accounted for through non-interpretive
means. To give a son1ewhat different example, a nun1ber of researchers have
looked at how to incorporate religious customs and traditions into contemporary
juridico-political practices. Justin Richland notes that, "little work has explored the
interactional details of contemporary indigenous processes to examine precisely
how tradition and law are talked about, by whom, and to what effects" (2005: l).
The use of testimonial methods that rely on narrative (as opposed to historical
truth) may pose a patticular challenge for Western modes of jurisprudence.
In addition, specific economic implications arise for the Hopi within the
complexities of traditional religious, political, and social structures outlined
above. Touris1n, as a strategy to enhance the economic well-being of the tribe as
a whole, 1nay be iinpeded by restrictions on transfer and dissemination of cultural
knowledge as well as the nature of knowledge as clan or village property. What the
Hopi have to share is, specifically, the story of their tribe.
Narrative, Identity, and the Map of Cultural Policy
Understanding these practices in the context of touris1n, preservation of
culture, and econo1nic growth and empowen11ent suggests that Hopi's reliance on
oral tradition, gender limitations on transtCrring cultural knowledge, sociopolitical
realities relating to village and clan divisions, ritual patterns of knowledge
inheritance, and institutionalized secrecy may strongly affect the body ofkno\vledge
available to the tribe for its own use, or for its use in the tourisn1 context, without
significant disruption of traditional cultural practices. 1-lopi tribal members have
expressed concern about who is given permission to conduct tours to visitors and
what "story" they tell about the tribe or one of its villages. A common complaint
fro1n authorized tour operators licensed to bring visitors to flopi, as well as from
1-Iopi tribal me1nbers, is that there are no verification procedures to ensure that
unauthorized tour guides are "telling the right story.'' For that reason, the village
of Sipaulovi has strict guidelines that include formal training and certification !'Or
anyone providing a tour of the village (Swanson and DeVereaux 2012).
In the many waysdetailedabove, the cultural narrative of the Hopi is fragmented
and incomplete, and one may indeed ask, "What is the future of the Hopi pas\O"
Tourisn1 off-Crs one possibility for preservation and economic benefit, but incurs
a necessary cost to particular ways of life. In other words, either specific cultural
knowledge content is preserved at a loss to their attendant ritual or the rituals are
preserved but important cultural knowledge 1nay have vanished.
In addition to the implications for tourisn1, the case of the Hopi is instructive
for exploring the operation of narrative frameworks within cultural policy outside
of this particular application. While the existence of tnultiple
con1ple1nentary or competing-is a structural, and perhaps intrinsic, part of 1-lopi
culture and religion, we might recognize the ways in which multiple narratives
coexist in any culture, both forn1ally and inforn1ally, and in any policy setting
concerning any cultural group. The I-lopi case is instructive because it presents
overt use of narrative as an essential component of social and political interaction.
The fact that it is n1anifested as a core structure within an "exotic" culture n1ay
obscure the extent to \Vhich it is a regularly occurring and essential component of
any cultural group's interactions in social, political, and policy spheres.
The Mouse that Roared
Our final case exa1nple revisits the story presented in the introductory chapter, that
of the Duchy of Grand Fenwick. Our one truly fictional exa1nple, it features some
of the very issues of cultural policy, though absurdly portrayed, that are objects of
analysis in real-world settings. The Duchy is the creation of Irish-Atnerican writer
Leonard Wibberly, whose novel The Mouse that Roared was based on an idea that
occurred to him after reading the 1951 treaty between the United States and Japan.
"The more I read it," Wibberly said about the treaty in an intervievv with critic
Clifford Bendau in l 979, "the more I realized that few things are more profitable
than going to war with the United States." Reflecting upon the extensive technical
and monetary aid directed to Japan after World War ll, which helped foster that
C'ase Studies: Stories in Conflict
country's later prosperity, Wibberly commented on how little sense it made for
the lrish to be fighting the English for 800 years with nothing of material value to
show for it. He proposed, instead, that if Ireland declared war on the United States
"on Monday," and quickly surrendered, ''the rehabilitation of Ireland would begin
on Friday." Since Ireland failed to take his advice, Wibberly decided instead to
write a satirical novel in which the smallest country in the world 1nakes war on the
United States, and unexpectedly wins. The book never enjoyed a huge readership,
but the film version, starring Peter Sellers and Jean Seberg, propelled its unlikely
pren1ise into the popular imagination. As noted above, despite its fictionality, it has
all the elements of a good case example for a narrative framework.
"The Duchy of Grand Fenwick lies in a precipitous fold of the northern
Alps ... " lts ruler, as the novel opens, is the descendent of Roger Fenwick, the
first Duke of Grand Fenwick, who founded his dynasty in 1370. Roger is the sort
of enterprising fellow who realizes early in life the need to n1ake his own way in
the world. The seventh son of an English knight, he has no fortune. He is sent to
Oxford University but leaves soon after, at the age of fourteen. His inability to
secure adequate employment there puts him at risk of starvation. Fortunately, he
finds work as a longbow man with Edward III's army, but not before learning a
number of valuable lessons at Oxford:
T'he first, on vvhich he placed the greatest value, \.vas that "Yea" 1night be turned
into "Nay" and vice versa if a sufficient quantity of wordage was applied to the
matter. The second was that in any argument, the victor is always right, and the
third that though the pen is n1ightier than the svord, the sword speaks louder and
stronger at any given mon1ent. (Wibberly 1955: 7)
After many adventures, Roger Fenwick forms his own co1npany of men and
joins Charles the Wise of France who ultimately proves less than wise when he
places his trust in R_oger. Co1nmissioned to take a castle on Charles's behalf, R_oger
storms the castle and instead takes it for himself. He declares, "What is good
enough for kings is good enough for dukes," thereby settling the matter. "A ]nd so
the Duchy of Grand Fenwick came to be established" (ibid.). In this way, the novel
is instructive regarding hovv stories may be constructed and then retrospectively
normalized and accepted as true historical accounts.
What brings the quaint Duchy, still rooted in the traditions ofmedievalisrn, to
our attention is its production of one of the world's most renowned wines: Pinot
Grand Fenwick, subject of an intense battle among the citizens divided between the
Dilutionists and the Anti-Dilutionists. While recognized as a fine wine worldwide,
the output of Fenwickian grape vines is, in some years, too small to bring in
adequate income. Those in favor of diluting the wine believe that increasing its
available volun1e in this way would increase revenues. The Anti-Dilutionists are
adamant that it would only lead to mining the bouquet and thus the reputation
of the wine. Their inability to resolve the matter leads, instead, to a complicated
scheme in which Grand Fenwick appeals to the United States for a loan. It has
88 Narrative, Identity, and the Map o.l Cultural Polily
heard that the United States, in its struggle against communis1n, gives loans to
countries willing to fight it within their own borders. Grand Fenwick, completely
lacking in domestic corrununists, is forced to invent one.
Following a number of other absurdities, the Duchy declares war on the United
States, intending to surrender in order to start the flow of war reparations as
quickly as possible. Instead, in an attack on New York, the Duchy's longbow men
unexpectedly win the war, and capture the larger nation's secret Q bomb, which
puts them in a decidedly different bargaining position than before.
Wibberly's novels consciously raise conflicts in narratives-gross
misunderstandings, in fact, are part of the fun, as is the recognition of parallels
betvveen absurdities that arise in Grand .Fenwick-US relations and events in real
life. In a fatefol move, for example, the Duchy's exports of wine are threatened
when an American wine producer decides to capitalize on the reputation of Pinot
Grand Fenwick with his own version, Pinot Grand Enwick.
The Mouse that Roared and other books in the series are clearly fancifol tales,
but their implausibility has decreased since the time they were written. It is useful
to observe that while novels and other fictional narratives may have little direct
bearing on policy issues, they are nonetheless instructive for policy research and
inquiry. We note, for example, the history of fictional works that have powerfully
influenced public policy (Upton Sinclair's The Jungle, for example, which led to
federal regulation of food and drug production in the United States) or brought
new political language into circulation (George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four).
Indeed, most people will have had the odd experience of discovering that life is
i1nitating so1ne aspect of fiction. A few years ago a Washington Times article used
Wibberly 's title to report on a contemporary mouse:
Last week Kyrgyzstan stunned the U.S., when it announced it ~

o u l d close the
Atnerican air base there, which the U.S. had counted on to ship vital supplies to
Afghanistan in the wake of increasing attacks on convoys going through Pakistan
to reach troops in land-locked Afghanistan The Kyrgyz announce1nent
follo.ved word that Russia was giving the irnpovcrished country tnore than
$2 billion in financial aid and credit Last Friday Kyrgyzstan said its decision
was final .. ("The Mouse That Roared" 2009: A20)
Narratives also provide tliel tOr reflection, both in fictional and non-fictional
guises, tOr a wide array of purposes. Marleen S. Barr calls The Mouse that Roared
a "fractured fairy tale" (2010: 197)-a reference to another popular satire of Cold
War relations between the United States and Soviet Russia, the animated series
The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show (1959-64). The show featured a segment called
"Fractured Fairytales," which presented moral tales with a cynical twist providing
commentary on contemporary life. In the episode entitled "The Frog Prince," for
example, a crisis occurs when the population of witches proliferates and there are
inore v.iitches wanting to cast spells than there are people upon whom one could
cast them. It is a lesson in unintended consequences that, in the real world, might
~ a s e Studies: Stories in Conflict
apply to teachers (indeed, the falling population rates in some countries have made
finding a teaching job difficult), musicians, mortgage-loan brokers, or a host of
other professions. In this particular tale, a hapless but happy frog, minding his own
business, is turned into a handsome prince by a witch who has no one else on whom
to ply her trade. Unhappy as a prince, the frog appeals to the Witches' Amalgamated
Union to have his original state pennanently restored only to discover that he is
no longer content to be a frog. N-o happy ending here. 'rhe moral? It is not so easy
to say. In the n1anner of n1any narratives, it is rich with hermeneutic possibilities,
open-ended questions, policy implications, ethical considerations, and ideological
assumptions that extend the1nselves into contemplations of real life, and are not
so easily reconciled in the manner of scientific data. This is precisely the reason
we find inherent value in the telling of stories and the investigation of narratives.
In the foregoing case studies we have described the real-world interactions of
cultural policy and the narrative frames in which they are formed, offered, and
contested: in Berlin in l 945-4 7 the Americans failed to correctly read the Russians'
reading of culture as a policy gambit; in the formation and four-decade history of
the National Endowment for the Arts, two narratives of art, the inspirational and
the subversive, were contained uneasily and eventually parted company at the end
of the Cold War; in the negotiations between the outside world and the Taliban
over the Buddha statues, a theological frame of sacredness and profanity failed
to offer any purchase to secular frames of cultural value; in the Hopi lands in the
south\vestern United States, narrative is subject to constraints of secrecy but could
offer a way of building a new tourism policy and praxis for local benefit.
In preceding chapters, we have den1onstrated a role for narrative in understanding
the environn1ent in which cultural policies may occur. Our ai1n, however, is to
show, more precisely, how the structures and frameworks of narrative operate for
the purposes of research and analysis. The next chapter provides a deeper account
of narrative workings, drawing on both historical and contemporary exa1nples.
Chapter 4
Narratives, Nonsense, and the
Roots of Understanding
Policy systems are necessarily knowledge-driven; the connection betvveen
narrative and knowledge, therefore, merits much deeper reflection. In addition
to the age-old question "What counts as knowledge?" issues of knowledge
construction, justification, plausibility, and other related 1natters, seen through the
lens of narrative, reveal the very real challenges policy analysts may face when
trying to come to terms with policy actions as an outco1ne of epistemological
inputs. Whether this concerns the policy analyst evaluating and formulating policy
in service of the policy-maker, or the policy scholar seeking to understand the
inputs and outcomes of a policy process, there is much value in deeper awareness
of the fundamental workings of narrative, especially in conjunction with other
phenon1ena such as language and culture. Policy persuasion, the influence of
interest groups or powerful individuals, the cli1nate of a policy environment and
how sensitive it may be to cunent events are not just contemporary concerns,
but are historical as well. To say that narratives persuade is a trivial given. More
i1nportantly, we wish to explore how cultural policies, as narrative, fit within
a narrated world. We note that while cultural policies may be regarded (and
interpreted along the same lines) as narrative, the effects that narrative frameworks
have on an individual's understanding of policy events are also relevant and inust
be taken into account.
Previous chapters have provided concrete examples of cultural policy issues,
events, documents, and processes with discussion of how a narrative fnime\.vork
can illuminate their formal, rhetorical, and ideological features. This chapter adds
another dimension through a capacious and deliberative examination of a wide
range of n1aterial intended to position a narrative approach within both historical
and contemporary intellectual traditions, and to provide needed background in
the workings of narrative analysis. Questions of language and its structures, the
dynan1ics of culture, and the uses of rhetoric, persuasion, and other narrative
devices are treated to illuminate the fundamental underpinnings of the tnore
applied material presented in earlier chapters. While the pri1na1)' ain1 is to address
some of the elemental undergirdings of llarrative meaning and knowing, we also
add to our previous goals in justifying our narrative framework approach for
inquiry into cultural policy and its systems.
Fore1nost, one might ask what evidence there is that the framework we ofter
has merit for cultural policy inquiry. Given the seeming subjectivity of narrative
interpretation (according to so1ne critics), how does our narrative fran1ework avoid
92 l'Varrative, identity, and the Map o.f Cultural Policy
the pitfalls of loose interpretation that do nothing more than paint an individual
point of view? What are its historical and intellectual antecedents and how does
it fit within a range of other approaches? What are the consequences and dangers
in the use of narrative, especially in the civic arena where policies, both in1plicit
and explicit, are formulated and carried out? Of particular interest is the n1anner in
which narrative often operates in ways that circumvent rational analysis, whether
or not the narrator intends to do so. Over the remaining chapters we address these
questions. Underlying our claims about narrative frameworks as a tool for cultural
policy is our conviction that they operate not only as epistemological devices fOr
knowledge construction and justification of knowledge claims, but also in other
ways that relate to the formation and handling of knowledge. In the next chapter,
we look at the formation and handling of identity as another important component
of narrated framework analysis. This leads to the final chapter where cultural
citizenship is the central narrative concern. Undergirding any concern with
methodology, \Ve are concerned here with how we know and how things mean
as central to an understanding of policy systems-specifically, how narrative
manifests as an i111portant feature within this process. For those unfamiliar with
the granular practices of narrative, therefore, this chapter n1ay be a useful primer.
Narratives, like language and culture, are messy things, as we have already
noted. As a final word on this topic, we might co111pare these phenomena to dense
forests through which a traveler must find a way. While we recognize that one
solution is to hew a trail with an axe, such a method imposes the will of the traveler
onto the terrain. Another method is to pick one's way, fOllowing the forest's own
footpaths. While getting to the other side is an important goal in both cases, the
outcomes are decidedly different because each traveler is engaged in a dissi111ilar
process. Without overextending the analogy, in the latter case it might be helpful
to understand so1nething about the particular forest one is trying to cross (as well
as about forests in general), about what kinds of things one n1ight find there, and
how to interpret their occurrence under present and varying conditions, in order to
inake one's way to the other side.
In pursuit of the above ain1s, the dense forest of this chapter winds through ancient
Greece and extant writings that express due reserve about the potential dangers in
narrative's power to persuade. We also look at existing narrative typologies fron1
later in history that provide new tools for interpretive policy analysis, and offer
brief forays into evolutionary biology that demonstrate an evolutionary justification
for narrative as a necessary co111ponent of hun1an understanding and survival. We
include illustrative exan1ples from philosophy, literature, current events, and comic
tales, such that fro111 the diversity of sources, and the many twists and turns our own
narrative takes, an ontological stance will e111erge. Given the wide terrain, we do not
pron1ise in-depth treatment of the many origins and ancestries for narrative policy
analysis. We \Vish to indicate instead, from the ground we cover, the multiplicity of
influences from a variety of disciplines and intellectual traditions. We begin with an
overvie\.v of some latter-day influences.
l\farratives, Nonsense, and the Roots o.f Understanding 93
Contemporary Contributions
Many of the initial develop1nents of narrative perspective as a rneans for
understanding human behavior favored hermeneutic and philosophical approaches
over empirical and positivistic methods. A bridge between the two may be
found in recent investigations by cognitive scientists who affirm the presence of
framing structures in the way humans think about the world. Nicole Speer, Jeffrey
Zacks, and Jeremy Reynolds have used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to
demonstrate that readers structure narrative into a segmented series of events in
order to understand and remember a text (2007: 449). Also noteworthy is that
reading stories activates particular regions of the brain that mirror those triggered
when people experience real-world activities either through physical action or
imagination (Speer, Reynolds, Swallow and Zacks 2009). The description (oral
or written) of a person receiving a wound can-if done w l l ~ ...-trigger the very
areas of the brain that might be activated if the audience hearing or reading it also
received a wound. One aim of storytelling is to put the audience into the story
itself and to make it seem real. In a successful narrative, whether fictional or not,
we become invested in the story such that we actually care about the outco1ne-
it beco1nes important to us in a real way, even if the narrative relates events or
problems that we are not actually part of.
These studies provide snme scientific confirmation for the importance of
narrative as a 1neans for structuring an understanding of the world, and for the
notion of narrative as a methodological device for understanding the very human
activity of policy and its processes. They suggest that human reason, emotion, and
sensory capacity have a function in narrative experience of the world. Recognizing
the role they might play in the policy sphere, policy scholar Murray Edelman
notes, "Man creates political symbols and they sustain and develop him or warp
him" (Edelman J 964: 1 ). Our relationship to the state is emotion-laden and fraught
with symbols, both those we create ourselves and those that are i1nposed upon us.
"Political fonns thus come to symbolize what large masses of men need t6 believe
about the state in order to reassure themselves" (ibid.: 2); thus, we recognize both
the intrinsic and necessary connection of narrative to the conduct of everyday,
and political, life. We further recognize the degree to which humans seek comfort
and guidance in expressive political fonns. 'I'he recognition ofsyn1bolic language,
inyths, and rites as the regularly recurring cast of policy characteristics manifested
as discursive and arguinentative properties of policy processes is often limited,
however, to specific steps of that process-agenda-setting, or formulation, the
analysis of particular policy stages, or to the process of analysis itself-but not
to the vvays in vvhich narrative constn1cts policy contexts within a full range of
affective practices.
Jerome Bruner ( 1986) proposes narrative understanding as a basic intelligence
or mode of cognitive functioning that works in concert with a second, logico-
scientific, mode to organize our experience and reality. Nonetheless, according to
Bruner, we kno\\
very little about how narrative processes work in comparison
94 Narrative, Identity, and the Map of' Cultural Policy
to what we know about the workings of the logico-scientific mode. In describing
these two modes, Polkinghorne notes that:
The two processes function differently, and each mode uses a different type of
causality to connect events. The paradigmatic 1node searches for universal truth
conditions, whereas the narrative mode looks for particular connections between
events. These types of relationships both involve the connections of sentences
in discourse ... the special subject matter of narrative is the 'vicissitudes of
human intentions' - that is, the changing direction and goals of hu1nan action
(Polkinghome 1988: t 7).
The narrative turn in policy analysis originally positioned itself against
traditional positivist approaches and development of general laws, as well as against
later developments in empiricism which, 1ninus general laws, relied on rigorous
1nethodo!ogies. Researchers in the narrative approach embraced hermeneutics and
interpretive methods of analysis instead, promoting "the ability to get inside the
head of other actors in the policy process," as a skill that was far from trivial
(Kaplan 1993: 170). The value of narrative as an explanatory tool for policy is
precisely its ability to illuminate many of the ways in which policy actors and
the general public organize items of knowledge, values, causal understandings,
beliefs, and opinions into a coherent forn1 that influences behavior. However, we
also stress the i1nportance of narrative as the cognitive landscape upon which such
things are experienced and carried out. ln other words, we wish to emphasize that
narrative is not simply an organizational overlay on experience. 1here is much
reason to belie.ve, instead, that it is an inseparable component of experience.
Citing narrative theorist Paul H..icoeur, Kaplan also notes that understanding
experience is a 1natter of appropriating the unknown into the known in a process
of constructive understanding that is often acco1nplished through narratives. That
people organize thoughts in narrative form is thus a "powerful tool" for analysts
because, in pati:
the narrative structure, \Vith its organized beginning, middle, and end,
requires the establishment of a readable coherent plot. A plot in such a fOnn
provides the policy analyst with a tool that can grasp together "and integrate into
one whole and complete story n1ultiple and scattered events" ... Emplotment
is the operation that draws a configuration out of simple succession. (Ricoeur
quoted in Kaplan 1993: 172)
The configuration noted by Ricoeur above is the connection that provides the
causal explanation of events that becon1es our understanding of the world and the
relationships that co1nbine diverse elements into a coherent and comprehensible
whole. For example, we look for causal structures and expect to find them whether
or not causal linkages between events actually exist. An important point, therefore,
is that the connection of events through emplotment, a narrative device, is a
Narratives, Nonsense, and the Roots o.f Understanding 95
matter of choice. Elements need not be connected in any real way for a plot to
be constructed from them. The only requirement is that they make some kind of
sense to the person receiving the narrative. The importance of this is that, through
these devices, we synthesize received data in a manner that allows for decision-
making and actions premised on the particular way in which we draw the causal
lines. From these types of syntheses and causal assumptions we construct a set of
argu1nents establishing the parameters of our world, who \Ve are in it, and what
we take to be true.
The linguistics scholar George Lakoff has contributed to this debate in his
work on metaphor. He has argued that metaphor is not only a linguistic but
also a conceptual tool of understanding and co1nmunication. The influence of
metaphor is often underestimated as a framing power in human intercourse. With
the publication of Moral Politics: What Conservatives Know that Liberals Don't
(1996) and even more with Don i Think o/ an Elephant' Know Your Values and
Frame the Debate (2004), Lakoffbrought his analytic propositions into the world
of American political culture, showing not only that a grasp of issues and ideas is
crucial for winning elections and similar campaigns, but also that a grasp of the
guiding n1etaphors in which arguments about those issues and ideas take place is
equally iinportant Merely laying out proven facts, for example, is ineffectual in
countering strongly held positions that those facts challenge. "[A]lso remember
that the truth alone will not set you free" (Lakoff 2004: 18), as we demonstrate in
examples given below.
One of Lakoff's insights was that closeness, intimacy, and familiarity with
one's governing metaphors lead to more successful lnanagen1ent of the
and by implication the reflect those metaphors. In the American
political syste1n, as L.akoff noted, Republicans and conservatives appear to be
more fan1iliar and more comfortable with their metaphorical frames than are
liberals or Democrats. That can lead to the i1npression that the latter are someho\\
unsure of, or embarrassed by, their own convictions. Conservatives can lose one
or the other political battle without losing the basic oversight over the longer
struggle because they do not regard individual defeats, as progressives often do, as
a justification for revisiting or adjusting the inetaphorical frame, possibly because
the latter have a governing 1netaphor of self-exan1ination and periodic review. 'fhe
problem is that, in the wider public arena, self-examination and review can be
easily interpreted as uncertainty and an absence of core values, thus establishing
a frame for understanding subsequent actions as manifestations of uncertainty or
a complete lack of values.
At the same titne, narrative gives a human dimension to even controversial
state1nents of value. 1'he idea that one might vote for someone who does not reflect
one's values in preference to so1neone else who does is not illogical if a candidate
is effective at portraying himself or herself as aligned in some \Vay with the voter,
even across the gap of individual political positions. The implicit argun1ent that
"you 1nay not share my values but you surely respect the fact that I have some"
can be quite powerful in a frame that directs people to think not so much about
Narrative, Identity, and the 1\1ap a_( Cultural Policy
the n1eaning of discrete values, but rather about the meaning of having values
versus not having values (even it; in reality, both parties have them). As Lakoff
suggests, conservatives in the United States-and, of course, the basic argument is
not geographically limited-are lnore successful at suggesting that values are not
shnply differing principles that one can disagree about, but rather qualities attached
to certain ideas and not others. For exa1nple, conservatives frame benefits as a case
of reward following individual effort. One earns the reward through hard work or as
the result of some other non-arbitrary merit (but hard work is a good one as it fits into
the narrative frame that reward co1nes from etfort). Liberals, while not objecting
to benefits conferred as a reward, recognize also the value of equity, especially for
those who by happenstance of circumstance are barred from acquiring the skills or
opportunities through which hard work results in a worthwhile reward. Within a
particular constructed flame, however, public provision of a service or other benefit
to citizens can suddenly appear not just as an opposing value but, in fact, as not
a value at all. In other words, it is the absence of values, in this view, that would
lead liberals to the untenable and unjustified position of rewarding-with public
benefits-those who have not properly (in the conservative view) earned them.
Liberals are consequently left somewhat confused, wondering why their ideas are
not coming across, when in fact they have failed to adequately read or construct
the fratning narrative about values. The disconnect between the two parties seems
nonsensical until one realizes that each has selected a decidedly ditTerent frame
for organizing received information about the world. The causal links constructed
1nay 1nake sense within each, very separate, knowledge construct; from the outside,
however, they n1ay appear to 1nake no sense at all.
ln a different vein, policy scholar Deborah Stone also exatnines the case for
causality. She explains the forn1ation of policy agendas and the conversion of
"difficulties" into "problems" that are a1nenable to hu1nan action, through causal
devices (1989: 282). Acknowledging the work of researchers Roger W. Cobb
and Charles D. Elder (1972) in the area of agenda-setting, she focuses part of
her inquiry on ''the deliberate use of language and of symbols in particular as a
way of getting an issue onto the public agenda, or alternatively, keeping it off''
(ibid.). Of particular note is her recognition that political actors "use narrative
story lines and symbolic devices" in order to inanipu!ate the fratning and receiving
of issues, "all the while making it seem as though they are simply describing facts"
(ibid.). This more cynical view of narrative is increasingly beco1ning the accepted
understanding of the term but ignores, as we have noted elsewhere, the broader
scope of narrative types that may be included within the policy sphere.
Despite the prominence of policy scholars like Stone, Fischer, Maj one, and
others \Vho have recognized the value of narrative as a tool for interpretive policy
analysis, regard for such an approach has sometimes suffered fro1n its distance from
accepted positivistic methodologies. One recent development, therefore, is worth
noting: Narrative Policy Framework (NPF) was developed by policy scholars
Elizabeth Shanahan, Mark McBeth, and Michael Jones to provide narrative-
based analysis that allows for hypothesis-testing, discovering causal relationships,
Narratives, Nonsense, and the Roots of Understanding 97
indicating fundamental assumptions, and providing for replicability alI in line
with accepted criteria for social science rigor. Shanahan, Jones, and McBeth see
narrative as "a way of structuring and communicating our understanding of the
world" (2011: 539). They differentiate between political narratives-persuasive
stories that achieve a particular political end, such as winning an election ....-and
policy narratives that have a setting and characters. The latter comprise particular
character types such as hero, villain, and victim. Jones and McBeth (2010) define
narrative as:
.. a story with a temporal sequence of events (McC01nas & Shanahan, J 999)
unfolding in a plot (Abel!, 2004; Somers, 1992) that is populated by dratnatic
moments, symbols, and archetypal characters (McBeth, Shanahan, & Jones,
2005) that culminates in a moral to the story (Verweij et al, 2006). (Ibid.: 329)
NPF is an attempt to apply narrative to public policy analysis while addressing
criticis1ns that the n1ajority of work in the area of narrative research "follows
a distinctively qualitative and poststructural approach" (ibid.: 333) and, in
particular, does "not engage in clear hypothesis testing, and would be both difficult
to replicate and falsify" (ibid.: 339). A central focus ofNPF is the use of narratives
to measure the strength and stability of policy beliefs. By examining narratives
supplied by policy coalitions, researchers using NPF should be able to measure
variations in narrative elements in order to learn something about policy change,
learning, and outcomes.
In their article "A Narrative Policy Framework: Clear Enough to Be Wrong""
Jones and McBeth (2010) identify minimal qualities or structural elements (as we
refer to them) that form the basis for their methodological approach: these include
setting or context, plot, characters, and moral of the story. Definitions for these
ele1nents are drawn fro1n past research that applies narrative to the study of public
policy. They then define seven hypotheses at the micro and mesolevel for testing.
tiypothesis 3, at the 1nicro-level, for example states: "As perception ofcon'gruence
increases, the more likely an individual is to be persuaded by the narrative" (ibid.:
344). Hypothesis 6 at the mesolevel states: "Groups or individuals who are
portraying themselves as \Vinning on a policy issue will use narrative elements
to contain the policy issue to tnaintain the coa!itional status quo" (ibid.: 346).
The researcher is thus able to read-or understand-how policy opinions are
fonnulated and received, or to analyze strategies that policy actors might use to
serve their ends within a policy process.
The advantage of such an approach, given the authors' stated aims, is that
it acknovvledges the important functioll of narrative in human activity and
understanding, and uses a number of its structural elements within a_ formal
method of analysis. In addition, it seeks to provide a means of empirically testing
the influence of policy narratives on policy formulation and implementation
(Shanahan, Jones, and Mc Beth 2011 ), and to develop a quantitative means for
gathering and testing the reliability of narrative elements and strategies. As
98 Narrative, ldentity, and the Map qfC'uftural Policy
researchers interested in the use of narrative, its influences, and in research about
narrative applied to cultural policy analysis, we, the authors of this book, see
the value in the NPF approach. We are reluctant, however, to leave hermeneutic
1nethodologies behind, given the nature of narrative, its 1nany variations, and its
inherently affective qualities. While we also seek to understand policy systems
and outcomes (in the specialized area of cultural policy), we prefer a method that
allows us to pick our way through the forest. The use of language and sy1nbols,
the emotional co1nponent attached to value-laden phenomena such as public
policies which impact on real lives, and the inessiness of culture as an object of
study pose challenges that may tax scientific rigor. We also find the definition of
narrative provided by the authors of NPF (and other researchers, such as Stone)
to be too limiting for our purposes. NPF, for example, excludes narratives that do
not include archetypal characters, or those that do not culminate in a moral lesson.
While 1nany narratives do end this way, a significant number do not. In a great
inany conte1nporary narratives (both fictional and true), an1biguity is an important
device. In particular, both heroes and bad guys arc more apt to be separated by
subtle shades of gray, so that identifying a character as such is rarely clear-cut.
Substituting "protagonist" for "hero" does not make identification any easier since
it is so1netimes difficult to discern who the leading character might be.
We also note that political narratives, while distinct from policy narratives,
can be entangled with the latter in ways that make it difficult to tease them apart;
policy narratives may e1nerge within or from political narratives and vice versa.
Finally, we wish to assert the difference between narrative outco1nes and moral
lessons learned and to point out that archetypal characters appear only in some
types of stories and are useful for analysis fOr some policy narratives and not
others. In sum, despite its acknowledged merits, NPF cannot be broadly applied to
all policy narrative types.
In contrast, we contend that narratives of all categories 1nay provide insight
into cultural policies, their formulation, itnplementation, influences, and outcomes.
Although it is impossible to investigate each narrative type here, we believe that
the fran1ework we present otl'ers possibilities for broad application, as illustrated
by the many examples we present. Though potentially unwieldy, opening up the
possibilities for exan1ining the broadest possible range of policy narrative types is
to the advantage of the researcher or analyst. Instead of limiting the applications to
only those cases for which one has an appropriate too!, the framework we outline
in this volun1e allows the researcher or analyst to select from a range of tools that
serve to illuminate the particular policy narrative under consideration.
Providing a fuller range of narrative applications for cultural policy research
and analysis thus expands the dimension of narrative as inquiry, as producer of
meaning and value, as vehicle of dissemination (of meaning and value), and as
human activity, Its role as epistemological source and device occupies the next
section, beginning with the views of one philosopher whose explanation of
knowledge acquisition and epistemological framing serves as a useful introduction.
Narratives, Nonsense, and the Roots of' Understanding
Analysis and Nonsense
Of the many tools for gaining an understanding of the concept of epistemological
framing, ltnmanuel Kant's Critique qfPure Reason provides so1ne insight into the
way in \Vhich we understand narrative fran1ing to operate within the knowledge
sphere. Kant's seemingly contradictory claim that, although all knowledge begins
\Vith experience, it does not arise fron1 experience maintains that data inust be
framed in some way in order to be transfornied into hun1an kno\vledge. Without
such framing, the never-ending barrage of signals (or data) received by our senses
would be incon1prehensible. Although knowledge 1nust, in Kant's vie\v, co1ne from
the empirical world, we cannot appreciate it as such without a priori cognitive
structures-the Categories of the Understanding-that classify the data in ways
that are useful to us in negotiating that world. Narrative frames thus have much
in co1n1non with !(ant's theory. In addition, n1any of his categories-causality,
unity, tin1e, and space-........aJso figure significantly as structures of narrative. Just
as the inundation of sensory data with which we are bombarded would be
incomprehensible to us without some way of classifying that data, narrative
frames provide a ineans for sorting information into comprehensible strings
fro1n \vhich knowledge about the na1Tative is derived. If narrative is an important
means by which which we understand the world, then the same kind of sorting of
infonnation should also fonn the ways in which we construct knowledge.
Along with many of his conte1nporaries, Kant sought scientific rigor (\vithin
the standards set by his era) for explaining particular phenomena, but understood
that accounting for the con1plexities of the experienced world required both an
analytical and a synthetic approach. In other words, he recognized the importance
of both a priori and empirical propositions in arriving at conclusions. To address
the complexities of cultural policy phenomena we champion an interpretive
approach as a n1eans for identifying coinprehensible patterns-a structure or frame,
in an otherwise 111essy terrain that might be all the messier through ignorance that
anything is awry. Kant, for example, understood how frames distort objectivity,
very often without the a\.vareness of those inside the ffan1e. In co1nmon with other
philosophers and thinkers, he notes that we tend to take our O\Vn judginents as
sound (scientific), while dismissing the views of others as arbitrary caprice, as
de1nonstrated by 1nany of the exa1nples we have provided. The correctness of
our own fra1nes see111s self-evident (and unquestionable) to us. To note a very
\Vhi111sical example, for purposes of illustration, disruption of the epistemological
frame in the classic tale Alice in Wonderland draws attention to the power a frame
may have for those locked within its logic. The absurd tale also points to the fact
that narratives are someti1nes presented -with enough puzzling and quirky traits
to resist many traditional types of inquiry. Consider that while Alice, ,:an alien
to Wonderland, finds the inhabitants' ways of doing and understanding rather
nonsensical, for the Red Queen, White Rabbit, and all of the other characters, the
chaotic and surreal landscape of Wonderland is quite nonnal. Co1npare this with
our discussion of Lakotr: above.
Narrative, Identity, and the Map a_{ Cultural Policy
In Lewis Carroll's tale, Alice finds she must go along with the
surroundings in which she finds herself in order to negotiate her new environn1ent.
In the 1951 animated film version (dir. Geronimi, Jackson, and Luske), Alice
muses on the possibilities of authoring her own narrative frame, illustrating, for our
purposes as well, that some phenomena might stubbornly resist more positivistic
If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be
what it is because everything would be what it isn 'L And contrary-wise; what it
is it wouldn't be, and \Vhat it wouldn't be, it would. You see?
In fact, we do. The very point of nonsense, of course, is that it follows no
discernible pattern. But that is not to say that it can't be understood. Alice
1nanages to muddle through (in any case, an inexact science), but understanding
the culture (and cultural policies) of Wonderland requires a level of adept and
nuanced interpretation of factors that aren't reasonably predictable. We also
note that successful interpretation must rely on son1e innate features of human
understanding that include inherent limitations. Kant notes, for exan1p1e, that any
knowledge that relies on sense perception is subject to the fallibility of our senses.
If empirical reception of data were the \Vhole ofhu1nan knowledge, how could we
string together data into something comprehensible? To forestall objections that
Carroll's absurd tale lacks relevance as an example, we need only suggest a visit
to the wonderland of public policy debate as one way of assuring the reader that
similarly fantastical (and nonsensical) landscapes really do exist.
Our innate tendencies towards communication pose other problems, however,
as we are able to find 1neaning in a great many things whether or not meaning, as
such, is there to be found. How else to explain the apparent sense we are able to
make of Carroll's "Jabberwocky" poem?
'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gi1nble in the wabe:
All n1imsy were the borrowgroves
And the n10111e raths outgrabc.
Both the associative connection to real English words ("gyre" is an actual word,
of course) and the standard syntax with its nouns and verbs in their natural places
establish \Vhat one 1night call the sin1ulacrum of a narrative terrain. Even though
no real meaning is present, we are always tempted by the possibility of finding one.
This atte1npt at 1neaning making occurs naturally whether \Ve are conffonted with
a real world or fabulated experience. This highlights, therefore, the unlikelihood
that a single, positivistic approach (or con1bination of approaches) can adequately
allow for understanding the workings of such narrative structures and their eflects
in the real-world domain.
lYarratives, }lonsense, and the Roots of Understanding 101
The narrative structure of Carroll's tale also reveals ideological and rhetorical
underpinnings that are apparent to the reader while hidden from the characters
(save for Alice who is the participant-observer on the reader's behalf). Alice thus
serves up cultural analysis, through her often surprised reactions and retorts, of the
strange world she has entered. We read the surface story, but glean far more as we
work out the narrative puzzles. More pointedly, the narrative reveals more than
the tale tells, though we may be unable, scientifically, to demonstrate just where
or how it occurs.
As a result, an objection likely to be raised is: how do we know we got
it right? ln other vvords, hovv can one verify that a particular interpretation is
the "correct one"? in the case of many narratives, disagreements are the fodder
of acade1nic conferences or of arguments spun endlessly into the night over a
couple of pints. In the case of cultural policy narratives, however, of\vhat use is
speculation? To the objection we of-fer two responses. The first, addressed later
in this chapter, is that our framework for analysis relies on the precedence of
narrative theorists and the docun1entation of narrative typologies and tropes by
Vladimir Propp, Antti Aarne, and others. Our second response counters that the
rationalistic stance of traditional science is often no less wanting in objectivity
than interpretive methods for a wide range of phenomena. The often puzzling
nature of narrative is precisely what narrative analysis aims to unravel. Consider
Ludwig Wittgenstein's investigations of ordinary language. Jn Philosophical
Investigations he writes, "The meaning of a word is its use in the language"
(l 958: 43). More simply stated, the context in which a word is used will not only
supply its meaning, but also detern1ine whether it is correctly used. Wittgenstein
also points out, however, that using words and understanding them is rarely
so precise a matter. ln the following lengthy passage Wittgenstein explains the
jumble one can get into when trying to discover the meaning of something as
ostensibly simple as "He understands" (ibid.: 60).
156. This will becotne clearer if we interpolate the consideration of another
word, nan1e\y "reading" ... The use of this word in the ordinary circumstances
of our life is of course extre1nely familiar to us. But the part the word plays in
our life, and therewith the language-gan1e in \vhich we einploy it, would be
difficult to describe even in rough outline. A person, let us say an Englishman,
has received at school or at ho1nc one of the kinds of education usual among us,
and in the course of it has learned to read his native language. Later he reads
books, letters, newspapers, and other things.
Novv what takes place when, say, he reads a newspaper?-his eye passes-as
\Ve say-along the printed words, he says thetn out loud .. -... r only to hi1nself;
in particular he reads certain words by taking in their printed shapes as \Vholes;
others when his eye has taken in the first syHab!es; others again he reads syllable
by syllable, and an occasional one perhaps letter by letter .
102 Narrative, Identity, and the lviap of C'ultural Policy
Novv con1pare a beginner with this reader. The beginner reads the \Vords by
laboriously spelling thern out -Son1e however he guesses frorn the context, or
perhaps he already partly kno\vs the passage by heart. Then his teacher says that
he is not really reading the words (and in so1ne cases that he is only pretending
lo read them). (Ibid.: 61--2)
The above quote illustrates an important but troubling point for analysis. What is
the difference between reading and pretending to read, Wittgenstein wonders, and
how might we establish that one, but not the other, is occurring? 1'hough it inay
be very clear to the teacher, and to other observers, that what is going on with the
student does not constitute reading, one vvould be hard-pressed to establish it through
non-interpretive means. We note that in the above case it does not appear that the
student is incapable of reading in a general sense, only that in the given case he is
only pretending. So, we might ask, after all, what exactly does "reading" mean?
An operational definition doesn't quite cut it; neither does enumerating the tnany
possible meanings of"to read." The certainty that the student is "not really reading"
arises out of observation, but not in a way that could be easily measured (we 1night
say that we would not really be measuring reading if we attempted to do so). To
return to Wittgenstein's original puzzle, what does it mean "to understand'?"
"So \Ve should like to say: are at all events two different mechanis1ns at
work here. And what goes on in then1 1nust distinguish reading from not reading"
or understanding frotn not understanding. "But these mechanis1ns are only
hypotheses, niodels designed to explain, to su1n up, what you observe" (ibid.)
rather than what you can de1nonstrably clain1 to know. Wittgenstein's words are
cautionary; even under the best of circu1nstanccs, the chances for getting it all
failing to understand what appears evident-arc quite real.
any case of analysis must acknowledge that normal standards of validity,
replicability, and falsifiability can only take us so far. The difficulty is not simply
to choose between one kind of analysis or another, but rather an inherent proble1n
in ineasuring certain phenon1cna.
In a somewhat si1nilar vein, philosopher Suzanne I(. Langer finds positivism
to be "the least interesting of all doctrines" and writes it off as "an appeal to
co1111nonsense" against the in ore difficult project of establishing first principles:
Cienuine en1piricism is above all a reflection on the validity of sense-kno\.vlcdgc,
a speculation on the ways our concepts and beliefs arc built up out of the fleeting
and disconnected reports our eyes and cars actually make to the n1ind .. its
belief in the veracity of sense is i1nplicit and dogn1atic. (Langer 1942: l 0)
As already noted, since we can never truly do away with our own senses, it is
niuch v-,riser to reserve son1e suspicion about any method which relies on the1n.
Doubts about the value of positivism are also echoed in the work of neo-
Kantian philosopher Ernst who notes the resurgence of mythical thought
as a "new power" in modern political thinking. "'f'he preponderance of 1nythical
Narratives, Nonsense, and the Roots of (Jnderstanding
thought over rational thought in some ofourtnodern political syste1ns," he writes in
The Myth of the State, "is obvious." He notes that this trend continued into the
modern era so that"[ a ]fter a short and violent strnggle mythical thought seemed to
win a clear and definitive vietory" (Cassirer 1946: 3). His point is well taken. We
tend to see mythological thinking as a mode that was tossed out, like stale wine, by
the ancients in Miletus once 1'ha!es and his descendants began their investigation
of the natural world. On the contrary, however, the mix of mythological, logical,
and com-mon-sense thinking that produces contemporary approaches to the world
is evident and a strong reason for a narrative framework approach as a complement
to other methods. 10 better appreciate the value of a narrative framework, the next
section continues our historical overview, beginning with the ancient Greeks \\
for our purposes, formalized the study, use, and tnisuse of narrative forms.
Are These Berries Edible and, If So, Why?
It is quite certain that the ancients recognized narrative capacity -though framed
in different t e r m s ~ s an essential human feature. For most of Western history, no
great distinction was made between differing forms of rhetorical expression. For
the Greeks poesis (often translated, narrowly, as poetry) was a term that covered
imaginative literature and dra111a in general. The povver of narrative was not simply
in the ability of its creator to manipulate through clever arrangement of words, but
in the power of na!Tatives themselves to shape the thoughts, emotions, and beliefs of
individuals. Aristotle thought poesis w01thy of philosophical inquiry. He set out the
basic criteria for what constituted creative literary works and noted, in Poetics, that
mimesis, or imitation, "is inherent in human beings from our earliest days" (Aristotle
2000: 60). "Imitation ... is natural to us, and so too are melody and rhythm" (ibid.),
and indeed we glean pleasure from the accuracy and quality of representation in
pictures as well as in poetry and drama. Aristotle thus acknowledged an important
role in hun1an nature and learning for the literary r t s ~ point arrived at in more
recent ti1nes by narrative theorists, evolutionary biologists, and cognitive scientists.
Na!Tative scholar Brian Boyd (2009) for example, focuses on fiction, in particular,
but notes that storytelling offers humans an evolutionary advantage, though at first
consideration it often appears counterproductive. I'he logical connection between
providing truthful infonnation and survival is 1nuch easier to see, of course. The
seeking and receiving of factual information about food (is it edible?) and other
items relating to our well-being and survival make sense as activities we should
engage in. But of what use is sharing stories that are fabricated, when both nanator
and listener are fully aware that the stories are made up? Both Aristotle and Boyd
supply an answer. Whereas Aristotle describes the effect of poetry in this way:
By its representation of serious action it does indeed excite emotions, but only
to purge then1 and so to leave the spectator strengthened. (Aristotle quoted in
Hartnell l 983: 34)
104 Narrative, Identity, and the Map o,fC'ultural Policy
Boyd maintains that humans have an "appetite for information" (2009: 14), and
a need to process information rapidly. Fiction contributes to the enhancement of
this ability by allowing humans to "seek, shape, and share information in an opcn-
endcd way" (ibid.) through pattern development; narratives in fact unfold in a
patterned way that allows this to occur. A component of the process Boyd describes
is "the uniquely human levels of theory of mind, and our capacity to understand
one another in tern1s of beliefs as well as in terms of desires and intentions"
(ibid.: 16), both fictional and non-fictional. Our ability to read the desires and
intentions of others \Vithin a contextual frame can boost our chances of survival
within the context-for example, in acquiring or retaining a job, attracting a mate,
persuading another to listen to a complaint Indeed, the fact that a narrative is
fiction is, in many ways, beside the point. Both Aristotle and Boyd suggest that
fiction is useful in that it allows us to gain information or learn a lesson without
actually going through a material experience. More importantly, however, the
fiction is delivered within a structure (narrative) that allows us to glean the needed
information or lesson. The structure is what makes it seem real enough to us for
the above purposes, because it supplies ineaning through its elen1ents (causality
and unity a1nong n1any others)
Because narrative is a way to learn about and understand the world, a narrative
fran1ework serves the cultural policy analyst by supplying the means to achieve a
variety of ends. A series of events told in the fonn of a narrative allows her to "see"
v.rithin a series of v e n t s ~ s translated into a coherent narrative what a particular
policy actor or actors might be seeing. Consider the example of the children's
electronic game Pokemon. In 2001 the Los Angeles Times reported that parents in
a number of Arab countries were concerned about their children's obsession with
the game (despite the fact that children everywhere seem to becon1e obsessed with
electronic gan1es ). As an explanation, a rumor began circulating that the name of
the ga1ne was 1-Jebrew Or "I a1n a Jew." The name, in fact, is a contraction of the
words "pocket monster." Despite being infOrmed of this by Nintendo, the company
that manufactured the game, many parents concluded that the toy was nevertheless
part ofa conspiracy to convert Muslim children to Judaism (Slackman 2001).
Presented with a set of circumstances and an unsubstantiated ru1nor, a frame that
provided the narrative explanation, including a causal link, for those circu1nstances
(including a purportedly plausible plot, characters with motivations and ends such
as Jews wishing to corrupt children, and rhetorical and ideological underpinnings)
was easily adopted. It included the notion that the children's behavior was caused
not simply by a game that-like many electronic games-is oddly addictive, but
by an identifiable conspiracy to manipulate the minds of those children. Much
like the Rabbit and the Red Queen, those inside the frame find the explanation
perfectly plausible while others, like Alice and her readers, might find it rather
the opposite. An analyst approaching issues of unity, causality, and other structural
eletnents, from a strictly logical-positivistic view, will miss what the same e!en1ents
considered in a narrative fran1ework can illun1inate. In other words, the analyst is
best served by integrating both Alice's and the Red Queen's perspectives.
Narratives, Nonsense, and the Roots oj Understanding 105
The fact that narrative is an important and natural part of both human biology
and the structure of human thought may entail another kind of reciprocity.
Specifically, if narrative structures shape both our understanding and our responses
to the world, they are also shaped by our understandings and actions. If we have
a natural disposition to frame our understanding along narrative lines, then those
responses reinforce the narrative fran1e in which we are operating. Two additional
examples are instructive.
One real-world example of a na1Tative fra1ne that 1night shape our understanding
of events concerns Julian Paul Assange, the Australian-born Internet entrepreneur
and activist whose narrative is set squarely into the cultural policy sphere, '\Vith
both global and transnational implications. Throughout 2010 a large quantity
of confidential documentation, mainly from American military and diplomatic
sources, was released to the world's media by WikiLeaks, a web-based archive. This
presented a challenge for many governments, especially the United States. Though
the in1111ediate issues, as portrayed in the media, have been more about pitting the
right to know against matters of privacy and a state's rights to guard its secrets, the
fact that it was all played out on the Internet raises other important factors relating
to the freedom or regulation of the Internet as a cultural space, including issues of
copyright, artists' rights, and cultural industries. As represented in the n1edia, the
tropes concerning WikiLeaks' and A.ssange's narrative follow an identifiable path,
one of closure versus disclosure and .............. on a more mythical level-of hero versus
oppressor. They are, however, tropes that open up on so1ne curious aspects of the
early twenty-first-century world. The revelations about US military actions in Iraq
and Afghanistan were, although broadly unsurprising, seen as confirming the anti-
war position, as earlier scandals, such as the Abu Ghraib prison revelations, had
done. Neveiiheless, diplomatic cables from the US State Department, made public
in late 2010, pointed in a slightly different direction. Here was an immediate and
obvious lack of com111unication between parties: state actors and hun1an rights
NGOs, who might actually have something to say to each other. Given that
only states---0r groups of states, in certain cases-can actually legislate for, and
enforce, protections of rights, including cultural rights, within their borders, the
wave of support for WikiLeaks and Assangc was noticeable for the way in which
the enthusiasts seemed to almost exult in the incapacity of states, including the
US government, to keep anything at all confidential, even if that confidentiality
benefited more pa11ies than just the United States. Although some aspects of the
US diplomatic correspondence cast light on honest efforts by American diplomats
to support goals, such as human rights, which people who valorized WikiLcaks
could also expect to agree upon, the ruling narrative was one of an almost inythical
slaying of the dragon of national governmental secrecy by the white knight of
global bohen1ian protest. Even urgent reminders that naming names in the. context
of the war in Afghanistan-for example, of Afghan informers who had helped
NATO forces-might lead to actual deaths seemed to gain no purchase on the
imaginations of those who believed that Julian Assange and WikiLcaks embodied
a narrative of unconstrained cultural and political revolution-the electronic
106 Narrative, and the Map q{Cultural Policy
promise of the worldwide web finally realized. This example of one narrative
triumphing over (though not completely trouncing) another may have much to
do with how it was framed, or the extent to which it successfully mimicked an
indefinable but influential trope-that of the mythical hero. As represented in the
media, Assange's story fulfills a number of the requiren1ents of a recognizable
hero story cast into contemporary times.
The hero myth or monomyth was first described by Joseph Campbell in The
Hero with a Thousand Faces (1949). The myth defines a pattern of distinct stages
that correspond to the hero's life journey: "call to adventure," "supernatural aid,"
"crossing the first threshold," and "woman as temptress," ainong others. Attributes
of the hero (who is traditionally male) include such things as a miraculous birth
and identification in youth as being somehow special or destined for greatness.
Although Assange is not of miraculous birth (as far as we are aware), he has
been presented as recognizing his destiny early in life (Rintoul and Parnell 20 I 0),
as righting injustices using the Internet (a magical tool?), and in so1ne accounts
as "gifted" and "intelligent" (Leigh and Harding 20ll). His great deed, described
above, led to his downfall, a dramatic turn of events that includes allegations,
by two women, of sexual assault, and his subsequent in1prisonment-and later,
supervised release-in the United Kingdom in 20l0. Aside from speculations
aboutAssange's innocence or guilt, such a fall from grace, in fact, see1ns inevitable
in narrative terms. Such elements elevate the story from n1ere news to something
of great dramatic import. The unfolding of events along predictable lines, the
ease with which Assange could be cast as n1ythical hero, the extent to which he
was e1nbraced as a champion of good against leviathan forces are all factors that
provide a very useful perspective for the policy analyst wrestling with the policy
implications and responses of governn1ents (who in the Assange narrative quite
nicely folfill the role of leviathan force). It is no exaggeration to see in Assange's
narrative something akin to other mythical tales or their contemporary versions-
for example, Prometheus versus the gods, Randall P. McMurphy (of Ken Kesey's
One F'levv Over the Cuckoo S Nest) versus Nurse Ratched, or Harry Potter versus
the Ministry of Magic. Though the respective fates of these characters exhibit
some differences (the defeat that Prometheus and McMurphy suffer is more
permanent), their narratives share marked structural similarities with each other
and the hero myth, including the notoriety brought about by the downfall that later
elevates them as a lasting symbols.
A so1newhat different but nevertheless equally revealing case involves the
emergence of opposition by groups of citizens and residents in An1erican towns and
suburbs to the authorities' plans to improve municipal energy and transportation
by such measures as greenways for pedestrian and cycle traffic, utilizing a wider
variety of renewable energy for inunicipal buildings and vehicles, and encouraging
"smart growth" for housing and other development in the area.
f-Iere, the narrative is also one of oppressor versus oppressed, with the added
ditnension of how a story may be constructed around particular fears to become
the prevailing viev.
\Vith enough force to influence a policy process. As reported
Narratives, Nonsense, and the Roots o,f Understanding 107
by Kaufman and Zernike (2012), in the New York 11mes, there have been energetic
and unanticipated surges of resistance to smart gro\vth plans in a number of US
municipalities. Resistance has focused on fairly banal items, such as the payment
of agreed tees to companies who provide consulting services and other assistance
to local governments in measuring efficient energy usage. While it is not at all
unusual for individuals or groups to fight back against City Hall for reasons to
do with public spending, space usage, or business costs, it is surprising to find a
concerted and so1newhat paranoid motive behind such objections. 'fhe rationale
in one case, concerning Roanoke County in Virginia, was that some citizens
believed that the local public authorities were the tools of Agenda 21 in their
view, a conspiratorial United Nations plan to cripple the American economy and
transform the lifestyle of American freedom to metaphorical (and maybe literal)
enchainn1ent within a totalitarian world order.
Agenda 21 is a twenty.year.old non binding United Nations resolution calling
on member states to make efforts to use natural resources, including land, as
efficiently as possible and to try to prevent sprawl by steering development toward
already dense areas with substantial infrastructure in place. In the highly polarized
political atmosphere of 2012, however, general environmental concerns that had
been broadly supported by citizens across the political spectrum could become
sudden flashpoints for ideological challenge. What is striking about this case is that
the protesters, although operating on the basis of a somewhat fragile relationship
with the facts, have one major asset on their side: a story. They have constructed a
narrative of the external manipulation of US legal and constitutional procedures by
the u-N, an international entity that, according to many American conservatives,
seeks to establish a single world order in which the United States would be a
subordinate power. They further believe that this will be accomplished with the
complicity of local politicians. Thus, Agenda 21, which originates in the UN, is in
their view just another step toward that goal. fn the case of Roanoke, baffled city
and county planners, as well as elected representatives, were left confused about
how to respond. County managers and technical experts were prepared toexplain
the value of energy-saving and sustainable measures that could save both citizens
and the municipalities and counties money, but such concerns no doubt paled
in comparison to people's fears about creeping world dominance. No rational
explanation is quite as compelling as a good story that weaves together threads of
conviction and directs toward an ostensibly logical conclusion. ln other words, the
emotional power of the narrative, coupled with its argument-like formulation, had
the persuasive force to foster opposition. It was obvious that the policy-makers of
Roanoke County needed a better narrative to achieve their goals.
Indeed, the foregoing examples arestriking for how each reflects, as in a
distorting mirror, the other's response to the transnational dimension that gives
each narrative a particular profile, either attractive or repellent Whereas the
transnational, nation-state-defying romanticism of the WikiLeaks story and its
master of ceren1onies appear to make Julian Assange into a hero for the new
global c!ass of cultural activists and liberal Weltbiirger, it is the transnational
108 Narrative, Identity, and the Map qf Cultural Policy
implications of the Agenda 21 process-no matter how grotesquely
represent the most ominous and threatening element of the
story for those conservative and somewhat paranoid citizens protesting at the
covert undennining of American values by municipal and rural authorities at the
behest of the United Nations.
With the above exan1ples in mind, vve see that a narrative framework for
cultural policy analysis can provide a unique and very useful tneans for
approaching cultural policy issues. Seeking the elements of narrative that may
be present within different representations of a policy process 1nakes it possible
to view this process through a very different lens. lt is not so 1nuch that policy-
making can simply be "better" when viewed through the lens of narrative, as
there are, of course, many other considerations that go into policy over and
above the frame within which it is constructed. But for policy-making that
does not wish to be caught unawares, a sense of the old and new stories (and
fran1eworks of stories) at large within the co1n1nunity-no matter vvhat size that
co1n1nunity is, or how diverse-can be of some benefit.
While a disposition to understand our world in narrative tenns n1ay result in
survival success within a particular frame, it may also put us out of sync with
other frames in ways that raise particular knowledge problems. Fictional events
may ring true when fra1ned within a particular narrative structure. In the exa1nple
of Agenda 21, the events are true but the way in which some participants have
constructed the details results in a narrative that, for so1ne observers, may have
all the qualities of fiction. If people are given a narrative :fra1nework, they may be
more likely to read events as intentional occurrences rather than, as is often the
case, as randomly occurring events with no specific reason or meaning attached to
them. Confronted with a harn1ful event, we often seek an explanation. The question
"Why did it happen to me?" begs a response that supplies the causal link which
then 1nay require an action to resolve the condition. In other cases, the explanation
solidifies something we thought we already "knew" whether or not the knowledge
was, in fact, correct, as the Pokemon case above so aptly shows. In these cases,
we contend that the structure-or form-rather than the content supplies the
persuasive punch. We explore this point in more depth below, beginning with a
return to early Greece and R_ome to further validate our claim of the centrality
of narrative, in this case, in the conduct of civic life and day-to-day engagement.
Narrative Evolutions
For both the Greeks and the Romans, the ability to speak and write suitably
was indispensable; young men were trained in the art of speaking well-and
persuasively--as a means of furthering their careers and distinguishing themselves
as civic leaders. The Sophists earned both historical renown and conde111nation
for their role as teachers of rhetoric. They flourished in the fif\h century BCE to
meet an educational detnand, but they are largely remembered, thanks to Plato,
Narratives, Nonsense, and the Roots qf Understanding
for their oppositional encounters with his teacher, Socrates. Plato portrays them
rather negatively for the practice of teaching their students to \Veave tales that
succeeded more because of their form than their substance. The tenn "sophistry"
and the negative connotations that "rhetoric" sometimes carries suggest that \\.re
have inherited the sa1ne negative perspective. 'I'he notion that narratives can be
used not just for entertaining stories, but also to persuade others to a point of view,
was certainly recognized by n1any societies in antiquity. What is important for
our purposes is to recognize their often subtle effects as they operate in political
spheres. Once again, the workings of na1Tative structures may occur in ways that
are not easily measurable, though their (sometimes dangerous) effects may be
recognized nonetheless.
A classic example is the trial of Socrates where the uses of narrative were
also on trial. The philosopher feared, on the one hand, that his jurors would be set
against him if they believed he was using verbal eloquence (which some might
have considered verbal trickery) lo obfoscate his alleged guilt. On the other hand,
Socrates was concerned that the jurors might find hi1n guilty if they were swayed
by the unsound, but eloquently presented, arguments of his accusers. The dialogue
Apologia begins with his plea to the jurors gathered in the Senate:
Ho\v you, () Athenians, have been anected by 1ny accusers, l cannot tell;
but T know that they almost made n1e forget who I was-so persuasively did
they speak; and yet they have hardly uttered a word of truth. But of the many
falsehoods told by then1, there was one which quite amazed n1e;-I mean when
they said that you should be upon your guard and not allov.
yourselves to be
deceived by the force of my eloquence. To say this, when they were certain to
be detected as soon as I opened 1ny lips and proved n1yself to be anything but a
great speaker, did indeed appear to 1ne 1nost shameless-unless by the force of
eloquence they mean the force of truth. (Plato 1956: 59)
The potential for rhetoric to subvert democratic aims, as understood by both
Socrates and his critics, not to n1ention the need to protect against it, was a theme
in many other Platonic works. As portrayed by Plato, Socrates spends a good
deal of time in the Republic schooling his followers in the difference between
appearance and reality, between the form that seems to hold substance and that
Vlhich is actually substantial. He notes nonetheless that hun1ans are far 1nore apt to
be convinced by appearances and other reasoning biases.
1'he difference between appearance and reality in the narrative sphere figures
in other ancient accounts. Gorgias, another Platonic dialogue, offers a definition
of rhetoric as the persuasion of ignorant rhasses within the courts and assemblies.
The philosopher Heraclitus points out the tendency of his fellow humans to "place
their trust in the popular bards" and the throng, as their guides "not realizing that
the majority" are bad and only a few good (Heraclitus 1987: 61-3). The Greek
playwright, Aristophanes, treats the issue of rhetoric with comedic effect in
Ecclesiazusae (Assemblyvvomen) in which a group ofwon1en, wishing to influence
Narrative, Identity, and the Map of C'ultural Policy
their men, don male costume as disguise and practice the art of speaking well in
order to win votes in the Senate favorable to their cause. The quality they pose
as the identifying mark of the "cleverest speaker" is indicative of Aristophanes'
notion that persuasive political speech need not rely on substantive content:
First Wotnan: But how will a "feminine-minded company of wo1nen" be able
to n1ake public speeches?
Praxagora: Why, very well indeed, l Hiney! They say, don't they, that the young
men who get shagged the most turn out to be the smartest speakers? Well, by a
stroke of luck, we all have that advantage (line 110)
Jn his better-known Clouds Aristophanes satirizes the teaching of rhetoric,
skewering Socrates, in particular, as a buffoon who schools students in the art of
winning "an argument on any cause just or unjust" (line 120) by subverting rhetoric's
principles. The play features an exchange between two characters: the Better
Argument and the Worse Argument, in which the latter handily wins. Notably, the
real Socrates, portrayed by Plato, raises the issue of Aristophanes' play in the opening
plea of Apologia. Although he appears to have no animosity for the playwright
(Socrates holds a lively debate with him in another Platonic dialogue), he understood
the possibility that the jurors would take the Socrates standing before them on trial
to be the wag portrayed on stage. Similarly, a contemporary movie portrayal of Joan
of Arc, Nelson Mandela, Sigmund Freud, or Johnny Cash, even if treated seriously,
may diverge significantly from reality, yet have great persuasive effect on the way in
which we understand these historical figures and their past actions.
[n sun1, the dangerous capacity of dramatic perfonnance to create emotional
volatility and overwrought reactions in an audience concerned Plato and other
early Greeks. The popularity of Athenian drama festivals gave ample evidence
of narratives impeding the rational thought and virtuous decision-making needed
for a sustainable political system. When Plato wished to ban poets from the ideal
republic, he did not n1ean just authors who wrote verses with identifiable n1etrical
patterns, but rather all those writers who told compelling and seductive stories,
used emotionally charged language, or staged fantastic tales of human-divine
interaction. For modem readers, indeed, certain aspects of Plato's
especially the distaste for unchecked literary activity (the kind that makes light
of the virtues rather than extolling them)-1nay read like unwarranted repression
rather than the desire, as Plato saw it, to secure hun1an excellence. No doubt Plato
would have denied that a contraction ofhu1nan capabilities was the likely outcome
of his precepts for his ideal republic, given his conviction that exclusive exposure
to noble tales would produce, in the masses, an equally noble spirit. We note that
this early attempt to consider the pros and cons, in terms of the pub! ie benefit of
creative exhibitions, is something we would recognize today as an issue of cultural
policy. In any case, the 01ninous potential of cultural narratives to produce meaning
beyond the borders of a given political order is a distinct subtext in Republic.
Narratives, Nonsense, and the Roots of Understanding 111
The above example reinforces once again the power we ascribe to poetry,
drama, and narrative to transform individuals. Plato, for his part, recognized, in
sum, that the person or institution that controls the narrative, controls other aspects
of human lite as well. The point is well illustrated-taking a much later examplc-
in George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four. In his grim novel, Orwell shows the
eventual consequence of restricting the stories individuals can tell or have access
to when the tools for understanding, explanation, and communication become
equally restricted. [f people have absolutely no knowledge of certain narratives or
certain vocabularies, then interpretations of the world that require such narratives
or vocabularies will be stillborn, so to speak, because the vehicle to develop and
pass on those interpretations is lost in darkness. 'I'his is precisely the state of affairs
described by the case study of the Hopi earlier in this volume.
Between Plato and Orwell, the teaching of rhetoric to young men persisted as
a fundamental component of civic education. Longin us' treatise On the Sublime
schooled readers in both recognizing and producing "a certain loftiness and
excellence of language," which he identified as the Sublime. [t is noteworthy,
for our purposes, that writing of this kind was thought to operate more on the
emotions than on the reason. He writes:
A lofty passage does not convince the reason of the reader, but takes him out
of hi1nself. That which is ad1nirable ever confounds our judg1nent, and eclipses
that which is merely reasonable or agreeable. To believe or not is usually in our
power; but the Sublime, acting with an imperious and irresistible force, sways
every reader whether he will or no. (Longinus 1890: 3)
Whether it is the result of conscious manipulation by a narrator seeking to influence
an audience or the natural eftects of narrative as an underlying fran1ework for
human understanding we see the roots, in these early examples, of what later
scholars have noted. Persuasively constructed narratives exert influence on our
emotional, non-rational selves in ways that we are unable to control and may not
be consciously aware of.
From the late nineteenth century onward, the concept of narrative as a crucial
aspect of culture re-e1nerged in the work of many intellectuals and writers. There
were a nu1nber of reasons for this development, but without doubt the sources of
the impetus include such elen1ents as the maturing of the novel as a significant
literary form in Russia, Europe, and America, the new sense of anthropological
history that came about after the publication of Charles Darwin's work on
evolution, and the growth of a structural-analytical mode of linguistic study that
had some influence on philosophy. The two most influential lines of thought came
fro1n folklore and anthropological studies, on the one side, and from linguistics
and philosophy of language on the other.
'I'hese definitive approaches to the structure of basic narrative appeared in
the first part of the twentieth century. In the case of folktales out of oral cnltures
(or, at least, cultures that maintained both oral and written modes) there is the
I 12
Narrative, Identify, and the Map o.f Cultural Policy
analysis of functional elen1ents by the Russian linguistics researcher Vladi1nir
Propp in Morphology olthe Folktale (1928). The same period saw the beginning
of the organized co1npilation of international folktale inotifs as a result of the
cross-generational work by the "Finnish acaden1ic Antti Aarne and the American
folklorist Stith Thompson. The Aarne-Thompson (since 2004, Aarne-Thompson-
Uther) classification index developed at the end of the 1920s remains relevant
today. Now, under the principal authorship of Hans-Jiirg Uther (2004), it is one
of the primary tools for research into oral folktales and folk literatures across the
globe. Of particular note, apart fro1n the classification of structural elements or
individual n1otifs, is how folktales operate as transmitters of cultural knowledge,
which can in turn becon1e a site of political persuasion. We suggest that the
analytical processes laid out by Propp and Arne 1'hompson can assist in teasing
out formal, rhetorical, and ideological threads in a cultural policy narrative. We
provide several exa1nples later in this chapter.
From the perspective of analysis, the most important thing that the Propp and
Aarne-'fhompson studies had in common was what we would call a taxonomic
approach to their treatment of folk n1aterials. With one significant difference,
discussed further below, both Propp's "morphology" and the Aarne-Thompson
"types" had grasped that folklore and folk narratives in fact comprise many fewer
basic co1nponents than there are tales and stories, and thus present an array of
forn1al ele1nents that 1nake up a \.Vhole. Sin1ilar to how the basic units of a flexible
architectural design can be combined in different ways to serve as the central
support for a number of different styles of building, the varying co1nbination of
structural elen1ents in a narrative can generate an array of tales, with the results
often appearing to be very different fron1 one another if one only looks at the
content (characters, local setting, images, and so on). All romantic comedies are,
one could say, essentially the sa1ne play or movie, but, of course, a great part of the
pleasure at watching them often comes from the local content and the way in which
the basic narrative is adjusted or given a different rhyth1n or pace. In contrast,
however, we often take pleasure in stories that proceed along predictable lines
with no deviations fro1n the fa1niliar tale. For example, children who, according
to Polkinghorne, master the "competence for understanding a narrative ordering
of events ... between their second and tenth years" (l 988: 20) delight in hearing
the sa1ne tale over and over again, sometiines to the extent of asking to hear a tale
anew im1nediately following the ending of its original telling. As many caregivers
know, children are also great watchdogs regarding the "correctness" of a tale.
Deviations fron1 the established version provoke vociferous objections. Rudyard
Kipling's Just So Stories are a case in point. They were so named by the author for
his children, who insisted on exact retellings of favorite tales.
In contrast to Propp, Aarne-Thompson is a tnte index, giving a number code
to each one of approximately 2,500 tale types, including subordinate variants and
multiple recurring 1notifs or plots. The value of such an index to the narrative
policy analyst is that it provides a concrete means for identifying tale types and
plots in policy events, articulations of policy, policy justifications, and the like.
Narratives, lVonsense, and the Roots o.fUnderstanding 113
Casting artists into particular roles, such as redeemers or heroes, or fallen heroes,
as we discuss in Chapter 3, or evil-doers capable of seducing (especially) children's
1ninds, or tempting them to do wrong, has significant narrative power. Successful
use of these indices in the service of persuasion has great relevance, therefore, for
policy analysis. To illustrate, one tale type is called "Burning Down the Barn to
Destroy an Unknown Animal" (type 1281 ). Motits like this are not only amenable
to analysis, but also invite reflection upon motives and outcomes that are also
useful in understanding policy choices, issues, and narratives.
Briefly, the tale begins \Vith an o w l ~ t h unknown animal frightening the
people of a village. The owl flies into a barn. One boastful man claims that he will
kill it. He enters the barn with this intent, but the owl hoots, frightening him. He
n1ns out of the barn in fear, leaving the ovvl unbanned. The villagers bum down
the barn in order to rid then1selves of the unknown animal. In one sense, they have
solved their proble1n-.....etin1inating the unknown and frightening creature. The tale
recounts a series of events, however, that also opens up avenues for inquiry as we
probe further. For example, while the villagers have dispensed with the frightening
creature, they have also burned down the barn, whicb they probably needed.
Also, since there are more owls in the world, they haven't entirely eliminated
the perceived problem. And, they have not bothered to find out if the owl is truly
harmful to them or if it can provide a benefit (such as killing mice that have infested
the barn), The surface story illuminates the multiplicity of realities that does more
than simply tell us what happened. It reveals not only the villagers' manner of
response to a perceived problem (an implicit policy for responding to frightening
creatures), but also the unintended consequences that may have to be dealt with.
Type 1281 has potential as an interpretive guide for a number of cultural policy
applications. Here, we illustrate this with son1e examples from the United States.
They involve a metaphorical burning down of the house to rid communities of an
unknown (and frightening) anitnal: controversial theater productions in one case,
and a controversial conten1porary ati exhibit in another.
In 1996 the performance of Tony Kushner's play .Angels in Ameiica in
Charlotte, Mecklenberg County, North Carolina led to a legal injunction to ban the
perforn1ance because of its homosexual content (the unknown aniinal). Spurred by
objections to this and other performances deemed objectionable by some members
of the public, Mecklenberg County Commissioners passed a resolution to deny
county money to any arts agency that would "pro1note, advocate or endorse
behaviors, lifestyles and values that seek to undermine and deviate from the value
and societal role of the traditional American family" (Ly 1997). It should be noted
that, over its lifetime, the play has won a Pulitzer Prize, a Tony Award, and many
other si1nilar com1nendations.
A similar action by con1n1issioners in Cobb County, Georgia, eliminated the
entire county arts grant budget following controversies relating to perfonnance
of two plays, David Hwang's M. Butterfly and Terrence McNally's Lips Together,
Teeth Apart, both of which also deal with homosexual themes. fn the case of Cobb
County, the arts grant budget also provided grant subsidies for many uncontroversial
114 Narrative, Identity, and the J\Jap Policy
organizations, including Cobb Children's Theater, Cobb Youth Chorus, and Cobb
Symphony Orchestra. The threat the play seemed to pose, however, overrode such
considerations, and the entire edifice was metaphorically burned to the ground.
J-To1nosexuality cast as the unknown ani1nal presents a vaguely defined
but danger nonetheless. Rather than discovering \Vhat the creature is (owl or
hon1osexuality) and analyzing whether it is truly dangerous or not, the imagined
danger is so great that the response is to get rid of it altogether. ln fact, in tale type
1281, the unknown animal escapes. But the action of burning down the barn (or
eliminating all arts funding) reassures those who have been frightened.
The unknown ani1nal in the case of the next example is various works of art. In
September 1999 the Brooklyn Art Museum opened the exhibit "Sensation" from
the Saatchi collection. Charles Saatchi is a British art collector \Vhose taste has
often veered toward the outrageous. The tour of ''Sensation" caused controversy
in Berlin, as well as New York, but the subsequent actions by New York's mayor
were unique. One artwork in particular drew the attention of then 1nayor Rudi
Giuliani; he found artist Chris Ofili's The Holy Virgin Mary to be "particularly
offensive" (Barry and Vogel 1999) because it featured elephant dung and women's
nude derrieres as ele111ents of the painting. Mayor Giuliani threatened to rernovc
all city funding for the museum (to the sum of $7 million, or one-third of its
budget) unless the director "came to his senses" and cancelled the exhibit (ibid.).
Ultimately, Giuliani was prevented, in court, fro111 fulfilling his ain1s. His action,
if carried out, however, would have a tfected many 1nore of the 1nuseum 's exhibits
and programs than just the one he objected to.
There are n1any ways of analyzing the reactions of city and county officials
in the above cases, and the policies they created or tried to create. 1'he use of
the narrative trope, however, helps us to consider factors that tnight otherwise
gain little notice. Regarding the controversial art exhibit, for example, Giuliani's
reaction (not to mention those of other city officials, members of the public, and the
local Catholic diocese) could be explained in many ways: an objection to what he
perceived as pornography or blasphe1ny, a case of not liking or not understanding
art, of not liking a particular kind of art, or of looking for a convenient excuse to
cut arts funding, just to na1ne so1ne possibilities. But these ostensible explanations
may obscure deeper n1otives that infonn inore extreme responses than getting
rid of just the particular performance or exhibit that gave offense. The response,
instead, was to do away with the whole ban1 to eliminate the supposed dangerous
thing. Interestingly, one very controversial artwork in the Saatchi collection, a
painting depicting the British serial killer Myra Hindley, responsible-with a co-
perpetrator-for the deaths of an unspecified number of children in and around
Manchester in the 1960s, elicited demands to remove it from the collection when
the exhibit was first opened in the UK. It did not, however, lead to efforts to close
the exhibition altogether or to defunct the institution where it was on display. The
response in the United States, however, was to rather dramatically throw out the
baby with the bathwater, or burn down the barn-an approach that seems well
explained by tale type 1281.
f./arratives, Nonsense, and the Roots o_(Understanding 115
Our point is not to claim that one can read, with certainty, the inotivation behind
Giuliani's response to the Saatchi exhibit. Application of the narrative trope is not
intended to operate this way. Rather, it provides a fran1e for identifying possible
ideological assumptions, given the way in which the pa1ticular story ofGiuliani's
actions unraveled. It focuses on a discernible stn1cture in the story that highlights
particular features, in the same way that the hero myth discussed earlier illuminates
particular public responses and expressions of value. Evaluating policy actions
by comparison to established narrative 1nodels, therefore, 1nay serve to elucidate
those afICctive elements that produce particular policy outcomes. Jdentif'ying the
narrative elements that appear within a set of events can inform us about why
they transpired as they did and will help in deciding what approach advocates,
opposing groups, or policy-makers might take as a result.
A Causal Narrative Walks into a Bar
In Morphology ofthe Folktale, Propp's approach and the outcome take a somewhat
different form. Propp wanted to identify the fonction of the motif types in a given
set of tales, rather than just generate a classification syste1n for the body of Russian
folklore. His study is an explanation of the sequential relationship of the motif
elements as they progress through the tale (for example, trickery, receipt of a
magical agent, or posing of a difficult task). After the initial situation is set up at the
tale's outset, Propp identified thirty-one "functions" or narrative elements that can
follow in various combinations, with some constraints on the logic of the sequence
(that is, certain acts cannot happen before other acts have happened). This model
is clearly relevant for analyzing or developing cultural policy narratives that are
centered on a sequential logic rather than, say, po\verful n1etaphors or a particular
narrative point of vie\v.
If one in1agines applying concepts of narrative structure as a measure for policy
thinking, then the parallels between the world ofdecision-1naking, on the one side,
and Aarne-Tho1npson and Vladimir Propp, on the other, arc illustrative. If one
takes that grand index of folktales and motif types, and projects it onto political
agency and policy choices, then the taxonomic aspect makes it clear that there
could be several policy-tale types. Two, for example might be "The government
declares a new policy to provide support for cultural entrepreneurship projects" and
"Practitioners complain of limited or distorted criteria for obtaining government
support." ln the Aarne-Thompson model, these would be simply discrete motifa
(probably corning under the umbrella of a larger tale type such as "tales of
government support for culture"). In a sense, they are both autono1nous narrative
units, and the fact that they in son1e way seem to challenge or unde1min_e each
other is not necessarily a problem for an encyclopedic approach that collects all
phenomena, as they exist, without attempting to resolve their ditierences. Propp 's
A1orphology o,fthe Folktale is, in contrast, focused on the logic of narrative units
operating together in individual tales, so in a sense it is both more particular and
116 ,Varrative, identity; and the Map o_fC'u/tural.Policy
more abstract than the Aarne-Thon1pson classification syste1n. In Propp 's study
there can be, say, units such as the following:
An interdiction is addressed to the hero
The interdiction is violated
While many components of the folktale can be combined in different ways,
there are some limits. Thus, the sequence above (Propp, 1968: 26-7) is valid.
A character cannot willingly disobey a warning he has not yet received. The
following, however, is not valid for the same reasons to do with time and causal
The interdiction is violated
An interdiction is addressed to the hero
Another in1portant point is that tin1e and causal relationships have n1eaning in the
policy world, but it is not as simple as that. The sequence below is clearly one that
makes narrative sense:
Government holds extensive hearings to get feedback on policy changes on
support for cultural entrepreneurship projects
Government passes legislation on new policy on support for cultural
entrepreneurship projects
It is also unfortunately true that the reverse sequence, in which the government
first passes the legislation, and only then goes looking for feedback from the
people and organizations affected by such legislation, can be found in the real
world. In Proppian tenns, therefore, this sequence of narrative units would be
unacceptable in the folktale as it undermines a basic storytelling logic that people
cannot be asked for their input to influence something that has already taken place
without their input. But anyone who works in a university, for exa1nple, will testify
that nlany re1narkable, perhaps even magical, policy changes can take place that
defy the normal laws of narrative sequencing.1'he reason 1nany people may feel so
violated, as a result, is not only because of the denial of input, but also because of
their intuitive sense that the internal logic of the causal sequence has been broken.
The parallels with more basic structures of language are tantalizing, and one
can easily see how it beca1ne possible to view the body of folktale functions as
analogous to a vocabulary and a set of syntactical rules out of which the speaker
of a language creates a sentence. The identification of 1notifs is an in1portant
co1nponent of narrative framework for our purposes, because they can be used,
within a conte1nporary context, as elements of a policy narrative that resonate,
often on an unconscious level. They can also be separated fron1 the whole for the
purposes of scrutiny, or as formal or structural elements.
Narratives, Nonsense, and the Roots <?f Understanding
In addition to the above, folktales and other naive narratives both offer and
confirm stereotypes, and are used in assimilating and understanding aspects of
human experience (Lang 2010). Citing the work of Carl Jung, Claude Levi-Strauss,
and Joseph Campbell, L,ang notes that naive narratives provide naive explanations
of phenomenon "e.g. that a chariot and horses daily draw the sun across the sky"
(20 I 0: 29), and that accepting such explanations as the primary purpose of these
stories is also naive. In other \vords, the stories transmit much 1nore than is apparent
on the surface of the story alone. What is transmitted in terms of particular group's
or society's values and norms may be son1ething we can articulate, although
perhaps never with precision. We also note that modern anthropology came to see
culture as a set of discourses about the nature of the universe from which particular
local discourses had emerged. Everything from religious beliefs to rules for marital
relations to hunting techniques can be read as a grammar of value, in the sense
that the sequencing of elements and the specific relationships between them (for
example, the different types of food at various stages of a meal, or the appropriate
seating arrangen1ent at a religious ceren1ony) are both arbitrary and meaningful:
arbitrary in that they are the result of custom and practice, rather than the proof
of some essence already existing at the beginning of cultural development; and
meaningful in the sense that all social practices are like a spoken language with rules
of organization and expression, enabling us to distinguish between grammatical and
ungrammatical utterances, between acceptable and unacceptable co1nbinations. It
is similar to being aware that the utterances "she sat down and spoke solemnly"
and "she spoke solemnly and sat down" can have notably different meanings and
implications despite being composed of exactly the same words. Likewise, the
grammar of social relations is, so to speak, a language system in which a community
engages in a complex conversation with its own origins.
Vladin1ir Propp and researchers in other disciplines who tavored a more
structural than taxonomic approach to their various fields were preceded by the
Swiss linguistics scholar Ferdinand de Saussure, whose Course in General
Linguistics, published posthumously in 1916, altered fhe framework for the study
of language, and exercised considerable influence across the humanities during the
twentieth century. Saussure is re1nembered for a number of innovative concepts, in
particular the linguistic sign, composed of two interdependent parts, the signifier
(what we hear or read) and the signified (the image in our minds that is conjured up
by that phonic or visual experience), and the arbitrary nature of that linguistic sign.
The latter is important in that Saussure considered the development of language as
so1nething not directed but random, or arbitrary, in many respects. For example,
there is no external authority that n1akes an English speaker think of the same thing
when she hears the word "knife" as a Gertnan speaker thinks of when he hears the
word "Messer"; conversely, it is entirely a product of arbitrary linguistic ev:plution
that English speakers and German speakers think of completely different things
when each hears the word "gif\" (der Gifl means "poison" in German). Saussure
argued that language is essentially a formal system in which 1neanings result from
the position that different elements are assigned in the system, rather than because
118 Narrative, Identity, and the Map of' ~ u l t u r a l Policy
of any organic relationship between meanings and \Vords. Once again, this supports
the notion that content alone is not the only relevant consideration in analysis fro1n
a narrative perspective. One of Saussure's 1nemorable analogies in the Course was
the French railway timetable. As he pointed out, the 8:25 from Geneva to Paris on
two subsequent days is, in our minds, the san1e train even if the engine, the cars, and
the crew are completely different. Even if it is delayed and departs at a later time,
it is still the sa1ne train, called the 8:25, with no confusion resulting. [ts n1eaning is
generated by the place it occupies in the governing systen1. "Whenever the same
conditions are folfilled," Saussure writes, "the same entities reappear" ( 1983: 107).
[n a sin1ilar way, a reference in some formulations to "the government" suggests an
unchanging and continuous entity, despite the fact that governments tnay change
radically over time and the differences between one and another ad1ninistration
n1ay be worth noting. The con11non refrain of discontent with "the governn1ent"
is persistent in the lJS, for example, even when at any given tnoment, so1ne of the
people complaining voted for the administration in power. What is relevant here is
that the (almost hidden) structures of the narratives in this case need to be teased
out for proper analysis of the situations in which they occur.
Similarly, signs are related to the world they signify and to the way we respond
to the particular sign. As an exan1ple, efforts to destig1natize certain jobs by
changing the tern1s used to identify them succeed only until the terms becon1e
familiar again through usage. In many cases, the tern1s later become the target. for
co1nedic derision. A sanitation professional is still the same person as the forn1er
garbage collector who picks up the household waste each week fron1 the bin or
dun1pster in front of your house. The resonance of a tern1 e1nbedded in a cultural
context. n1atters a great deal. Thus transnationalism may be today's sanitation
professional for yesterday's globalization.
To further illustrate so1ne of the points we have inade about language, 1neaning,
and knowledge in narrative systen1s, we look at jokes as a particular kind of
narrative that must rely on sequencing, delivery, and external knowledge in order
to pack their punch. Specifically, in order to "get" a joke, a person must bring in
a considerable range of knowledge not only about how language works, but also
about how the elements of the joke fit into a larger social and, often, ideological
context. Like the causal sequencing example from Propp provided above, a joke
has a strncture that depends on the order in which things are told. The following
(typically attributed to Groucho Marx) is funny because of the arrangement of
Recently on a safari I shoL an elephant in my paja1nas. What the elephant was
doing in 1ny pajamas I' II never know-.
Curiously, the joke is made when the underlying structure is broken. ln other
words, \.Vithout a sense of the proper ordering of syntactic elements that a correct
utterance would have, the joke is not funny. Consider a di'Jferent rendering of the
narrative with the sa1ne core information:
Narratives, JVonsense, and the Roots of' Understanding
Recently on a saf8.ri I shot an elephant. I was \vearing my pajamas.
Jn this case, the final line 1nakes sense but is certainly not funny. It reveals nothing
beyond the literal 1neaning of the words. In the first iteration, however, the content
i t s l f ~ in fact, is not wholly relevant It is the delivery of the content that we are to
focus on, but what in the joke actually signals that?
The success of the joke draws on knowledge about the world, and of the
structures of correctly formed utterances. It is fa1niliarity with these (along with
some cursory knowledge of elephants and pajamas) that delivers the punch, What
this illustrates, for our purposes, is that the meaning we are to derive from the
words results from the narrative structure. We have suggested throughout this
volume that the narrative structuring of policy events, policy formulations, or
policy documents may also provide clues to what they mean, or are how they are
understood, by policy actors,
Jn another, contrasting example, knowledge of particular things in the world is
crucial to understanding the joke as a joke:
Q: f-Iow do you know if the head chef is a clown?
A: When the food tastes funny.
The source ofhu1nor here has to do with our knowledge about clowns, restaurants,
chefa, and the dual meaning of "funny" as something to laugh at and as an odd
flavor that may indicate that something about the food could make us sick. We
compare this to possessing knowledge about cultural practices, traditions, and
nom1s that will serve analysis of policy narratives embedded in these contexts
(and which we discuss in the following chapters),
In a somewhat different example, specialized rather than common knowledge
is required, but the narrative chronology itself also becomes part of the joke:
And the bartender says, "I'1n sorry, we don't serve neutrinos in here."
A neutrino walks into a bar.
This joke is somewhat more demanding than the foregoing examples. In order
to understand it, the listener has to recognize not only that bartenders can refuse
certain customers, but also that the neutrino as a subato1nic particle is known in
popular culture for disobeying the chronological rules of the nonnal universe; once
that knowledge is there-which is a popular understanding of a complex issue
in physics, and not actual science, of course-the co1nic nature of the reversed
narrative sequence becomes immediately clear.
We might point out that at least part of the sense of this joke might be
understood by people who do not possess an understanding of neutrinos but have
knowledge of the structure of this kind of joke (those that begin with someone
120 Narrative, and the Map Cultural Policy
or something walking into a bar). They might recognize that something odd has
occurred because of the narrative's disrupted causal sequence. We might compare
this to a child contemplating the painting Napoleon Crossing the Alps by Jacques-
Louis David, who might still gain pleasure in its execution even it: to her, it is just
a guy on a horse, wearing a hat. Knowing exactly who that guy is and where he is
going, however, opens up a larger narrative for the viewer.
The in1portant lesson is that the narrative structure of jokes, and of artworks,
invites audiences to fill in the appropriate n1eanings drawn from the world at large,
so that we get the particular meaning the joke or narrative is trying to convey. It is
the fact that we must bring a wider knowledge (beyond the information supplied
by the joke) that makes a joke work. It is worth noting as well that while we can
1neasure the success of a joke (audience laughs = successful joke), its success
really depends 1nore on its noted on its content. We
have all experienced the case of so1neone attempting a joke who verbally stumbles
in the middle of it, or who has to pause to remember exactly how it goes. We are
noticeably less inclined to laugh when this happens because the timing or delivery
of the joke has been disrupted, even though we might acknowledge-intellectually
rather than otherwise-that the joke was indeed funny. More specifically, the point
is that although we can measure the joke's success, we are less able to ascertain,
empirically, just why it elicited laughter. "Because it was funny" does not quite
explain it. in the sa1ne way, while we 1night be able to assess that a narrative
succeeded in eliciting a particular policy outco1ne, we may not be able reliably to
detern1ine why it was able to do so.
All jokes aside, this chapter has presented a condensed history of narrative to
illustrate the tnany ways it manifests as an important and necessary component
of hun1an life and culture. We have also shown the ways in which narrative has
been used, from very early in history to the present day, to circumvent rational
analysis in favor of manipulation through e1notion. The structural approach
opened up by Propp, Saussure, and others such as James Frazer, author of the
path-breaking and deeply influential study of comparative mythology The Golden
Bough ( 1890), came to have a significant influence on thinking about culture in
the twentieth century. However, writers and artists were already making the same
or similar moves during the era in which these scholars were working, but from
the n1otives of a new creative experi1nentalisn1 rather than academic research.
From the cubism of Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque through the deliberate
citing of Frazer's book in Eliot's long symbolic poem The Waste Land, to the
attempts by Frank Lloyd Wright to find an American architectural language that
looked at the landscape for indigenous values to nurture a relationship of form and
function, people searched for a new narrative to explain their world. Now, it was
necessary to show not only things, but also the relations between things, and these
relationships of structural affinity, whether shapes in nature or artifice, the oddly
exact parallels between quest narratives in remote and contemporary societies,
or the connections between building and environment, revealed meanings and
implications that individual pheno1nena did not. Stories, art forms, even casual
Narratives, Nonsense, and the Roots of Understanding 121
statements were said to reveal deeper truths. Perhaps the syntax of a locution
might say something that the locution failed to reveal semantically. Perhaps the
world was also the space between things, and not just the sum of all things.
These early works had a significant influence on modem thinking about
narrative and stories, and their influence is felt today in arguments about the nature
of fiction and its relationship with truth-claims, and in the conflict between those
who wish to validate and buttress hierarchies of identity or authority, or culture,
or wealth (not necessarily all together), and those who argue for the fluidity and
contingency of social, gender, racial, or cultural identities. "I'his argument is not
always a let\/socialist versus right/conservative drama, although it has been and
can still often be that; it is often more a dispute between people who want to know
who they are and who others are, and people who are less concerned with that
kind of fixed location for identity and are prepared to take it as it comes, so to
speak, out of the flux of everyday experience in our homes, our jobs, our cities,
our suburbs, our small towns, our schools, our travels, our marriages, loves, and
friendships. Our relative comfort or disco1nfort with particular stories, and with
particular types of storytelling, says a great deal about how we see our place in
the global and transnational world, and policy will inevitably stumble across that
co1nfort-..-discomfort spectrum.
Jn the next chapter, we take on the concept of identity and the ways in which
narrative structure and techniques serve to infOrm us within the cultural policy
Chapter 5
Identity, Borders, and Narrative Ironies
Any examination of identity must contend with the differences between individual
identity and the identity of a collective claiming distinction as a unique group. One
way to exainine the distinction is through the lens of1nemory. The early twentieth-
centmy French sociologist and philosopher Maurice Halbwachs maintained that
memoiy, as it presents itself to us, has some of the same qualities as narrative,
especially those attributes which fall into the more affective categories. Jn his
key work, On Collective Memory (1992), he posited that individuals grow into
increasingly wider circles of recollection, beginning with the family and its
intimate stories and lore, and expanding to include our local neighborhood, our
school and childhood friends, our faith community, our working lives (training,
workplaces, union membership, and the like), and, finally, the political framework
of whatever larger polity such as the city or the nation-state from which we take
our civic identity (Halbwachs 1992). Two propositions are central to Halbwach 's
arguments. The first is that, although these memories are ultimately subjective and
personal, they are at the same time only imaginable and communicable because
we accu1nulate them in interactions with other people, beginning with our parents
and immediate family members and expanding outward. The second, and more
complex one, is that the act of remembering is not a retrieval of a deeply subjective
and isolated set of perceptions waiting for us to reach back and find it, but rather an
interactive n1aneuver in which we reconstruct the past but with the capabilities and
needs of the present. "Collective frameworks of memory are ... the instruments
used by the collective memory to reconstruct an iinage of the past which is in
accord, in each epoch, with the predominant thought of the society" (ibid'.: 40).
That is not to say, of course, that we are merely inventing ideological fantasy,
but the fact is that we are never pure or neutral beings as we continually create
and re-create our memories. Our identities have been fonned at different stages
of our growth as human beings, and we n1anifest a very difl'erent interest in, and
need for, memory at different times. A ten-year-old squirn1s in embarrassment if
reminded of her six-year-old self-she just does not want to a middle-
aged man can find his mind drifting wistfully back to images of his ten-year-old
self, dwelling on the memories associated with that time of life. Thus, although
memory goes to form identity, identity' at any given moment may require one
kind of memory, and at other moments another. Collective memory is a kind of
glue for identity; it is the deeper shared experience that lets individuals cluster
into larger fonnations. ln a similar way, larger communities can use meinory-in
a narrative frame-to validate or undennine external circumstances, much as a
defeated nation, for example, can accept or deny the reality of its situation by
124 Narrative, Identity, and the Map of Cultural Policy
either facing the facts that led to defeat or recalling only the nobility of its side and
the weaklings and traitors whose cowardice or malice brought about this outcome.
Memory and identity are, for Halbwachs, two interlocking but unfixed frames
for securing our existence over time, rather as a religious community has a set of
central events that constitute the core of its faith. These events are "remen1bered"
as the n1embers of the community enact such central events as regular rituals or
practices. The collectivity holds the me1nories transgenerationally, thus allowing
each individual believer entiy to a memory field that constitutes, at least in part,
that individual's identity.
Whether individual or collective, concerns of identity resonate within
considerations of the transnational versus globalized landscape because each of
these concepts provides a ditTerent fra1ne for the value we place on the individual
versus the collective. In addition, the two landscapes provide very di'ff'erent frames
and narrative structures wherein choices and intentions set the parameters for
action. In son1e cases, globalization is cited as a factor or reason fOr transnational
develop1nents, so that the landscapes overlap or inerge. In others, the landscapes
are clearly distinct. The reciprocal interactions between identity and narrative are
important, we reiterate, because identity both constructs a narrative and arises
within a narrative. We have noted above that issues about the relationship among
these elements emerge, which open up queries as to what extent a cultural policy
narrative is dependent on a frame or point of view inarked by an identity. To what
extent are relevant constructs of identity dependent on the particular story that is
told (or isn't told)? To what extent is narrative identity within a particular cultural
policy framework dependent on a specific culture? Or to what extent is the idea of
culture dependent on individual constructs of identity? Given cultural pluralisn1 as
a condition of the world, the presence ofn1ultiple cultural communities within the
delimited political space of nation-states lends further import to these issues. The
increasingly transnational nature of the political sphere brings identity as a cultural
policy challenge to the fore.
According to Calhoun, the concept of individual identity has changed
dramatically since the advent of the modem era, not the least because the way in
which we consider identity and its stakes have dra1natically changed. Calhoun cites
the revolution in thinking in the modern era that gave individual identity "ne\v
moral and social weight" (1994: 2) in contrast to collective identity, rendering the
former, increasingly, "an object of personal strnggle" rather than "a premise of
action" (ibid.: 2). The moral dimension of identity has its roots in the very modern
concept of individual autonon1y-the Weste111 view that an individual has a right
to live his life according to self-determined reasons, motives, and goals. Individual
autono1ny is often seen as a central value in contemporary life, and thus contrasts
sharply with traditional cultural values that prescribe individual behaviors within
the !i1nits of the tradition. A belief in autonomy need not change a person's behavior,
however. The difference is one of independent preference. A woman may veil her
face out of religious choice while another may do it because her religion or her
community requires it, even though she would not choose to do so otherwise.
Identity, Borders, and Narrative Ironies 125
"A key concept of nationhood is a people's ideas of themselves, their
imaginings of who they are" (Womack 1999: 14). Although communities are a
source of our identities-they supply the deeply rooted knowledge that shapes the
"identity structures of its members" (Waseem 2008)-a contemporary rethinking
of identity politics focuses on the individual who is his "own experience in the
world" (Tjibaou 1996), and who must negotiate within a process that is inherently
political and dynamic.
We tend to think of identity construction as something that began in the
twentieth century with the conscious denial of essentialist views. In fact, identity
has always been a construct full of complications and contradictions. "For all the
talk about the social construction of knowledge, identity politics de facto seems to
slide toward the premise that social groups have essential identities" (Gitlin 1993:
153). This is equally true of individual, as well as collective, identity. We operate,
de .facto, as if the standard cultural, racial, ethnic, and gender classification of
individuals, common in n1ost parts of the world in the past, is actively in force
(and, indeed, in many parts of the world it is). James Clifford examines the
"spliced" roots of cultural groups that lead us to question this notion of identity,
seeing institutional, political, religious, and similar forces as culprits in the process
of inclusion and exclusion. "Throughout the world, people are caught up in, and
excluded by, the powerful currents of capitalist markets, religious 1novernents,
and national projects" (Clifford 2000: 96), in which they make efforts to position
themselves. One response is to undertake the personal struggle to assert identity
against these culprits and others.
If You Were Authentic, You'd Already Be Home
The personal struggle for identity may challenge many of our notions about
cultural integrity and cultural citizenship in a world where individuals
increasingly position themselves as writers of their own stories, where identity
is the pretnise to action.
While memory contributes to the formulation of both individual and
collective identity, how it is understood in relation to the defining properties of
individual and group-at the lower levels of abstraction-plays into the concerns
of cultural policy in terms of the defining properties of cultural communities and
membership within those communities, the criteria for membership, the rights
of individuals (if any) to their preferred identities, and the priority of rights and
duties in cases of conflict (for example, which rights and duties trump others?).
Individual identity as the locus for struggle is discussed in more detail later
in this chapter. [t is useful to note, however, that in the twentieth and twenty-
first centuries, political and social e1npowerment is increasingly the struggle by
individuals to assert their own identities in the face of opposition that can stem
from other individuals, the community, or the state. 1'he type of identity one is
struggling for, incidentally, can make a great deal of difference for purposes of
126 Narrative, Identity, and the Map of Cultural Policy
cultural policy. For example, we can easily imagine an individual asserting a
religious identity that is different from the remainder of one's cultural group,
as well as a subgroup asserting religious identity apart from the majority group.
Gender identity has some similarities; it is an individual identity which one asserts
and for which one might seek protection. While both these cases raise many
thorny issues, the relevant point is that we can easily separate the individual fro1n
the group in these instances. The presence of transnational policies or globalized
norms, in fact, arises in both the above cases. For individuals and groups alike,
asserting identity on a global stage may mean the difference between human
rights protection and persecution by the home nation-state. In a globalized
world, cultural norms are more easily and readily questioned and re-evaluated.
The inherent rightness of a particular practice within the isolating constraints
of a low-communication or closed environment may suddenly become exposed
as the object of morbid curiosity, and even horror and disgust if that practice
is identified to the outside world. Western nations, for example, may appear
suddenly less democratic or free than they purport to be (or just hypocritical).
Autocratic rulers may be held up for worldwide scrutiny on a scale not seen
in earlier times. Nowadays, dissemination through fast-moving and accessible
vehicles, such as YouTube, has intensified worldwide awareness of incidents
such as the image of American soldiers urinating on dead Taliban fighters in
the mountains of Afghanistan. It is a challenge for cultural policies, however,
to strike a balance among the often competing values of tolerance, political
responsibility, and professional standards.
The above cases appeal to a larger narrative, one that encompasses a global
frame or point of view that 1nay allow a means for testing out identities against
the complexities that globalization has introduced, politically, economically, and
ethically. The narrative trope of individual against the world, or the struggle of
the underdog against the oppressor, for example, is one that we readily recognize.
The success of such struggles on the world stage suggests that they have found a
receptive audience. We might legiti1nately ask whether or not it is the f3miliarity
of the underlying narrative that bears upon their success. But, consider a case that
while it has so1ne struggle of an individual to asseti a preferred
identity-raises very different narrative assumptions: a black child adopted and
raised by white parents, who as an adult desires legal recognition as a Caucasian
individual. While this scenario may seem far-fetched, some Indigenous American
tribes effectively practice such policies in that they may adopt non-Natives, of any
race, as full metnbers of their tribe. The relevant point is that what we accept or
reject as an appropriate frame for identity, or how it might confound expectations or
undern1ine assumptions, is already part of an existing frame. Jn the United States,
a white immigrant born in Zin1babwe who becomes a US citizen can encounter
difficulties when trying to identify as African-American. A slightly different case
arises with ethnic identifiers such as Latino or Hispanic for people of Spanish-
speaking descent. Accepted definitions of the two identifiers are very similar, but
different people will prefer to identify as one rather than the other, often solely
Identity, Borders, and Narrative Ironies
for personal reasons. Coupled with the fact that official definitions of words like
Hispanic or other group identifiers (such as may be found in a national census) can
change over time, a pertinent question might explore whether these are different
frames for a single narrative, or very different and culturally relevant narratives to
be attended to. How do we accommodate such things as fluid identity or identity
by choice within a cultural policy system in ways that pay heed to issues such as
tolerance, fairness, and other important ethical and political matters, especially
where individual and group concerns collide? We typically understand issues
of cultural citizenship, for example, as arising in the context of groups asserting
particular kinds of rights, or of individuals asserting rights in connection with an
identified community. Yet:
What about the case of the cultural group reduced to a single individual? What
if individuals of what appears from the outside to be the same cultural group
have different ideas on how the group should be identified? Who gets to decide?
(DcVereaux 201l:48)
While identity may be an ever-moving target-hardly conducive to simple
definition under the best of circumstances-it is a necessary starting-point for any
serious consideration of cultural policy. The politicization of the idea that we can
all be citizens of the world and not just of a particular nation-state is a feature of
modernity (O'Byrne 2003) that resonates here because it emphasizes the tension
between collective and individual perspectives. Com1nunity and national identity
are indeed important cultural policy issues. Protections of native culture, language,
dress, customs, and traditions have emerged as formal policies both nationally and
internationally. Nonetheless, as noted above, individual identity as a human right
is increasingly the focus of many political struggles.
In practical terms, cultural policies have the effect of granting or denying
rights, conferring benefits, and of acknowledging or denying identity for official
purposes, including the extreme but all too common case of punishing 'the very
expression of identity. The real consequences of recognition or denial of identity
are at the heart of why cultural policies matter. A narrative fi:arnework provides
many dimensions from which to explore such consequences. It is therefore
useful to look at identity construction in greater depth as a struggle within the
transnational or globalized landscape.
In Chapter 3, we looked at the Hopi of Arizona as a particular case example.
Here we focus inore broadly on indigenous Americans in the lJnited Sates and First
Peoples in Canada where the question of whose story it is has been conspicuously
answered by the fact that their predominant narratives, both historically and
cunently, are authored by white non-Natives, even when the point of view\purports
to be otherwise. This example serves a valuable purpnse here because it highlights
a nun1ber of important issues relating to identity within a narrative fran1ework
as it plays out with regard to a range of cultural policy issues. In various ways,
transnationalism and globalization have a significant itnpact as narrative frames.
Narrative, Identity, and the Map of Cultural J>oficy
Interestingly, the identification of indigenous or native peoples (including
what to call them) has largely been determined by dominant (non-Native)
governmental entities, so that, in many cases, identity is strongly influenced
by policy. In the United States, "Native American" is the legal designation
for all indigenous peoples; it first came into use as the result of political
movements in the 1960s and 1970s (Barrows 2007). Given that the United
States officially recognizes 564 distinct tribes, "Native American" could be
considered a catch-all tenn for an array of very diverse cultural groups, which
also includes Native Hawaiians and a nun1ber of distinct indigenous tribes in
Alaska. In fact, according to some sources, "Indian," "Indigenous American,"
and "American Indian" are the preferred terms among many cultural groups of
that designation in the United States (ibid.). The term "Indian" is nevertheless,
rejected by similar cultural groups, such as the Inuit in Canada, who favor First
Peoples or First Nations (ibid.). Apart from these designations, however, many
Indians in the United States and First Peoples in Canada prefer to be called by
their own chosen name. For example, the peoples typically known as Navajo
prefer to refer to themselves by their own word Dine, or Dineh (ibid.). What
is clear is that identity classifications like these have broad implications. Shari
Huhndorfexplores this through the lens oftransnationalism, citing the effects of
globalization on the transition by many Indigenous A1nericans in their thinking
about identity. Specifically, she identifies a trend away from a focus on tribal
distinctiveness, or nationalism, toward the broader identity classification of
"indigenous peoples" and a perspective of transnationalis1n. A transnational
indigenous peoples' movement, she notes, has been facilitated by the Internet and
makes use of the United Nations to carry out actions. Transnational indigenous
movements raise issues that go "beyond the tribal" (Huhndorf 2009: 13), even if
the inovetnent ren1ains bound to local and national concerns. The "transnational
turn" in Native culture is happening as "tribes are increasingly being drawn into
local relationships that render it ever more difficult to understand the1n as isolated
or autono1nous entities" (ibid.). This change in development, which began in
the 1980s, marks an in1portant transition in how American Indians position
their identity. Whereas the emphasis a1nong many tribes was once to assert
the authority of their own sovereignty, Huhndorf sees a trend toward asserting
political power by appealing to a broader political landscape. The difference is a
matter of advancing a different narrative, one in which indigenous peoples assert
their own voice, frame, or point of view through self-determination, political
autonomy, and "the 'idea of peoplehood'" in "the importance of culture" (8).
To better understand the transition of Indigenous Americans from a position of
nationalism to one of lransnationa!ism, it is useful to review some of the relevant
issues relating to Indigenous American history.
The forced migration of many Indian tribes fro1n their ancestral locations to
1narginal agricultural lands is fairly well known. Nonetheless, the relocation of
American Indians onto arid, timberless, resource-poor and worthless land was
obfuscated by the myth of sovereignty and autonomy. "In effect, the reservations
Identity, Borders, and.Narrative Ironies 129
represent[ed] nothing so much as dumping grounds, out of sight and mind of
polite society, where it was assumed that Native Northern Americans would die
off altogether" (Churchill, 1992: xi),
The J 934 Indian Reorganization Act (IRA) purported to grant Indians control
over their own affairs, but did so, according to Indigenous American scholar
Ward Churchill, through semantic subterfuge that legitimized continued influence
(if not outright control) of the US government over Indian land and life, For
most Euro-Americans there is no Indian problem despite widespread and deep
poverty among tribal groups in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The
IRA established tribal councils that operated governance structures that were
largely alien to these indigenous groups, and established systems whereby single
individuals often had authority over tribal assets and signed over mineral leases
and rights that were to the advantage of the US government but provided little
economic benefit to the tribes. 1'his sometimes enriched particular individuals,
positioned to take advantage of new-found power, at the expense of other tribal
members. Nevertheless, in the view of outsiders, the existence of the council
serves to reinforce a false notion of unity and political equality among members
of the tribe. In the case of the Hopi of Arizona, as noted earlier, the tribal council
purportedly serves to facilitate exchanges between the US government and the
tribe; priority is given in these exchanges to decisions at the tribal council level,
even though internal Hopi governance does not operate that way. The twelve
Hopi villages are, in fact, autonomous, with no obligation to participate in the
central tribal government or to be guided by it, except to the extent required by
the US governn1ent for its purposes. 1'he reality, however, contrasts with the
image of tribal chiefs sitting down to "pow-wow" with US government officials in
nineteenth-century frontier garb as part of the collective American narrative. Once
again, the latter supplies a fictional view of intersovereign relations. Encounters
with Indigenous An1ericans, for most of mainstream American society, continues
to be through narrative forms such as literature, cinema, television, and policy,
which too frequently depict Jndian culture and individuals in ways that support a
benign view of lJS government-Indian relations, such that:
... the average Joe, should he bother himself to think of Indians at all, has no
reason to feel especially uncomfortable at \.Vhat has been and continues to be
done ... So relentlessly have official fables of federal largesse been put forth
that 1nany Euroamericans have come to feel resentment at vvhat they see as the
"free ride" bestowed upon Indians at their own expense. (Churchill 1992: xii)
The very existence of sovereign nations within a larger sovereign nation like
the United States or Canada is poorly understood by many non-Natives. That
Indigenous Americans were relegated to lands that in later years were discovered
to hold rich mineral and metal deposits, such as coal and gold, is a source of
resentment when tribes seek to exert sovereign control. In a cruelly ironic twist,
former US Secretary of the Interior James Watt, who served under Ronald Reagan,
1Varrative, Identity, and the Map t!f C'ultural JJolicy
notably called for Indigenous Americans to be 'ffeed from reservations, which
he called "failures of socialism" (Coates 1985). This, of course, ignores the fact
that the so-called failures of Ainerican Indian social and governmental systems
are often the outcome of non-Native interventions into Indian affairs. Likewise,
the conditions on many reservations that Indians might want to escape from-
poverty, unemployment, alcoholis1n, and do1nestic abuse-may have much to do
with diminished opportunities brought about by exploitation of Indian resources
by others.
Watt's opposition to American Indian sovereignty is echoed in resentn1ents
about what is seen as special treat1ne11t of ethnic minorities instead of being
vie\ved as a case of sovereign tribes atte1npting to secure their well-being through
their tribal councils. This is particularly the case where tribes have produced
wealth through businesses such as casinos or where important minerals and
precious n1etals have been discovered. The myth of sovereign control is especially
pernicious given that a substantial portion of the wealth derived from mineral and
precious metal deposits goes to the US government.
Jn Huhndorf's view, however, the concept of sovereign nations as a political
structure applied to indigenous communities introduces obstacles Or American
Indian political empowerment because it is a st1ucture imposed through
colonization. Tribal councils or central tribal authorities are atte1npts to emulate
European structures of governance. Further, these colonial structures have been,
and are, reinforced in a variety of narrative forms fron1 literature and film to policy.
"Literature," notes Huhndorf, "perpetuates national myths" (2000: 19).
While there is nothing new in making this claim or in recognizing the passion
with which a cultural group accepts or rejects a particular identity classification,
how these issues are viewed within the fra111ework of narrative as a tool for analysis
can provide unique insight. Understanding the underlying narrative structure or
framework ofassun1ptions tied up with particular identity classifications can serve
to clarify the ways in which such classifications matter in cultural policy, or how
they evolve over tin1e to produce new narratives with new ideological assumptions.
Consider, for example, the use of the term "Redskin" as a term for identifying
Indigenous tenn that is, today, generally regarded as racist. There
are a nu1nber of assumptions about the term's origin. "As a lot of people tell it,
the word originally referred not to skin color, but to the bloody Indian scalps that
whites paid bounties for" (Nunberg 2005). This version of its origin, in fact, had
been used by Indian activists seeking court redress in 1992 against a football tea111,
the Washington Redskins, for employing the term in the team's name. The use
by sports tean1s of tenns relating to American Indians, or the use of tribal na1nes,
was fairly co1nmon in the twentieth century until the practice came under scrutiny
after many challenges by Indigenous Americans who considered it disrespectful or
racist. Son1e sports teams voluntarily changed their names; others did so only after
being challenged in court or in the media.
A complaint against the Washington Redskins was filed with the US Patent and
Trademark Office's Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. The fact that the plaintiffs
Identity, Borders, and Narrative Ironies 131
filed their complaint to this judicial body is noteworthy, since it then treated issues
of cultural heritage and cultural identity as conunercial concerns. The co1nplaint
requested that the team's trademark the Washington Redskins-be decertified
because "Redskins" is ofTensive to American Indians, relying, in part, on the
derivation of the term cited above. That there appears to be no documentary
evidence to support the derivation that the plaintiffs relied on is beside the point,
according to so1ne. "It's a story that's meant to illuminate a social truth," notes
Nunberg, "as if to say that the history of violence toward Indians is buried in
the very words people use to talk about them" (ibid.). Even if untrue, the story
conveys son1ething significant about how present-day American Indians feel about
the tenn "redskin" and the ideological assumptions they find buried in its use. ln
other words, it is the story that "redskin" conjures, today, that is relevant, and not
the precise derivation of the \Vo rd.
It is interesting to note, therefore, that a more credible version of the term's
origin introduces a very different narrative terrain. Tracing its develop1nent over
time also provides unique insight into the establishment of transnational identities
in early English colonies in America, and later developments in the concept of
an An1erican "we," something we elaborate on later in this chapter. Jn order to
trace this development, it is useful to examine an account by anthropologist and
linguist Ives Goddard regarding the historical origins of "redman" and "redskin"
in referring to Indians. According to Goddard, (2005) some Eastern US indigenous
groups used the term as a classification as early as the 1720s, and it
was only later adopted by English and French colonists. By at least 1725,
[the] use of "red" was soon adopted in both French and English and
was conventional by the 1750s. Although Europeans soinetimes used such
expressions ainong then1selves, ho,1evcr, they ren1ained aware of the fact that
this was originally and particularly a NativeA1nerican usage. (Goddard 2005: 3)
Goddard goes on to note that other researchers have found evidence, in indigenous
languages, for the use of "red" with "man" or "person" in referring to themselves:
[T]he French account fron1 1725 says explicitly of the Taensa that "they call
themselves in their language 'Red Men'" ... Since the Taensa spoke the sa1ne
language as the Natchez . the Taensa expression was presumably the saine
as the Natchez designation <tvmhhakup> ... \vhich in phonemic transcription
is toM "man" (or in its earlier shape taM) plus haakup "red" ... Creek (which,
like Chicasavv, is a Muskogean language) was using the expression isticha<iti
("person"+ "reel") for "Indian" as early as 1738, when it appeared in a vocabulary
beside isti--J<isti ("person" +- ''black") for "Negro" and isti-h<itki ("person" +
"white") for '\vhite person." (Jbid.: 3, 4)
Goddard forther states that "redman" was not racial or pejorative in this early
usage, maintaining, instead, that "[t]he descent of this word into obloquy is a
132 Narrative, Identity, and the Map of Cultural Policy
pheno1nenon of1nore recent times" (ibid.: 16). He cites, fOr example, the use of
the term by James Fenimore Cooper, famous for his fictional narratives of life
in the early American wilderness, such as The Pioneers (1823) and The Last of
the Mahicans ( 1826), in which whites and redskins both battled and fraternized
regularly. According to Goddard, "Cooper clearly uses redskin as an affectless
designation for Native Americans" (ibid.: 15) demonstrating, therefore, the
author's understanding of the word as "an inclusive tenn of self reference in one
or more Native American languages" (ibid.). This is not to say that prejudices
against American Indians did not exist in nineteenth-century America. Indeed,
a short time later, the A1nerican physician and race theorist Josiah Clark Nott
described Indians as savages and "essentially a wild aniinal by nature, untan1able,
unimitative, uncivilizable"' (Nott 1866: 8). What is notable, therefore, is that
the narrative implied in the term underwent considerable evolution from a self-
referencing classification, or an affectless and essentially ostensive term, into
something both divisive and racist with important cultural policy in1plications.
Ward Churchill (who is, of course, part of yet another story arising out of his
controversial statement on "little Eichmanns" alter the 9/11 attacks) documents
some of the history of white dominance of A1nerican Indians, in which narrative
fran1ing relating to their history and culture has had significant power to influence
policy. rfhe fact that Native narratives are largely creations by non-Natives is an
in1portant factor that has worked against An1erican Indian interests. For example,
there is n1ore than a little irony in the fact that the heritage of sovereign indigenous
peoples has been absorbed into America's history and heritage. Many US national
parks and monuments (for example, the Grand Canyon), which are now public
spaces belonging to all Americans, are expropriated indigenous lands.
Historically, such narratives very literally determined European and white
A1nerican ideas about American Indians, and continue to do so today. Although
there is a multiplicity of narratives portraying Indigenous Americans alternatively
and stereotypically as some version of the "noble" or "savage," as spiritually
elevated guide or shiftless drunk, as stewards of Mother Earth, or as dependent and
ill-educated wards of the US government, the vast majority of narratives framed
by non-Natives purport to adopt an Indian perspective. While much attention
has been paid to such representations (as \Vell as to those of blacks, Hispanics,
Asians, Muslims, and other US minority groups), especially in film and television,
the transfer of authorial control away from don1inant Euro-An1erican culture to
minorities writing their own narratives has not progressed very far. The effect is
often one of disconnection from defined identities or the adoption of an identity
one had no part in creating. The issue is not simply social or inoral, but political as
well, given the power of narratives to influence political behavior and policy action.
Cooper's novels are a good example of the stories that were influential in
shaping n1any Americans' and Europeans' ideas about Indians and the American
West. Written between 1823 and 1841, Cooper's immensely popular books about
the American wilderness tend to extol the ethical purity of nature (and Indians
as the indigenous offspring of American nature) over life in a city or town. 'fhe
Identity, Borders, and Narrative Ironies 133
protagonist of his Leatherstocking tales, Natty Bumppo, is as close as a white man
can be to being Indian. The stories are framed from his point of view, including the
novel The Last of the Mahicans, which recounts the story of Chingachgook who
is the last of his tribe. Chingachgook is an idealized version of the noble savage.
l-lis death as an old man in Cooper's The Pioneers is poignant because, as the sole
remaining member of his tribe, Chingachgook dramatizes the final passing away
of his people and their way of life. In a larger sense, he symbolizes the passing
away of Indigenous American culture altogether; by the nineteenth century, the
relocation of Indians to reservations, the forced assimilation and re-education
of children, and laws banning the practice of Native religion were already in
place in the United States. American Indians were already becon1ing a rather
dreatny curiosity of the past as far as most Americans were concerned. Cooper's
romanticized tales of the frontier helped to solidify this image. Thus another type
of erasure was taking place. 1'he increasingly idealized view of indigenous peoples
in a variety ofnarrative forms (including film, literature, and photography) served
to marginalize Indigenous A1nericans while simultaneously reinforcing notions
of US identity as a homogenous '"we." As Indian activist and poet Sin1on Ortiz
(J 999) has put it, US identity depends on the appropriation of indigenous land and
the erasure of Native peoples, who are safely relegated to "antiquity." The idea that
An1erican Indians still exist is rather surprising for some non-Natives. It would be
like finding that ancient Hittites still exist, carrying on their quaint practices and
systems of belief, while the rest of the world has moved on. American Indians
living on reservations, in fact, are often treated as archeological curiosities:
The European imagination produces archeological subjects by splitting
contemporary non-European peoples off from their pre-colonial and even their
colonial, pasts. To revive indigenous culture as archeology is to revive them as
dead. The gesture ... reassigns thetn to a departed age. (Pratt l992: 132)
Yet, "[w]hat colonizers kill off as archeology often lives among the colonized as
Historically, narratives like Cooper's very literally determined European and
white A1nerican ideas about Indigenous Americans, and continue to do so today.
The dominant narrative is that of white history in which Indians also appeared,
though in supporting roles. TV shows such as The Lone Ranger (l 952-54) and
even more realistic films such as Little Big Man (l 970) and Dances with Wolves
(1990), among many others, are clearly of this genre. We also note the irony
of American Indian characters like Chingachgook-the last Mohican-being
portrayed in film by a long line of white men, including both Lon Chaney and
Bela Lugosi (although Indigenous American actor Russell Means was cast for the
role in the 1nost recent version).
In time, some canonical Hollywood directors like John Ford tried to
reconfigure standard western narratives to give more independence and resonance
to the American Indian point of view. In one of his movies in particular, the classic
flarrative, Identity, and the Afap o_f Cultural Policy
The Searchers ( 1956), Ford suggests that there is an icy core of racism at the
center of white Americans' desire to defeat the Indian and eradicate him and his
culture from the scene, while at the sa1ne time offering images of the American
Indians' (in this case the Comanches') merciless war-making as a justification
for that mentality. Ford was trying to square a circle, in many ways, because he
felt for both sides. ~ h e sense of tragic inevitability in Ford's westerns co1nes
froin the knovvledge of unavoidable defeat. Within the broader cultural narrative
of the United States, Amcricao Indians ultimately go down before the sweep of
European expansion, but Ford asks the audience for one last gesture of admiration
and respect for the fallen enemy, who had to be defeated so that America could
be America, This turned out to be a surprisingly vital political topic when, for
example, descendants of the Indian forces at the 1876 battle of Little Big Horn,
South Dakota, in which General Custer's Seventh Cavalry was defeated and
massacred by Cheyenne and Sioux warriors, fought for equal recognition of their
forefathers in the form of a memorial, eventually unveiled in 2003.
Again, the report that Native peoples "have been re-appropriating their i1nage
for decades" (Barrows 2007: 20) reveals how recent have been the efforts to do
so. As a result, formative identity narratives, written by n1e111bers of the particular
culture, are lacking, which serves to further entrench 111istaken or stereotypical
identity constructs. Not only does it engender an identity disconnection; it also
n1cans that non-Natives' ideas about Indians are often framed within an ethos and
world-view determined by other non-Natives. Both have in1plications for cultural
policies, for our understandings of transnationalism--particularly in the way it
has been construed by Bourne (as discussed in Chapter 1 ), and in the way non-
Native Ainerica constructs its own historical identity. An interesting comment on
this is provided by historian James Drake. He argues that the unquestioning use
of "we" in accounts of early Atnerican history draws too direct a line between the
A111ericans of today and the residents of early colonies. Failing to reject this usage,
he claiins:
... involves gerry1nandcring very narrowly across time the definition of"wc".
Instead of viewing the English colonists living three hundred years ago as the
seeds of a history that inevitably sprouted or progressed into the nation as we
knoVv it, I argue that the natives and the colonists of New England had enough in
con11non to fonn their own unique society. (Drake 1992: 2)
Drake's account of early wars involving English colonists and Indians in the
New World provides a multilayered example of the influences of narrative on
policy and the potential they have for fostering continued legacies in cultural policy
thinking. As a starting-point, Drake points to conventional American thinking that
identifies an early eighteenth-century war involving English soldiers, colonists,
Wampanoag, and other Indians as "the deadliest war in 'our' history" (ibid.: 4).
As Drake suggests above, however, there is evidence that the diverse group of
people who inhabited the eastern seaboard of what is now Massachusetts may
ldentit}; Borders, and Narrative Ironies 135
have seen the1nselves as fighting a civil war rather than a war between England
and indigenous tribes; Natives, for exa1nple, fought on both sides of the battles,
and the decisive shot that killed a key tribal chief was from an Indian. The notion,
therefore, that the war "fell within 'American' or 'our' history is problematic.
It should spark an obvious question, one asked by humans throughout the ages,
How wide is the circle of we''" (ibid.: 4). What is the scope of identity within the
narrative frame circu1nscribed?
The Entertaining History of King Philip:< War (Church 1716) is an early
account, discussed by Drake, which presented the stereotype of the Indian as
ignoble savage. It was composed by Benjamin Church, an English captain
at the ambush where Metacom, the leader of the Wampanoag, was killed. The
Wampanoag were an Algonquin tribe native to the area settled by colonists in
present-day Massachusetts. They are also identified in early accounts as the
Pokanoket and, interestingly, as Philip's Indians. The King Philip in the title of the
diary is, in fact, Metacom, who was called Philip by the British. The account is of
interest for several reasons:
1. The narrative was used as anti-Indian propaganda despite the fact that
Indians fought on both sides of the conflict.
2. Drake's claim that the early settlers and the Indians, together, constituted
a unique and distinct community that, in its day, was clearly transnational.
3. The story has been spoken of in ways that connect the community in the
eighteenth century to the ''\ve" of today as if there is some unbroken line of
history and heritage.
What is apparent, therefore, is the multidimensional influence that narratives may
have, both at their origin, and later in history, especially if the original narrative
goes unquestioned.
ln sum, the dearth oflndian narratives has had the effect of rendering individuals
and co1nmunities relatively invisible, except on those occasions where fndians
attempt to exert political control over their own lands, lives, and destiny. Telling
their own stories is a means for fndigenous An1ericans to recapture and control
their identities and to tnaintain cultural integrity in the face of past appropriations
that serve to reinforce and enhance the dominant (non-Native, white) culture
(Churchill 1992).
Similar stories can be told, of course, about native peoples in other countries.
Resentment against cultural rights secured by the Sarni, the indigenous people
of Finland, has resulted in efforts to delegitimize their claims, much like white
resentn1ent against the perceived special treatment of American Indians. A
position paper from the Finnish Sarni Parliament (1997) to the Finnish Ministry
of Foreign Affairs on elimination of racial discrilnination cites the activities
of Lappalaiskulttuuri-ja perinncdyhdistys r.y. (Association for Lapp Culture
and rfraditions ). Members of the latter group also ciai1n Sarni heritage and are
sometiines taken, by the news media, as spokespersons for the Sarni people,
136 Narrative, Identify, and the Map of' Cultural Policy
despite having no such real claim. 'Nonetheless, they have found an outlet for
dissemination of their anti-Sarni views that legitimizes the1n in the public realm.
ln another case, it is nearly impossible to separate any official view of the
Ron1ani people from their narrative depiction in literature and film. Even if the story
told is one meant to be fair to, or even show solidarity with, the Romani, it often
comes out either as a type of romantic projection or as a sociological concern for
a vulnerable group. While we increasingly recognize the potential consequences
of intentional or unintentional suppression of the voices and narratives of cultural
groups, there continue to be many examples where we ignore such dangers. Jt is
therefore worth considering the following:
In any system where absurdity and objective falsehood are privileged at the outset
to equal standing with logic, common sense and verifiable Iact .. -"it all depends
on your point of view," "he's entitled to his opinion" (no matter how ridiculous
or repugnant)------all humanly achievable approximations of "truth" are likely to
be displaced in favor of whatever complex of untruths best serves the needs and
interests of the status quo at any given moment. The proverbial "playing field" is
never "level," all stories are never treated equally, and pretenses to the contrary
serve only to guarantee the case with which fresh elements of disinformation
can be injected into the ever-evolving mythic structure which constitutes the
hegemony we intellectually inhabit.
To put it most sin1ply, when the attackers' power prevails in a syste1natic
sense, their story will always be privileged over that of the attacked; the torturers'
over that of the tortured; the killers over that of the kiHed. (Churchill I 998: 50)
Flags and Voices
Another fruitful area for the exploration of issues of identity is opened up by the
substitution of a concept such as transculturation for terms like transnational
or globalization: this term points to the kind of shift that comes about through
the introduction of foreign culture or cultures into a society. The tenn
"transculturation" was coined in 1940 by the Cuban essayist Fernando Ortiz as
a substitute for the term "acculturation." He co1npares the flow of iinmigrants
to Cuba, throughout its history, to "sugar cane ground in the rollers of the mill,"
(Ortiz 1995: 98). This rather traun1atic notion of transfonnation evokes a process
that results in something dramatically different from the original. Although the
outcome (sugar) may ultimately be sweet, it is achieved in a way that all but
obliterates the original culture which beco1nes so enrneshed--{)r "intenneshed"
in Ortiz's immigrant cultures that there is no way to separate
them or to make the original whole again. The intermeshed transculturation of
the island nation of Cuba occurred as "im1nigrant cultures of the most varying
origins arrived, either in sporadic waves or in continuous flow, always exerting
an influence and being influenced in turn" (ibid.). From the vast array of cultural
ldentity, Borders, and Narrative Ironies 137
groups that found their way to Cuba, each individual had been "torn from his
native moorings, faced with the problem of disadjustment and readjustment, of
deculturation and acculturation-in a word, oftransculturation" (ibid.). Although
the picture Ortiz evokes is one of violence and tom from
cultural emerges as a process encompassing the long
history ofhu1nan nligration and encounters between indigenous groups and newly
arrived i1nmigrants. In Cuba, the process took place over many centuries so that
what is "Cuban" must incorporate the 1nany episodes of transculiuration over
ti1ne. One finds one's identity, in such a circumstance, in the struggle between
acceptance and rejection of one culture and between acceptance and rejection of
the other. Identity is defined through the struggle, which is more of an individual
than a group or communal struggle.
Mary Louise Pratt (l 992) notes that transculturation is often regarded as
unidirectional with a dominant or colonizing culture, transfonning the colonized
or subordinated culture without itself being changed. One of the fears embedded in
many narratives of globalization is that identity differences will be hegemonically
erased. Pratt counters this by insisting that the process is multidirectional and not
entirely passive on the part of the colonized people:
While subjugated peoples cannot readily control what the do1ninant culture
visits upon them, they do detennine to varying extents v.ihat they absorb into
their own, how they use it, and what they make it mean. (Pratt J 992: 7)
Pratt considers the way in which many ethnographers use the term "transculturation"
to describe "how subordinated or marginal groups select and invent from materials
transmitted to them by a dominant or metropolitan culture" (ibid.: 6) in which
the subordinated and marginalized constitute the "other." She answers this by
insisting that the colonizers were changed as well. Although the colonizers may
have written the dominant narrative, the narrative they tell about
not only the one they tell about the as a result of the new
transnational experience, although this result is typically ignored or unrecognized
within the don1inant culture.
Writing on the state of Latino theatre in Los Angeles, Beatriz Rizk (2002)
discusses a similar trend, although here it is the narratives of marginalized groups
that do not follow the expected line of development. Rizk notes the tendencies
to see Latinos in the United States as a minority and as an "other" defined in
Anglo terms. The difficulty of seeing oneself as American in such a circumstance
raises issues similar to those identified by Ortiz above. The response by Latinos,
and indeed for many ininorities, is to create narratives on their own terms that
are neither the narratives defined by the dominant culture nor the narratives of
an ancestral tradition. Instead, they embrace, in the circuinstance described by
Rizk, the struggle to see Latino and American as mutually possible identities.
Occasionally, such narratives, carried into the public sphere, can create political
difficulties. For example, in 2006 there was a campaign to protect the rights of
!38 Narrative, Identity, and the Map o_( Cultural Policy
immigrants, especially undocumented people, in the light of prospective major
immigration reforms by the US Congress. At a large pro-immigrant rally in Los
Angeles, several demonstrators carrying the Mexican national flag were filmed
by mainstream news stations. This footage caused an immediate scandal, with
conservative inedia commentators asserting indignantly that this gave the lie
to claims that undocumented imn1igrants were basically buying into American
values, even though they broke the rules by coming to the United States illegally.
Pro-im1nigrant activists rejected this accusation but conceded a message problem.
Internally, the word went out to refrain from flying foreign flags at marches
and rallies. But what was the problem? Were the demonstrators with the flags
claiming that they wanted to reverse the l 848 Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo and
return Southern California to Mexico? Unlikely. Were they somehow identifying
themselves as Mexican and declaring their lack of loyalty to the United States? It
is a possibility, but it seems odd to 1nake an issue of it at a march in an American
city, Los Angeles, aiined at directly influencing changes in American law. Is it
possible, however, that the demonstrators flew the Mexican flag because they
wanted to bring their cultural identity to the march, and did not intend the flag to
be taken as any kind of political statement about contested territorial sovereignty?
If so, it would seen1 clear that many A1nericans react with paranoia to a Mexican
flag in Califo111ia whereas they would not react in a such a way to, say, an Irish (or
Italian, or Greek, or French) flag because, although there are undocumented Irish
immigrants in America, Ireland has no land border with the United States, and
there is no complicated history between Ireland and the United States involving
war and territorial acquisition. ff the people who flew the Mexican flag at the LA
rally i1nagined so1ne kind of transnational story in which 'flags are now badges of
cultural identity rather than nationalist symbols, however, they badly miscalculated
the strength of the national story among many Americans, who did not see it that
way at all.
"Transnationalism" has evolved as a convenient term fOr talking about
twenty-first century international migration. Accelerating rates of mobility and
means of communication have blurred the line between homeland and adopted
land, according to some researchers (Schiller, Basch, and Blanc-Szanton 1992),
indicating that transnationally is increasingly the way in which many people live.
ln our final chapter, we investigate the concept further with special Ocus on one
kind of identity issue-cultural citizenship-in various narrative terrains.
Chapter 6
Cultural Citizenship, Narrative,
and Transnationalism
The very notion of citizenship is a kind of fiction-a fabricated mix of civil,
political, social, and cultural practices that circumscribe the thing we call identity.
We are used to thinking that citizenship confers identity (or some part of it) by
virtue of the above mix of factors. What makes a person a Finn, for example, is that
convergence of factors that begins with being born of Finnish parents, probably
within the borders of Finland, and all that entails in terms of future political and
cultural attachments. More recently, however, a rethinking of citizenship has taken
place that foregrounds a different vector of conferral: one where citizenship, for
example, takes into account a pre-existing identity as the pri1nary 1neasure. While
much of this new thinking arises from gender studies or investigations into the
social and political empowennent of1narginalized peoples, it is worth considering
that in earlier eras citizenship was n1ore a matter of kinship than territory. Indeed,
for all the abstract constitutional and legal aspects of citizenship, the first step
for many people is that, as children, they receive their citizenship statns from
their parents. Migration can complicate this, of course. Countries that do not, for
example, grant automatic citizenship to the children of immigrants who are born
on their national territory create individuals who grow up with a sense of cultural
belonging but without the citizenship rights that usually attach to it. For a long
time Germany was the prime Western European example of this practice.
[f we view citizenship as a narrative frame, then, it is one in which family relations,
ideological commitments, a superstructure of assutnptions about belonging, and
a host of ethical issues relating to both politics and policy yield stories with the
power to transform individual lives as well as the boundaries of nation-states. In the
previous chapter, we examined the ways in which individuals and groups construct
identities, often in response to particular pressures or against forces that attempt to
construct identities forthen1. The relationship between identity and frame presented
in the context of "whose story is it?" provided a structure for reflecting upon the
ways in which narrative frames help shape understandings that generate concrete
policy positions. The control of the frame, we demonstrated, matters a great deal
to the success of one narrative over another where the contest (or contests) is never
fully settled. Citizenship as one kind of identity is similar in the ways in which
it may be constructed as a result of individual or group struggle, the definitional
fiats of political jurisdiction, social cohesion or disintegration, or the intentions and
accidents of transcultural events. In this chapter, similar processes come together in
constructing the particular identity we call cultural citizenship. We note that while
140 Narrative, and the Map of Cultural Policy
we cannot unde11ake such a project here, a fuller discussion of citizenship would
address the many complexities of that eoneept-complexities that are not at all
resolved with the qualification "cultural" leading the way.
While the tenn "cultural" has an array of applications for a variety of purposes,
it arises commonly in contexts where transnational identities are of central concern.
Cultural identity, within the processes of policy, is increasingly a site for skirmishes
along the edges where past assumptions collide. Yet to view citizenship as limited
to the political realm elin1inates important factors affecting the way in which lines
of inclusion and exclusion are drawn and which have i1nportant ramifications.
Researchers concerned with the rights of women in transcultural contexts, such
as Ong (1996), Ramirez (2002), and Gabriel (2005), uncover both social and
economic pressures resulting, primarily, fron1 the legacies of colonization that
prevent many wo1nen from claiming full rights of citizenship, or present challenges
for recognition within their cultural communities. Ilecognizing that citizenship has
often been a matter of property ownership is also to note that a woman's ability
to claim citizenship would thereby be compromised. "The relationship between
gender and citizenship is one of social justice," according to anthropologists Kia
Caldwell, Kathleen Coll, et al. (2009: 1 ). In Crossing Baundaries and Making
Connections, anthropologists Evangelia 'fastsoglou and Alexandra Dobrowolsky
similarly observe that fundamental rights of citizenship continue, today, "to elude
wotnen," even in Western countries (2006: 13). We are familiar with practices in
ancient Greece and Rome whereby only 1nen were eligible for citizenship (those
who were freeborn, at least). As late as 1946, however-before passage of Canada's
Citizenship Act-a Canadian woinan 's citizenship status was determined by that
of her father or husband, and this was not unique to that nation. The foregoing
histories, in all their dimensions, demonstrate that women's citizenship status has
often, and in many places, been less a poUtical than a social issue.
Economic factors are also a determinant in a type of citizenship status existing
in China where '"urban" and "rural" circumscribe cultural citizenship, according to
anthropologist Li Zhang (2002). In such cases, location of residence and economic
issues supersede purely political concerns. Cultural citizenship, in this context,
emerges from a syste1n where households register by means of a rigid sche1ne
based on China's centrally planned economy and an unbending hierarchical
division between urban and rural areas. While Zhang's work pertains to the
circu1nstances of cultural citizenship around this particular issue in China, similar
divisions occur infOrmally elsewhere. Zhang explains that econon1ic equality takes
place within these two categories, not across them. While he 1naintains that this is
in "sharp contrast" to Western liberal ideas, in vvhich citizenship "bestows equal
entitlements across the board for all members of a given political co1nmunity"
(ibid.: 313), the social and economic differences between nrban and rural dwellers
are pronounced in inany locations worldwide. There are also prominent divisions
apparent in urban geographies between affluent and non-affluent areas, and likewise
between affluent and non-affluent rural areas that define cultural membership as
meaningfully and concretely as the divisions Zhang describes.
Cultural Citizenship, Narrafive, and Transnationalism
The concept of cultural citizenship has also been defined as a matter of kin
relationship manifesting itself in a variety of ways from the practice, in ancient
Greece, of tracing familial descent from mythical origins as a way of forging
alliances, to the more recent practice of blood lineage, or jus sanguinis, common
in many nations and among 1nany cultural communities. Citizenship in the latter
case is auton1atically granted to a person born of parents who are both citizens
of the country or community. This is in contrast both to jus soli (right of soil),
where citizenship is a matter of where one is born rather than parental heritage,
and to naturalized citizenship, where a legal oath of loyalty to one's new country
is taken. In the case of the ancient Greeks, kinship ties were particularly important
for political and social alliances, resulting in "immense moral and political
importance" being attached to ancestry both "real and fictitious" (Sotiriu 2006:
404). For example, the phratries of ancient Athens were a sort of extended
social family that dealt with questions of descent and citizenship, which \Vere
sometimes traced to particular traditional heroes or to mythical gods. 1'he practice
of identifying traditional heroes or mythical deities as the founder of one's family
or clan was known elsewhere in Greece as welL Historian Sarah Pomeroy, for
example, discusses a group of mid-eighth-century families who called themselves
the Penthildes, from Penthilus, grandson of Agamemnon and the son of Orestes.
The latter was said to have founded Mytilene on the island of Lesbos (Pomeroy
et al. 1999: 90). Other rulers made similar claims. The Neleids of Miletus claimed
descent from Neleus, father of the Argonaut, Nestor of Pylos (ibid.). Such claims
of legitimacy-direct lineage from the mythical Greek gods----Oid indeed have
policy implications, but were not strictly a case of politically defined citizenship:
they had important economic and social implications as well. 1'racing lineage to
mythical (or near-mythical) origins was not limited to the Greeks, however. Later
in this chapter, we recount a n1ore recent example in the modern state of Romania.
Another use of the term "cultural citizenship" appears in the context of digital
co1nmunities, with terms such as "digital native." The native, in this case, is anyone
born during or after the advent and proliferation of digital technology, who is also
sufficiently well versed to be considered fluent in using it. In contrast, "digital
immigrants" are people (like the authors of this volume) who were born prior to
the digital age but have adopted the use of the technology as a common feature
of their lives. Many authors highlight not only how definitions of citizenship have
changed as the result of digitally networked technologies, but also the way in
which the concept of comn1unity is defined by participation in various forms of
digital culture (Uricchio 2004).
While the above usages do not encompass every category within which
cultural citizenship can be construed, the relevant point is that the concept has
been applied to a vvide variety of circumstances with the result that the joining
of "cultural" and "citizenship" into a coherent concept extends far beyond
the wholly political realm. However, an effort to limit our scope to matters of
cultural policy, in the present context, is procedural rather than conceptual. We
have explored the way in which globalization and transnationalism paint very
Narrative, Identity, and the Map of Cultural Policy
different narrative terrains. (ilobalization is often seen as the catalyst for present-
day transnational concerns, especially because it produces mobility on a grander
scale. 1'he ease with which people can 1nove from one country to another, as the
result of globalization, even under forced conditions, produces circumstances in
which the transcultural becomes the norm, bringing into play new capabilities
and skills as well as persistent conflicts over cultural loyalties (Vertovec 2009).
Cultural citizenship arises as a policy concern in any case where opportunities for
asserting identity, political, or economic rights are threatened or compro1nised on
the basis of cultural differences, however they are understood. Among our aims,
however, is to show that both transnationality and the cultural citizenship anxieties
that emerge as a result vary considerably depending on the narrative frame in
which they occur-particularly where the narrative is part of a larger historical
framework. For example, the concerns about cultural identity and the hoped-for
benefits of recognized cultural citizenship status in Western Europe are n1arkedly
different from the kinds of transcultural, transborder, and transnational issues
that arise for peoples of hybrid and marginalized cultures in the An1ericas or in
countries that have emerged from communist rule since 1990.
In order to test the operations of narrative in approaches to policy pertaining
to cultural citizenship we exan1ine some illustrative exan1ples, both historical and
contemporary, which demonstrate that when cultural identity is mapped onto legal
or constitutional citizenship, it is often accompanied by the difficulty of reconciling
divergent or conflicting frame discourses.
In this chapter, we ask three questions:
1. What are the ideological commitments, especially in the case of
transnationalism, that attach to a concept of' cultural citizenship? What
unity or totality of ideas corresponds to the social, political, and moral
con11nitments that cultural citizenship produces as a policy concern? We
cxa1nine the case of one European nation, Ron1ania, whose histol)' has
involved a problematic mapping of both cultural and political citizenship
onto each other in a constructive way, Romania has also puzzled over its own
more distant origins as a nation, and has atte1npted to create particular cultural
identities out of highly speculative historical theories of the Roman origins
of the country. We note that anti-Semitisn1 has been one of the most striking
historical exa1nples of cultural citizenship as a negative tool of exclusion,
and sketch out a similar frame for grasping the complexities of contemporary
Muslim immigration in Europe. Fundamentally, exclusion and inclusion are
determined in line with ideological allegiances that then undergird policy
narratives that serve to either reinfOrce or undermine those positions.
2. What distinctions can be made between the narrative framevvork of
cultural citizenship and the fabric of' assumptions that promote particular
policy directions within a transnational context? In particular, we discuss
the way in which culture can have a local and specific meaning in one
Cultural Citizenship, Narrative, and Transnationalism
frame\vork and a universalist meaning in another, and how cultural policy
deals with this shill. Stories relating to the transformative properties of
art-both good and bad-as a narrative trope within the landscape of
cultural citizenship are instructive. We also explore, more extensively,
assumptions undergirding the influences of American culture and the roots
of anti-A1ncricanism, especially in the areas of cultural policy and cultural
diplomacy as they have unfolded over the last decade.
3. What ethical issues should policy makers attend to when weighing issues of
cultural citizenship? Finland's Ministry of Education has sought to establish
the concept of "fair culture" (Koivunen and Marsio 2007) on the basis of
notions of fair trade, human rights and recognition of cultural citizenship,
in order to establish an ethics of cultural policy and cultural rights. The
ministry's understanding of cultural policy recognizes the primacy of arts
and culture, cultural heritage and com1nunication, economy of culture, and
the value of art for social and mental well-being as the core meaning of
the concept. The authors also draw on concepts of fairness developed by
philosopher John Rawls (1971). Fairness as the basis for policy is central to
his notion of justice, which can be read as a narrative development of policy-
making. His "veil of ignorance" formulation has influenced conceptions
about cultural co1nmunities defined through a range of capacities and
incapacities, benefits and obligations, and the expectations for me1nbers of
political com1nunities. While Rawls does not identify transnationalism as a
particular capacity or incapacity, we can easily imagine how the realities of
cultural allegiance against the backdrop of disputed identities fit squarely
into a ffamework for his category for ethical reflection-one that also has
an appropriate fit in terms of cultural citizenship issues.
The range of questions and examples outlined above form the basis of
our approach to the issues of cultural citizenship in the narrative frame of
transnationalism. Due to the widespread use of the term "cultural citizenship" in
a broad array of fields, however, it is necessary, to limit our scope to the 1natter
of cultural citizenship in the public realn1, while recognizing the importance of
social, economic, and other factors, as well as similar dynamics within the private
realm that we do not address.
The Ideological Commitments Attaching to Cultural Citizenship in a
Transnational Context
One of the problems we face in examining the relationships between cultural
citizenship and transnationalism is not only that the status of cultural citizenship
is contested, but that there are some good--or, at least, not 1nalicious---reasons for
contesting it. Indeed. the terms "culture" and "citizenship," on closer inspection,
144 1Varrative, Identity, and the Afap o_f C'ultural Policy
cariy some tensions just below the surface. "Culture" is, by and large, a capacious
and textured word that can have at least two distinctive 1neanings. ln one sense,
culture refers to the ideology, institutions, and works that a society produces
and values. In another, culture is the total life expression of a group of people.
"Citizenship," though endowed with its own historical resonance, is a narrower term
which is used to distinguish clearly and sometimes punitively between those with
certain rights and privileges connected to a particular nation-state and those without
such rights and privileges. Indeed, citizenship may even be, in certain cases, an
implicit alternative to culture in the sense that citizenship, in a nation composed of
different cultures, (and many European countries would now fit under that rubric)
aims at a higher purpose, one that seeks to provide an identity and a sense of n1utual
connection to others within the national "fan1ily." In such a context, cultural identity
would be seen as legiti111ate, but would clearly be subordinate to national identity.
Citizens would be expected to keep the spheres separate-unless, of course, one
culture took itself to be the embodiment of the national self. Romania is a classic
example of this latter configuration of ideological con1rnitments misaligned with
changing social and political realities, emerging from 111ajor historical ruptures.
Several hundred years characterized by the movement of various ethnic populations
in and out of the country resulted in Romania becoming, in the twentieth century,
a inulticultural and, to some degree, even multinational state co1nposed of ethnic
Ro111anians, ethnic Hungarians, and ethnic Germans. T'he Hungarian population,
as well as the German-speaking com111unities, increased significantly when
1'ransylvania was detached from Hungary and annexed to Romania as a result of
the Treaty of Trianon in 1920. Previously, both the Germans and the Hungarians
had identified with a large outside power: the Austro-Hungarian empire. This,
combined with a thread of historical resentment an1ong the nu1nerically don1inant
population, the ethnic Romanians, made Romania into a curious and, in inany
ways, unstable national entity.
Although everyone was technically a Ro1nanian citizen, there was clearly
very little overlap between culture and language, on the one hand, and political
identity on the other. At the simplest level, everyday life for Swabian farmers
in Transylvania involved interactions in German. Hungarian speakers would
likewise have had little to no involvement with either the Romanian language or
the e111otiona! landscape ofR01nanian nationalism. Into this unsteady configuration
came World War ll, the Holocaust, and then the forty-year communist era marked
by two dictatorial leaders, Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej and Nicolae Ceau,escu.
Unsurprisingly, the collapse of communism in l 989-90 led to the re-emergence
of ethnic and cultural tensions that had been hitherto suppressed. Thousands
of German Ro1nanians, for exa111ple, had lived, son1etimes for generations,
in Romania but fled to Germany proper atler the e a u ~ e s c u regime collapsed.
The 1990s were also n1arked by acrimony between the Hungarian communities
and the post-communist Romanian governments, although in nlore recent times
there have been genuine efforts by citizens, of all origins, and by the two national
govern1nenls to find ways to avoid opening up old conflicts and resentments.
Cultural C'itizenship, Narrative, and Transnationa/ism
One solution might have been cultural assimilation of Germans, Hungarians,
and others. Another inight have been the accommodation of the many cultural
differences. In fact, in the cultural sector, Romania today has developed a set of
strategies that see1ns designed as a sort of balancing act. The country's higher
education system otfers parallel degree programs in German, J-Iungarian, and
Romanian (degree progran1s in French and English, as the two predominant
foreign languages spoken in Romania, are also possible). The Hungarian State
Theater and a Romanian National Theater (the Lucian Blaga National Theater)
are both sustained within the ethnically diverse city of Cluj-Napoca; the former
receives cultural funding assistance directly fro1n Hungary.
The example of R_omania could, of course, be enriched with n1ore nuance and
historical detail, but the basic lesson to be learned is that putting together culture
and citizenship in real historical situations may raise questions that demand
difficult answers that \vill not satisfy everyone. Indeed, one could argue that the
Ro1nanian minority problen1 was a classic case of transnational identities clashing
with political citizenship and territorial boundaries. Despite the fact that ethnic
Ro1nanians celebrated the annexation of'Transylvania after World War I, the new
presence of a large Hungarian population in an expanded Romania unsettled them.
The fact that there was a long-standing German community in Romania became
an ominous shadow hanging over the country during the 1930s, as Nazi Germany
began to make plans for aggressive expansion and wanted to utilize ethnic German
populations, wherever it could, to advance territorial or political claims. After
World War II, the ethnic Germans were punished by both the Soviet Union and the
Romanians despite that fact that Romania had been a Nazi ally by choice and the
Romanian Germans, unlike the Sudetenland Germans in western Czechoslovakia,
had not been markedly enthusiastic supporters of Hitler. Irony, like tragedy, can
cross multiple borders, too.
The notion that cultural identities are not defined by national borders-an
undeniable fact of life in Southeast Europe-might lead one to suppose that the
two levels of human sclf--0rganization-political and not have
to interlock perfectly for a mutually productive relationship to develop. Indeed,
one can cite one of the great transnational entities in history, the Austro-Hungarian
Empire, as historical evidence that cultures can coexist over time in a paternalistic
but non-intrusive structure of power. It does seem, however, that transnational
cultural identities have greater problems with mode111 democratic nation-states
whose governing narratives involve a sharper distinction between the citizen, the
non-citizen, and, occasionally, the nominal citizen whose loyalties appear to lie
Political history aside, we cannot leave the nation-state of Romania behind
without including a nlore ancient account of transnationalism and the narrative
of Romanian origins. It is a curious story that has been much contested between
Hungarians and R_omanians. Three alternative views emerged, beginning in the
eighteenth century and categorized by three schools: Latinist, Dacianist, and
Daco-Ro1nan. The question of Romanian origins revolves around the question
146 Narrative, Identity, and the Map of Cultural Policy
of whether contemporary Romanians are: ( J) the direct descendants of ancient
Roman colonists and legionnaires who occupied a region referred to as .Roman
Dacia, which (prior to Hadrian in approximately 118 CE) comprised most of
1ransylvania (Goodman 1997: (2); a distinct group descending from the Dacians;
or (3) an intermingling of the two. Archeologists W.S. Hanson and Ian Haynes
characterize the controversy as a "fascinating interplay between the country's
history and its identity" (2004: 27), while historian Lucian Boia (200 I) calls it a
Romanian foundation myth.
Sometime around the second century, Emperor Trajan's Roman forces occupied
the area previously populated by the Dacians. Little is known about the Dacians
themselves, h o w v r ~ or their ulti1nate fate. They appear to have disappeared from
the region either through assimilation with _Ro1nan colonists or depopulation as the
result of the long war with Decebalus, King of Dacia (the Dacians, in this view,
were either killed off or fled).
The _Latinists saw contemporary Romanians as the direct descendants of
Trajan colonists and Roman military forces occupying the region. They viewed
Romanians as "pure Romans" (Boia 2001: 87) whose history was "simply Roman
history" (ibid.). They placed importance on preserving pure Roman heritage:
Jf the Romanians were Roman, then they should remain Ro1nans and cast ofT
all fOrcign influences, perhaps even where the institutionalized organization of
inode1n Romania was concerned. (Ibid.).
This included both resistance to intermarriage and preservation of the Romanian
language. The Latinist view emerged at the end of the eighteenth century when
scholars from Romania, visiting Italy, saw the similarity between Romanian and
Latin as proof of Roman heritage (Trencsenyi and Kopecek 2006). Hanson and
llaynes note that "their ideas ... played a crucial r6le in generating a national
consciousness" (2004: 27). A complication for the "pure Roman" position,
however, is that it contradicts the orthodox view that the Romans imported
colonists from all over the e1npire to populate Dacia, creating a rather multicultural
population (Oltean 2007).
The legacy of the Dacianist view can be traced to the 1760s, according to
Hanson and Haynes, following an anti-Uniate (or Eastern Catholic) protest
addressed to the Austrian authorities, which claimed that the Ron1anians were
descended from the "old Dacians" (2004: 28). The Romantic period saw the
Dacians cast as "mythical ancestor figures, sunk deep into a time before history"
(Boia 2001: 89). The courage of the Dacians in fighting (though ultimately in vain)
against the Ron1ans fueled a nationalist fervor whereby Ro1nanians as a proud
and independent race did not easily succumb to a foreign power. This played well
for many Romanians who wished to throw off more recent yokes, such as those
fashioned at different times by the Ottoman and the Austro-Hungarian Empires.
The Daco-Roman view reconciles the other two by claiming that the Roman
and Dacian populations intermingled. All three views, hovvever, see a continuity
Cultural Citizenship, Narrative, and Transnationalis1n 147
in the population from Roman times (Hanson and Baynes 2004). In stark contrast,
a Hungarian perspective disputes the validity of any of these explanations of
Romanian origins. Their clain1 to Transylvania was explained, in part, as a taking
of unoccupied land. In this view, both the disappearance of the Dacians and the
removal of the Romans in 217 CE legitimize this position.
Archeologist Joana Oltean ackno\vledges, in any case, the political motives
attached to Romanian origin stories and the extent to which Romanian archeological
research has been subservient to both politics and established theories in order to
tell the desired story of Romania's past She observes this not only in the case of
Romania, but also in the study ofR01nan history in general:
Although the ultin1ate goal of archaeological research is naturally directed
towards explaining historical evolution and pheno111ena, the visible tendency
over the past century has been to rely prin1arily on the existing literary sources,
despite the fact that their inherent biases could potentially be reduced by
reference to the totality of the evidence. A general problen1 in the study of the
Rornan En1pire is that archaeological evidence has been considered only \vhen
it supported the historians' arguments, rather than attempting to build a theory
based on both sources of evidence. (Oltean 2007: 5)
Oltean co1nrnents further that, while the importance of historical 1nodels to
political discourse is something we readily recognize, the practice in Romania has
been to subordinate Romanian history entirely to politics (ibid.). An ideological
co1n1nitment to one version of history over another is not unique, of course, to
Nor does one have to leave the borders of the former Habsburg Empire to
locate a particular group of people \Vho fit the general description of possessing a
transnational cultural identity: the Jews. Before World War Il, Jewish com1nunities
were found in every region of Central and Eastern Europe anJ-..........after the legal
dissolution of the Jewish ghettos during the nineteenth century---covered every
class from small traders and craftsmen through educated professionals in la\V
and medic-inc to wealthy businesspeople. Jewish emancipation \Vas one of the
signal achieve1nents of nineteenth-century liberalism in Europe (excluding
Russia and Poland), and subsequently many Jews looked forward to the future
with some cautious optimis1n, not necessarily expecting to be einbraced by all
their neighbors but imagining that their integration into the foll national life
of \Vhatever country they were citizens or subjects of would proceed slowly
but surely. For tnany reasons, however, and long before the Nazis appeared
on the scene, this emancipation provoked- a hostile countern1ovement that was
so1neti1nes nationalist, sometimes more traditional with a strain of Christian
dislike for the Jews, and sometimes populist with a strong class bias toward the
lower-middle strata of the population. A short way of expressing the complaint
at that time was that Jews were tenn that is, in so1ne ways,
the grandparent of "transnational."
148 Narrative, Identity, and the _Map of.Cultural Policy
The transnationality of one group of people can be both a threat and an
ideological projection during times of political change especially in places where
national identity formation is proceeding faster than it had in older political
systen1s such as that in Britain. The further problem was that Jewish citizens could
not prove their loyalty to their states or nations by pointing to what they did-
civic participation, cultural work, tnilitary service, creating employtnent, and the
like-because the narrative of paranoia already contained the plot element of
chameleon-like adaptation to environment. In other words, the characteristics that
from one perspective inight be positive evidence of a people embracing the values
of an adopted land looked instead like a sinister tnasking of darker motives, an
undermining of those san1e values.
In a world of nations, the transnational may be an ominous category, and if you
have no actual sovereign territory to call your own (the case with both the Jews
and the Gypsies), you are at a notable disadvantage. Despite its creaky and archaic
structure, the Austro-Hungarian 'Empire was the overarching political entity that
protected the Jews in Central and Eastern Europe before 1918, but it could not
resist the internal forces of ethnic nationalis1n demanding strict and unambiguous
loyalties: "'rhere was in the end the ideological confrontation: closed roots against
universalisn1 ... nowhere \Vas this confrontation as pervasively and deeply felt as
in the Habsburg Empire" (Gellner 1998: 39).
A century later, it is not the Jews that carry the primary markers of transnational
suspicion in Europe, but rather the Muslim immigrant com1nunities. This is not to
111ake a superficial comparison between two different political situations, then and
now, but it is n1yopic to overlook the fact that the primary point of conflict is the
sense that some non-Musli1n citizens have that Islam represents an alternative set
of transnational loyalties that undern1ine the assun1ption of 111utual citizenship and
shared national identity particular to a nation-state, even a multilingual state such
as Switzerland or an i111migrant society like Australia.
These narratives of cultural paranoia are not, however, restricted to the period
of the rise of modern anti-Semitism in Central and Eastern Europe: like the Jews,
Catholic immigrants to the United States were for a long ti1ne the target for a
similar set of prejudices, if ultimately less inurderous. Deep into the twentieth
century, Protestants in the United States saw themselves as the legitimate measure
of American identity and regarded Catholics-"'specially if they were successful
in politics-as the potential transmitters of a massive betrayal, the handing over of
the American constitution to a foreign and malevolent power, the Vatican. Despite
the fact that Irish, Italian, and Polish immigrants had proven their patriotism
by way of service in World War l, Al Smith's bid for the presidency in 1928
went down to defeat because he was Catholic, not because he was a Democrat.
Although there has only been one Catholic president of the United States since
then, and despite the fact that John F. Kennedy had to deal with hostile questions
about his religious identity, nobody currently sees being Catholic as a bar to the
White House. ~ h e r e are traces, however, of something similar: professing Islam
would, in contrast, be a serious impedin1ent, as de1nonslrated by one strand in
C'ulturaf Citizenship, Narrative, and Transnationalis1n 149
the right-wing polemic against US President Barack Obama, namely, that he is a
"secret" Muslim. He is suspected, in the same vein, to have covered up his true
alien loyalties while conspiring in the night to bring down America.
Needless to say, what might be an uncomfortable but transient state of affairs
between Muslim immigrant communities and Western host populations, with
their broadly secular cultures, national orientation, and vaguely apprehended
Christian traditions, has been exacerbated by the conte1nporary record of Islamist
fundamentalist violence in Europe, the United States, and other parts of the world.
The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 gave the world a sudden vision of the
dark side of transnational networks and identities given that the operation had
been planned in several countries: the logistical support was diffused across a
web of lslamist ideology and communication spanning Europe, Asia, the Middle
East, Africa, and North America. The subsequent American-led invasions of
Afghanistan and Iraq a1nplified, in their turn, a tendency for Muslims to perceive
that the West was waging an intentional war on lslam itself. l'he mirror-image of
a culture (social and religious) under attack emerged in the West, too. As Sidney
Tarrow notes in The Neu: Transnational Activism, "a deep fear of the intrusion
of transnational Islam into French society" (2005: 78) found its expression in
the 2004 law against wearing the veil or headscarf (or a large crucifix or Star of
David) in French public schools, but that controversial move provoked, in turn,
the kidnapping of two French journalists in Iraq a few weeks later, with the threat
that they would be killed ifthe dress-code laws were not repealed immediately.
1'his sequence of events represented a new ditnension of transnational conflict,
by which a violent action exerted pressure on countries and govern1nents thousands
of miles away to change or roll back purely domestic laws which had no bearing
whatsoever on the situation in Iraq: indeed, France had opposed the invasion of
Iraq and had not sent any troops to join the Coalition forces. The rise in atte1npts
to enforce Islamic modes of behavior in a non-Islamic country was, in many ways,
historically unprecedented, and revealed a new level of global political ambition
(ibid.). One way of describing the French situation would be to say that while the
French state now compelled a certain behavior by law in order to prove cultural
citizenship (legal citizenship was not, of course, in question, as most Muslim
public-school students would have been born in France), the forces of political
lslamism abroad tried to strangle, in its cradle, any such cultural citizenship for
French Muslims.
Although these are obviously the more extreme cases, frotn the "cosmopolitan"
accusation aimed at Jews to the "Isla1nist" dress code controversies of Europe
today, they raise the issue of whether exclusion or inclusion can be (or should
be) defined or even compelled by cultural policy choices, whether backed up by
legislation or not. To put it bluntly, we believe that there is often a rock-and-a-
hard-place choice offered when two or 1nore historical narratives of identity are
suddenly made to confront each other in circumstances of tension. A refusal to
see cultural citizenship as being necessarily flexible and open to contradictory
dyna1nics can lead to something like a "culturalized" version of legal citizenship
150 Narrative, Identity, and the A1ap of Cultural Policy
(or political citizenship, if one prefers) being i1nposcd on a group who did not see
their cultural differences as being an indicator of political disloyalty.
Distinctions between the Narrative Framework of Cultural Citizenship
and the Assumptions Promoting Particular Policy Directions \Vithin a
1'ransnational Context
Implicit in discussions about cultural citizenship arc also some assumptions about
culture as the representative of the particular, as opposed to citizenship as the
representative of the universal. In the context of the narrative fran1e outlined in
the introduction, this concerns the distinction between story and discourse, or the
way in which narratives derive meaning through embedded assumptions. With
regard to cultural citizenship, one has to consider the operating framework. In
the nation-state sphere, the cultural identity that challenges or diverges from
the mainstrea1n variant is particular and can be seen, depending on a nun1ber
of different circumstances, as undennining the universal or general identity of
the population, which is something like a consensus. As the French historian
Ernest R.enan co1n1nented in his famous 1882 lecture at the Sorbonne, entitled
"Qu 'est-ce qu 'une nation?", the nation is something like a daily plebiscite on
belonging. Every inorning its citizens rise fro1n their beds and go about their
business in such a way as to not question their key identity. If inostly forgotten
n1emories, unresolved feuds, confessional differences, class ani1nositics, or
combinations of the foregoing begin to force their way back into the average
person's awareness, then the polity is in danger because particularity is an invitation
to de-emphasize one's common identity and fate as a Frenchrnan, Frcnchwo1nan,
Belgian, lndonesian, or Canadian.
Moving beyond the borders of the nation-state, however, is to arrive in a
global arena where the iOrcgoing model is, at least in part, reversed. I:-iere, the
national origin (the passport one carries) is the locus of particularity, while cultural
identity-and, potentially, culture itself-begins to take on the character of
son1ething tnorc generous, n1ore universal, and less contaminated by the narrow-
1ninded procedures of borders, visas, national bureaucracies, and the like. An
older idea of a European culture regarded achievements in art and learning to
be the fruits of human civilization rather than inerely the products of one nation.
Even if Gennan classical scholarship, Italian painting, or Elizabethan drama
were clearly inarked by their countries of origin, they were nonetheless enabled
by a new transnational understanding of creativity that represented a European
civilization in the process of refining itself and its goals. Part of the appreciation of
these things, in fact, recognized their often multicultural origins: the influence, for
exan1ple, of Hungarian inusic on German music, of Italian dra1na on Renaissance
drama in England, and the like. Even if those countries went to war with each
other, such an event did not necessarily undermine the larger project of civilization
that the aggregate of their achicve1nents represented.
c:uftural C'itizenship, 1Varrative, and Transnational ism 151
Although this essentially elitist ..--from today's viewpoint-conservative
notion of European culture appears as if it were so1nething strange fro1n a long-
abandoned past, there is still a notion of culture abroad today that sees it as the
one product of nations that can be embraced in a different \Vay than responding to
X's economic pressure or the unease of Y's national security demands. What is at
issue here is not so much the de;finition of.culture as the narrative o.fcu!ture and
the assumptions that arise in its \vakc. As \Ve saw in Chapter 3 with the discussion
of the fate of the Buddha statues in Afghanistan, a conflict can ensue not only if
two cultures come into hostile contact, but also when a culture with a specific idea
about the status of culture interacts ... a moment oftension-\vith a culture that
has a very difierent idea about that status. In a somewhat different vvay, ideas about
artistic production, deeply rooted in a Romantic philosophy of creativity, posit a
transformative power for art that can sornetimes appear as a guilty projection that
asks art to do what politics cannot. Tn this narrative of art and culture, forms of
hu1nan creativity-theater, painting, literature, music, dance, fOoJ. ..... something
like diplon1atic representatives of their collective creators, but diplomats who only
co1ne in peace. This is because cultural creativity, while partaking of national, ethnic,
or regional particularity in its origins, appeals to a universal set of understandings
that work on the basis of curiosity and generosity rather than aggression. That is
the theory, at least, and while it is attractive in its own way, it avoids looking at
other evidence from both history and current affairs that 1night point to important
difficulties. There is only slim evidence, and we want to stress this point, that
culture is a kind of protective force holding back hostility and a story
\Ve clearly like to tell ourselves and others. But, at the same time, this does not
mean that art and culture are meaningless entities when it co1nes to conflict. Clearly
the opposite is true, as they are intertvvined with the tnotives that bring about or
intensity conflict and can be deployed in such circu1nstances by one authority or
another, or by those resisting authority, Although cultural producers may find their
national loyalties too demanding for the success of anything like an international
collectivity of peaceful artists in \Varding off national conflict, cultural workers are
often n1ore painfully conscious than others of the transnational links and networks
that bind them to their colleagues in an opponent's te1ritory.
Nationalist and ethnic prejudices can be found everywhere-so1netimes vvith
unexpected intensity in intellectuals. Many Yugoslav artists and \vriters were
an1ong those, in the 1990s, who inost regretted the savage dismantling of a diverse,
multilingual, and multicultural nation. c:ulture could not save the day, however,
and one of the little noticed developments over the past fifteen years has been the
enthusiastic work by various academics and intellectuals to declare Serbian and
Croatian tvvo separate languages, reversing a historic decision from over a century
earlier that had, with the l 850 Vienna Literary Agreement, declared tl1em to he one,
Nevertheless, despite 1nany examples such as those above, 1nany people
continue to believe in the transforming and bonding capabilities of art. The narrative
of creative efl'ectiveness, as one might term it, ineans a great deal to us in an intuitive
sense, and provides clear justifications for policy decisions as well. Public money
Narrative, Identity, and the Map qfCu!tural Policy
spent on art and culture is n1ore often than not justified by tvvo ideas: first, that a
society, to prove itself more than a collection of individuals living in one location,
must show that it values the products of unique creative imagination within that
society; and, second, that there is a measurable result to be gained by showcasing,
for other individuals and societies, the cultural fruits of one's own. It must be noted,
however, that neither of these ideas goes unchallenged in every society. But there
are very ironic nuances to this if one takes even a short step back in history. During
the Cold War years, Soviet and other com1nunist governments kept a close eye
(and often something more intimidating) on writers who were seen as unreliable
and unpredictable, if not outright opponents of the co1n1nunist system. Furthermore,
critical supporters were often regarded as nlore troublesome than opponents. The
Gennan Democratic Republic clain1ed, for itself, the legacy of Gennan cultural and
philosophical traditions that it did not want to surrender to West Germany without
a struggle. Nevertheless, GDR authorities often questioned the country's own
writers and, if they did not like them or their work, made it difficult for them to get
published. Paid infonners were set on authors, artists, and people in the cultural
realm in order to discover potentially useful infonnation that could be deployed
by the internal security service for purposes of intimidation or black1nail. 1'he
truth is that the co1nmunist regime in the GDR_ took literatare and art seriously and
grudgingly recognized its creative artists while simultaneously trying to keep them
in line, wanting to avoid giving Western countries ammunition while also presenting
its own favored history of German cultural achievement.
Indeed, the cultural battles of 1945-4 7 in Berlin that we discuss in Chapter 3
had their particular consequences as the two halves of the city became more
pe1manently severed, especially after the Berlin Wall went up in 1961. Both
com1nunist East and capitalist-democratic West Berlin built or shaped parallel
institutions in culture and education in order to showcase their assets and a1nbitions
in rivalry with similar institutions-not to mention competing ideologies-three
miles away on the other side of the Wall. The intent was less the artistic and
cultural welfare of the citizens in each zone of the divided city and more a case
of establishing which Berlin \Vas hon1e to a better (more cultured, 1nore civilized,
more prosperous) society. After Gennan unification in 1990, however, that state
of affairs went into reverse as the newly merged city of Berlin found itself with
two of everything and too tight a budgetary environment to support both. Several
bitter policy struggles took place over which opera co1npany, which university
department, \.Vhich version of the city's cultural legacy was going to survive, and
which would became the victi1n of historical contingency and the line-item audit.
Representative Problems
ln recent years, the narrative of a nation under siege has had a significant impact
on areas of cultural exchange. in the current debate over how to best represent
the lJnited States overseas-a debate 1nade somewhat more difficult by the post-
2008 economic recession-many old and some new proble111s are entangled. The
Cultural Citizenship, Narrative, and Transnationalism
first problem is security; the second problem involves a conceptual glitch in what
constitutes representation. To deal with the first one: in the years after the Al-Qaeda
attack of September 11, 2001 there was a concerted effmt to ramp up various types of
national security protections, from better technology at border crossings to enhanced
and more conscientiously managed visa-granting procedures. The need for the latter
was revealed in both dramatic and darkly comic fashion when news emerged that a
co1npany hired by the f)epartment of State to adtninister student visa applications
had granted one to Mohammed Atta, leader of the attack on the World Trade Center
in New York, three months after he died flying an airliner into the North Tower
The question bore not only upon the lax processing of visa applications, but also
on the realization-new to many people-that there had been a mushrooming of
private companies accepting outsourced work previously done by civil servants. The
heightened sense of threat, however, translated into increasingly rigorous measures
to regulate both casual and longterm visitors to the United States.
While there was a great deal of understanding elsewhere, as well as inA1nerica,
for the 1neasures taken as a result of the terrorist attacks, the need for security has
also taken on a more rigid and hostile character. The whole notion of cultural
exchange, including visits by international artists and productions of one kind or
another coming to the United States, seems to wilt in the shadow of increasingly
burdensome-and increasingly expensive-visa-granting procedures rooted in a
mixture of undifferentiated fears about security (who knows what might be in that
violin case?) and protectionist regulations to secure A1nerican jobs in the arts and
cultural sector. The problem is not that the United States is unwelcoming when
the musician, writer, or actor gets past im1nigration controls, but that the nature
and style of those controls, whether at the port of entry or at an earlier stage at
the US embassy abroad, suggest a nation trapped son1ewhere between paranoia
and bureaucratic i1nmobility. The tension is multilayered. The old narrative of
globalization e1nbraced cultural exchange as part of American prosperity. The
more recent narrative, colored both by the possibility of threat from abroad and an
increasingly transnational specter (in the more extreme views) ofn1ulticulturalism
at home, has revived a discourse where art has failed in providing succor and is,
instead, the threat itself.
The second problem is that an awkward lack of balance between motives,
means, and objectives has been reflected in certain major policy decisions in the
area of cultural diplo1nacy where favored assumptions appear to have replaced
objective analysis. As a former director of Voice of America complained in 2007,
the decision by the organization to end Arabic and Farsi language broadcasts
in 2002 and 2003 respectively and replace them with an all pop-music format
was often greeted with bafflement and even anger by the very people who had
appreciated VOA's broadcasting of fact-based reports and rational discu_ssion.
He describes being approached by an lraqi journalist who peppered him with
questions about the change in format: "Are Americans playing music because they
are afraid to tell the truth? Do they not have a truth to tell? Or do they not consider
us worth telling the truth to?" (Reilly 2007: Al9).
154 Narrative, Identify, and the Map C?f Cultural Policy
The people who, in the instillltional clothing of the Broadcasting Board
of Governors (BBG), wrenched A1nerica's broadcast diplo1nacy fro1n vvords
to rhyth1ns essentially took a selective narrative history fron1 the United
States' domestic broadcasting scene-the rise of co1n1nercial radio stations,
the financially precarious niche aspect of public broadcasting, and the belief
that talking gets in the way of young people's listening habits-and applied it
willy-nilly to vast stretches of the globe, including areas with very complex and
so1netin1es hostile attitudes toward the United States. The new Arabic (Radio
Sawa) and Farsi (Radio Farda) programming, while entertaining for young
people in certain ways, has been repeatedly identified as a co1nplete failure in
its purported main objective, to explain American life, views, and perspectives
to the target populations, Indeed, the Iraqi journalist's response, noted by Reilly,
reveals that one considerable danger in the switch to a commercial music format
is the perception that the audience is being condescended to, as if their cultural
level has been assessed and found to be appropriate for Britney Spears (ibid.),
1'he curious anonyn1ity of Radio Sawa, which does not identify its disc jockeys
or news readers, was also disco111fiting. The rationale behind the station also
seemed to be peculiarly ofiCtarget in that it is very likely that young people
will find some way to listen to the music (both Arabic and Western) they enjoy,
even in fairly repressive societies such as Saudi Arabia,. 1'here was no reason
to indeed, no evidence has presented itself--that they \vould
wann up to Atnerican foreign policy even if they listened to Radio Sawa. The
opposite tnight be the case, as five years after Radio Sawa first aired, attitudes
toward the United States a111ong youth in the Arab vvorld had become more,
not less, negative (Hilmy 2007), At the same time, the more educated and
somewhat older audience, who had previously listened to the current affairs
coverage on VOA, fOund nothing of interest in the all pop-n1usic tOnnat, and
tuned out The policy case that Reilly describes reveals an almost perfect lack
of coordination between means and goals. If representation in public dipknnacy
is ineant to not only inake the political interests of a country visible to others,
but also give a sense of the deeper values that undergird at least so111e of those
interests, then I<adio Sawa worked energetically to comn1unicate the impression
to the Arabic-speaking world that Americans found talking about serious
issues burdensome. 'I'he disconnect between story and discourse is particularly
salient in this example. lt would be difficult to imagine a project that played
111orc enthusiastically to stereotypical assumptions about the superficiality of
Atnerican culture and values.
It is not a matter of high culture versus low entertainment, but rather of
understanding \Vhat a particular policy narrative conveys ( so111etin1es unintentionally)
by virtue of the underlying discourse, and, further, what can be done in cultural
diplomacy and what cannot. After the Arab Spring in 2011, many media experiments,
some quite imaginative, have taken place in the Middle East, with An1erican
assistance. One intriguing exa1nple is the official US e1nbassy support for an
American Idol-inspired nationwide competition for female singers and songwriters
Cultural Narrative, and Transnationalism
in Egypt, the brainchild ofa partnership between the cultural attache at the embassy
and an A1nerican non-profit group called Share the Mic. As former an1bassador and
cultural diplomacy scholar Cynthia Schneider asks (and answers):
Why \.vould the U.S. E1nbassy devote ti1ne and energy to a 1nusical talent contest
in Egypt? The absence of female voices since the Egyptian Revolution presents
a serious problem; this contest provides an incentive and a means for \\-'omen to
reach the public and express their ideas. In addition to singing, each contestant
prepares ans\.vers to questions about Egypt's future. (Schneider 2012)
Jn contrast to the strategic missteps and frustrating personality of Radio Sawa,
this project has a clear set of origins in the embassy cultural affairs section and the
Share the Mic project, including open local involvement. lfit fails, it will still have
called forth energies and involve1nent from Egyptian wo1nen artists, and perhaps
have succeeded in showing that cultural exchange can indeed be a rneeting-
place for values, visions, and understanding. There is something attractive, even
humorous, about exploring the potential for participatory den1ocracy using a 1nedia
model (American !do[) rooted in the struggle of American con1mercial television
networks to find a hit progra1n that minimizes costs while attracting maximum
advertising revenue.
Nevertheless, the assu111ption that even a successful grassroots cultural project
like the one described above will work to radically shift ideas and prejudices about
the United States is, sadly or not (depending on your perspective), unfounded. In
As Others See Us, Stephen Brooks presents the conflicting vision that Americans
have ofthe1nsclves and that foreigners have of Americans. In his view, increased
acquaintanceship with a inore realistic and n1ore diverse porlrait of the lJnited
States, \vhHe perhaps good in and of \vill not auto111atically or necessarily
lead to a 1nore enthusiastic embrace of American ideas or a less hostile or cynical
reading of An1erican intentions in the Arab and Muslim world. As Brooks points
out, "A1nericans cannot assume that 'to kno\.v us is to love us'" (2006: 152}. This
cuts n1ultiple ways if we consider that the story that any country tells about itself
will be rather different fron1 the stories told about it by others. Direct experience
1nay have little to no effect, as we saw \Vith Charles Dickens, for exa111ple, and
the result of his travels to An1erica. While the case of anti-A1nericanism is a ready
exa1nple for exploring this issue, we acknowledge that while the examples we
provide here 1nay be unique to the United States, the underlying principles are not.
There are, in fact, many strands of anti-Americanism, and different variants
of that feeling can be found in Europe, Latin America, Russia, and the Middle
East, as well as inany variants within each country's borders. Nonetheless, the
counternarrative of undiscovered or maligned American virtue n1ay have a
problem in its own DNA, so to speak. This is partly a problem of the storyteller's
identity, but it is also a case of misunderstanding one's own narrative and its
effect once it is put out in the world-as the case of Philip Jenninger, presented
in Chapter l, so aptly demonstrates. We consider here the case of a series of US
156 Narrative, Identity, and the .Map o_f Policy
Department of State-sponsored short TV vignettes shown in Muslim countries
depicting An1erican Musli1ns in their local neighborhoods, at work in respectable
jobs, going to the mosque, and so on. The Shared Values campaign, which aired
in 2002, was greeted with hostility and skepticism among its intended audience
and some stations in Islamic countries refused to run the broadcasts (Brooks
2006: 157). The problem was clearly twofold, at least. First, by 2002 the United
States had co1ne to be seen as an aggressive Western power trying to steal Muslim
lands (9/1 l as the justified motive for the invasion of Afghanistan was already the
subject of conspiracy theory and flat-out denial). The short TV clips, therefore,
were seen as propaganda from a state that harbored malicious intent. Second,
the vignettes seemed to willfully deny the fact that it was American foreign
policy that was objected to, rather than a case of anyone harboring suspicions
that Muslims were tnistreated in the United States. In ways we have already
introduced in this volume, the cultural policy and public diplomacy experts who
put Shared Values together see1n to have been uncertain about their story and
unsure about their audience. While adept enough at the details of the interior
narrative (there are, indeed, successful American Muslims), these infonnational
ads clearly suffered from significant misjudgments regarding the frame (in this
case, a discourse of American duplicity and bullying that was happily supplied
by the target audience in Arab countries). Indeed, it is hard to believe that
this project could have reached production without someone raising that very
question at some stage. But in the world of American cultural diplomacy and
policy-making, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, it appears that if the
narrator believes in the reliability of the narrative, it is impossible for anyone
else to think otherwise.
Ethical Issues for Policy-Makers Weighing Issues of Cultural Citizenship
We have argued throughout this book that narratives provide a n1eans fOr sorting
out the \Vorld and coining to tenns with it. Narratives exhibit a point of view,
and are thus inextricably linked to episte1nological issues. They invite us into a
relationship with the narrator, characters, and the events .. a very real
relationship, whether the narrative is fiction or non-fiction. "fhey can be a premise
for action or simply an invitation to understand our environment in a particular
way, including arriving at conclusions regarding the state of things in the world.
Narratives, as sites of human engagement, have ethical implications that persist
through their many guises, including, for our purposes, public policies.
The final axis of our narrative fra1nework concerns the affective versus the
ethical pressures that a story can exert, acknowledging that our sense-making
capacities are influenced as much by emotion as by reason, especially when we
are presented with situations that we feel are somehow unresolved or inco1nplete
or seem to n1otivate us to action to accomplish patiicular goals, uphold particular
values, disregard so1ne issues, and pay attention to others.
Cultural Citizenship, Narrative, and Transnationalism
The ethical components of pol icy both in and out of cultural systems also arise
because policies confer benefits and require obligations. In a well-ordered libernl
society they must balance the needs and aspirations of individuals, groups, and a
variety of other entities: corporations, NGOs, political and econo1nic institutions
(Rawls 1993). Within such a system, we come to expect that policies are formulated
and implemented with more than simply a nod to values like justice and fairness.
In systems of cultural policy, conferring benefits and assigning obligations raise
the many issues we have thus far presented, including those relating to cultural
identity, cultural citizenship, sustainability, heritage, and the relationships between
individuals, citizens, and states. In this section, we examine ideas of justice and
fairness as they relate to cultural policy, specifically through attempts to articulate
rights and duties in line with these concepts. Of particular interest, however, are
the challenges that result from disconnections or assumptions that pose ethical
questions. Such a detachment occurs in eftOrts to balance global, national, and
individual interests where issues of arts and culture are in play. As we have noted
in previous chapters, arts and culture appeal to universal values but are typically
manifested in the particular, both at the level of nation-state as the site of artistic and
cultural ownership, and at the individual level of artist and non-artist citizen who
n1ay assert rights to cultural participation as either producer or audience member.
The issues relating to cultural rights and cultural citizenship are not easy
ones to address by way of policy, not least because we do not know with any
specificity what needs humans have relative to arts and culture. A significant point
of dispute--often initiated by those who see little value in public subsidies for
arts and whether or not participation (broadly defined) in these areas
really does constitute a need. And, if such a need exists, there is the question of
whether it is the responsibility of the state to do anything toward satisfying it.
In Chapter 2 we presented the example of a narrative document responding to
Scotland's cultural policy, the latter being the articulation of a set of values about
the importance of arts and culture as a public good for the people of that nation.
A central concern was the development and preservation of Scottish culture. Arts
and culture have unique qualities as public goods. Although it is recognized, for
example, that practices in medicine may vary, even significantly, from country to
country, people do not envision policies that will promote and protect a unique
form of Scottish, Peruvian, or Korean medicine in the way that they do for culture.
One question we have posed in earlier chapters is how we make sense, in an
increasingly transnational world, of cultural differences based on the supposed
unity of a nation-state. Another is how the interests of the state vis-:1-vis culture
are balanced against the cultural interests and rights of the groups and individuals
who reside there.
While many nation-states have taken the trouble to formally adopt cultural
policies, implementation can pose difficulties because of the need to balance
them against other demands that arise. Subsidies, fOr example, arc given to some
artists or to support some art forms and not others. Funding allocated to arts and
culture cannot be given elsewhere, so increases in cultural sector subsidies might
158 Narrative, Identity; and the Map Policy
entail a reduction in other government spending. In addition, no matter how widely
access is extended, so1ne individual or group of individuals is always in danger of
being excluded. The very nature of the arts (like some other public goods) makes
it impossible to provide truly equal access to all. There are also issues relating to
censorship and free expression, effectively and accurately assessing the value of
the arts in areas like health and education, the intrinsic versus the instrumental, the
private versus the public, the profit versus the non-profit. The itnportant questions
include, but are not li1nited to, the following. What are the needs of citizens in the
areas of arts and culture and what rights and duties (if any) attach to these needs?
What are the needs, rights, and duties of artists and other cultural producers? Can
these be satisfied through conunercial means alone, or 1nust the state assist in
so1ne way? What responsibilities do artists have to society as a whole (if in fact
they have any), to a particular state (that supplies them with assistance), to fellow
citizens, to their own artistic creations? What rights can they expect in return?
What are the interests of the state in assisting both artists and citizens in accessing
arts and culture experiences, and what duties do they have to both the products of
artistic creation and their producers? Finally, does the state have global obligations
relating to transnational complexes of archaeology, histot)', and cultural inheritance
(as was explored in the example of the Afghan Buddha statues)?
These are questions that require serious inquiry; many, however, are beyond
the scope of our current conce111s. We consider, instead, one e'flOrt to address
the ethical questions that repeatedly arise in the arts and cultural sphere: the
2005 initiative by former Finnish Minister of Culture Tarja Saarela to exan1ine
cultural policy ethics, especially in the area of cultural rights, with "human and
fundamental rights" as a framework (Koivunen and Marsio 2007: 5). One outcome
of this initiative is the Ministry of Education's Fair c:u/ture? E'thical Dimension o.f
Cultural Policy and Cultural Rights (Koivunen and Marsio 2007), which seeks to
examine the ethical dimensions of cultural rights in cultural policy, and to explore
methodological directions for its ethical evaluation (ibid.). The report addresses
two primary questions, "What is ethically sustainable art and culture like?" and
"How can they be promoted by cultural policy means'>" (ibid.: 118).The questions
are posed in recognition of the ways in which globalization has brought about the
need for intense reflection on ethical procedures and has raised "the question of a
global ethic" (ibid.).
Although it contains no procedural directives, we consider Fair Culture? to
be a policy narrative intended to infonn Finnish policy-1nakers about cultural
policy issues. Designed to be informative, it nonetheless proceeds from particular
affective and ethical assumptions, which we discuss below to illustrate how
narrative analysis might tease out particular tensions or disconnections worth
attention. We offer this particular policy narrative as illustrative of the dile1nma
of clashing affective and ethical principles as they seek to satisfy multiple aims.
While a fuller treatment might provide a lengthier examination of the report, we
provide but a brief example illustrative of the issues one 1night raise in examining
this and sin1ilar policy documents through a narrative fra1nework.
Cultural Citizenship, Narrative, and Transnationalism
If there is an ethical dimension to cultural policy, it concerns, as we note above,
balancing the multiplicity of interests that not only arise in systems of culture, but
also attach either to the state or to individuals (or groups of individuals). Rather
than recognize that individuals and nations have potentially different interests, aims,
desires, and needs relative to arts and culture, policies often attempt to satisfy both as
if they neatly aligned. Overarching policies attempting to satisfy the interests of all
in securing cultural rights may sui-lCr from the above-described disconnection. As in
the case of the NEA described in Chapter 3, such policies ask too much of arts and
culture. Or they are encumbered by the need to codify concepts that are not easily
codified. As articulations of values, they recall the folktales and myths described by
Ame-Thompson-Uther, and Propp where the underlying story is more than meets
the eye. They make assumptions, and invite particular kinds of conclusions, about
arts and culture often relating to their affective value and their place in civil society,
rather than provide a procedural plan of action. The ethical dimension emerges
when we fail to recognize, either in formulation or imple1nentation, that the rights
of individuals may diverge from those of the state. This is not to say that formal
articulations of cultural policy values, in written documents, serve no purpose.
Instead, we suggest that opening them to narrative analysis allows for teasing out
embedded assumptions, ethical standpoints, and affective values worth consideration
along with other types of evaluation. In the following section, we look more closely
at the text of Fair Culture? with these issues in mind.
The 2005 Finnish initiative provides this definition: "Fair culture means
the realization of people's cultural rights and inclusion in cultural signification,
irrespective of age, gender, language, state of health, ethicist, religious, or cultural
background" (Koivunen and Marsio 2007: 6) and is associated with the concept
of "fair trade" (ibid.). Core values include access, diversity, participation, and
opportunity as means to ensure that the principles of fair culture can be realized.
It is worth noting that although the authors of the document assert cultural rights
as human rights (a kind ofright that individuals may claim by virtue of their status
as human beings-not necessarily citizens), they also maintain that cultural rights
are central to a nation's "identity, cohesion, se]f'. .. determination and self-esteen1"
(ibid.: 7). The authors also note the inherent difficulty of defining the term
"culture," offering a variety of options, all of which aim at the widest possible
inclusivity. The following "semi-official" (ibid.: 8) definition from UNESCO
found in the 1982 Mexico City Declaration on Cultural Policies is representative:
In its widest sense, culture may now be said to be the whole complex of distinctive
spiritual, material, intellectual and e1notional features that characterize a society
or group. It includes not only the art and letters, but also modes of life, the
fundatnental rights of the hu1nan beings, value systems, traditions and beliefs.
(Quoted in Koivunen and Marsio, 2007: 8)
While definitions are important-the document likewise defines key concepts
such as cultural policy, cultural identity, participation, diversity, globalization, and
160 Narrative, Identity, and the Map o.lCultural Policy
others-it is essential to note the inherent complexities that attend too wide a
definition. This alone may entail implications of ethical import when we seek to
secure rights and assign duties over too wide a range of human concerns. Further,
"culture" is clearly used by the authors to mean one kind of thing, though its
exact meaning is increasingly vague as the document progresses. For example, in
a brief history of cultural policy under the heading "Ethical Dimension in Cultural
Policy," the point is made that "culture is often seen to hinder e-commerce" (ibid.:
35), yet, under the definition above, culture is both a material and intellectual
feature of a society or group. Surely e-commerce would qualify as an aspect of
culture. Indeed, the authors continue:
.. on the other hand, reference has been made to the capacity of the internet to
create bridging cyber worlds independent of geographical location. This trend
raises again the old question of the possibility of a global ethic. (ibid.)
It is also not clear, however, what is meant by "a global ethic" in this
context, especially since we cannot say what effect the Internet will have on
national cultures or on culture in general. Bridging worlds does not necessarily
entail enhancement of cultural life for individuals, especially if the bridging
is largely led by commerce in the absence of other possible processes. Citing
the work of political scientist Raimo Viiyrynen, Koivunen and Marsio note an
ethical tension in globalization, seen as having the effect of lowering barriers
to cultural expansion. This expansion 1night entail either "coexistence and
equality of cultures" or a homogenizing and integrating mainstream culture"
(ibid.: 14) directed by economic forces. While we tend to see nations like
the United States as engaged in the latter, the truth is that all nations seek to
expand their own cultures---often for economic reasons relating to trade-while
simultaneously seeking to preserve their national uniqueness. As a complication,
the disconnection is one that is typically recognized as an attribute of another,
rather than one's own, nation. Similar disconnections are evident throughout the
policy narrative. The following point is worth quoting at length:
In the area of cultural policy it is difficult to assess the realization of ethical
principles without different qualitative and quantitative measures and other tools.
Some initiatives have been taken to develop e'thical indicators for international
cultural policy, and there are studies which would provide a starting point for
developing evaluation tools. The motivation for our ambitious goals was the
hope to be able to anchor the ethical assessment of cultural policy permanently
onto cultural policy development and everyday reality. Clear 1neasures and
indicators could be developed as a remedy to the current reality shortfall. On the
other hand, the ethics of art and culture is an extremely sensitive and vulnerable
area and it ls important not to use too rough, one-sided or purpose-oriented tools
to measure creativity and cultural diversity. (Ibid.: 121)
Cultural C'itizenship, _Narrative, and Transnationalism 161
e r e ~ we see a recommendation to set out clear ethical principles fOr assessment
of cultural policies. Yet if ethical views are already a concept embedded in culture,
assessment may operate at cross-purposes to the concept of cultural rights. While,
earlier in the report, the authors aim to document a variety of practices and ethical
views, their inevitable conclusion is that "[t]here is no dearth of ethical declarations
and treaties containing ethical claims in the world" (ibid.: 121). Although we must
choose between "different ethical premises and emphases," the choices we make
in cultural policy "cannot be based on utopian ideas of absolute value-relativism
or value absolutism, only on an analysis of the alternative ethical dimensions and
impacts and an awareness of different ethical premises" (ibid.: 120, 121). While it
is tempting to refer this latter difficulty to the scrutiny of Epimenides (the Cretan
who proposed the paradox that all Cretans tell lies), we simply note that there is an
inherent problem in the unequivocal claim that a policy cannot be based on value-
absolutcs. Our intent is not a coy raising of swords to call attention to a logic problem.
Instead, we wish to point out how even a well-intentioned cffOrt may introduce
difficulties that become problems for later implementation, and that the effort to
appease all parties (by taking account of all possible views) makes for a shifting
and unpredictable narrative landscape. These are all, of course, ethical issues that
deserve further scrutiny. Nonetheless, an important final point is that, much like an
ethical objection to words like "redskin," the alleged imminent threat of the UN 's
non-binding resolution, Agenda 21, or the pitfalls of constructing a dramatic story
of local or national representation, it is the narrative telling and not the logical
details that are often more worthy of the policy analysts' and other policy actors'
But here our story ends. The examples presented in this book were selected to
suggest ways in which a narrative framework can serve the aims of cultural policy
analysis. In opening a wider scope for the use of narrative devices (not restricted,
in other words, to a few delimited structural elements), we expand the available
n1eans for examining the broad and diverse arena of cultural policy whose compass
takes in such issues as the rights of artists, cultural citizenship, diplomacy, heritage,
cultural integrity, national security, the role of the arts in society, the mobility of
cultural groups, econo1nic impacts, and many others. The complexities of culture,
the arts, and the policy systems which address these areas of human activity invite
more perspectives than scientific approaches alone can provide. Given the nature
of human interaction where narrative operates as an embedded structure of human
thought, a more thoroughgoing narrative approach, such as we have presented
here, provides a fuller toolbox of capacities for cultural policy analysis. If it is
limited by its discursive, interpretive approach, we suggest that frameworks that
aim for such goals as scientific rigor and falsifiability can be likewise limited,
though in other ways. We have presented a framework for a narrative approach
162 Narrative, Identity, and the Map o_f C'ultural Policy
and shown how its principles may be applied in developing a richer understanding
of a wide variety of cultural policy issues. We conclude on a lighter note with a
final visit to the Duchy of Grand Fenwick.
Narrative and Culture in the Duchy of Grand Fenwick
lt is sum1ner. The time is the present. Our final scene takes place on a warm and
pleasant evening. The citizens of Grand Fenwick are enjoying the so1netimes
trying, but generally manageable, influx of tourists. The brief showers of rain on
this particular evening fail to drive the locals from the outdoor seating of the cafes
and bars on Grand Duke Avenue in the city center.
Outside a bar across from Duke Roger's Museun1, two people, a won1an and a
man, sit under an umbrella. One interlocutor is a Grand Fenwick civil servant in the
Ministry of Education and Culture, and the other a director of a non-profit cultural
affairs foundation, paid a little more but without the other's benefits and security of
employment. Coincidentally, they are both named Morgan, a traditionally popular
name in the Duchy for both boys and girls.
They are colleagues who have worked together for many years and know each
other's strengths and weak spots. They have seen a couple of difficult projects
through to completion. The waiter ambles across to them, and they place their
Morgan: Do you think this Fenwick-Native American thing will work?
Morgan: The Fenwick-American Indian thing, you tnean? Well, why shouldn't
Nlorgan: Look, I know you had a great tin1e in the States wandering the n1csas
of Arizona and meeting those interesting people, but we're going to
have a problem convincing my superiors that we should spend Fenwick
taxpayers' tnoney on exchanges with an American Indian tribe in
a remote corner of America to promote the concept of narrative as a
political act. I 1nean, sorry, but that's the \Vay.
Morgan: They have a great story.
Morgan: Ha ha! Very funny.
Morgan: No, l mean it. Why is it that dance, painting, sculpture and everything
else gets a pass, but the one story that actually says it's a story with
words is penalized? It's certainly not more expensive.
Morgan: It's not just the n1oney. These days, we have to think up novel arguments
for culture. A new narrative. lfwe don't, the vultures are waiting. It's
not like it was when everyone accepted, unquestioningly, that arts and
culture had so1ne sort of intrinsic value and that part of the budget was
Cultural Citizenship, Narrative, and Transnationalism
Morgan: Anyway, we'll manage it. The cultural attache at the American embassy,
Yas1niina, is very supportive and she'll be in contact with you-what is
your new title again?
Morgan: [pausing briefly] Chief Narrative Officer.
Morgan: I like it. Says something accurate. Kind of like the American Indian
approach. J think they would appreciate that title.
Morgan: I told them we need a new story of culture otherwise we might as well
jump behind the glass case at the Grand Fenwick National Art Museu1n
ourselves [gestures at a large neoclassical edifice a bit further up the
street]. Consign ourselves to the past. Tell the old Fenwick stories, the
wine, the struggle between-
Morgan: The Dilutionists alld the I know.
Morgan: I put together the traveling exhibition on that. There was a lot of
pressure, you know, to be neutral and not .tavor one side or the other.
People can get very touchy about that subject. Personally, I think the
Dilutionists were right.
Morgan: Really? That surprises 1ne. But it was a great exhibition. Especially the
wine tasting part.
Morgan; I said to n1y boss, "Why not give me a title that 1nakes me responsible
for telling the story of culture, rather than just administering culture?"
Hence CNO. [Long pause.] You know, we have several very talented
Fenwick artists working here in the Duchy. Among the best are a
woman who is the daughter of a .Roma immigrant and the Fenwick
po!ice1nan who arrested her, and a guy who is originally fron1 Mongolia
and only has one name. Now he's having some real problems with his
US visa requirements-the online forms won't accept a blank box iOr
the surname and if he puts NIA he's going to have trouble showing
proof of his identity at immigration.
Morgan: I'll ask Yasmiina about it. Maybe she can help.
Morgan: The problem is that if you told many-......-even most-Fenwickians that
those two individuals are the Duchy's best creative artists, they 1night
be confused and even angry. "Where's our Fenwickian tradition?" they
would shout. "Where's the sense of national identity?"
Morgan: I feel for the1n, in a way. But they don't realize that it's a transnational
world now, and our domestic cultural policies need to reflect that.
Morgan: The American Indians-I mean, you said they can be secretive about
their narratives. They aren't going to arrive here and then decide
we've presented them in the wrong way? Our intent is educational, not
political. I tnean, we certainly want to show them in an accurate light
and in a way that demonstrates our respect for their cultures, but .
Morgan: Can't promise, but I think they'll feel at home. We're a s1nall sovereign
nation always surrounded by something bigger-they understand that
kind of thing. Their stories are what protect them and remind them
about who they are.
164 Narrative, Identity, and the Map Q.(Cultural Policy
Morgan: We're all narrative beings at heart. After all, our Duchy of Grand
Fenwick is a strange story itself.
The waiter arrives at last and holds up a wine bottle for their inspection.
It took a little searching, but I found it-Pinot Grand Fenwick 1982.
You know, I've heard that some people actually prefer Pinot Grand
You can't mean it!
The truth is, in a blind tasting eight out often people guess wrong. We did
it about once a week in various places during our traveling exhibition-
same result each time. People got quite confused when they discovered
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Whiteley, P.M. 1999. The Interpretation of Politics: A Hopi Conundrum, in Across
the Boundaries ~ f Belief: Contemporary Issues in the Anthropology ofl?eligion,
edited by M. Klass and M. Weisgrau. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 303-17.
Whiteley, P.M. 1988. Deliberate Acts: Changing Hopi Culture through the Oraibi
S;J!it. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Press.
Whiteley, P.M. 1986. Unpacking Hopi "Clans," ll: Further Questions about Hopi
Descent Groups. Journal a/Anthropological Research, 42(1 ), 69-79.
Wibberly, L. 1955. The Mouse That Roared. London: Robert Hale.
Wilson, J.Q. 2012. Tocqueville and America. Claremont Review of Books, 12(2),
Wittgenstein, L. 1958. Philosophical Investigations. Translated by G.E.M.
Anscombe. New York: Basil Blackwell & Mott.
Wolff, J. 198 l. The Social Production ofArt. New York: Macmillan.
Womack, C. 1999. Red on Red: Native An1erican literary Separatism. Minneapolis,
MN: University of Minnesota Press.
WfJrks Cited 175
Wright, L. 2011. The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda's Road to 9111. With a new
afterword. New York: Penguin.
Zhang, Li 2002. Spatiality and Urban Citizenship in Late Socialist China. Public
Culture 14(2), 311-34.
Aame, Antti I 01
Aarne--Thompson-Uther tOlktale index
"Burning Down the Barn" 113
cultural policy parallels 113--15
Propp, comparison with 112, 115-16
see also Uther,
Abu Ghraib prison, revelations 105
aesthetic effect, narrative 30
Mujahedeen fighters 73-4
Taliban rule 73
see also Buddha statues
Agenda 21, UN resolution 107, 108, 161
Al-Qaeda 20, 75, 77-8
American English 14
American lndjans
as archeological curiosities 133
in feature filrns, subordinate roles 133
forced migration 128
narrativeframingof132, 133, 135
reservations 128-9, 129-30
sovereignty 130
see also Native Americans
American Museum 64
American Opera Company 64
American Philosophical Society 64
American-Idol-style, female competition,
Egypt 154-5
Anderson, Benedict 15
Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 26
narrative 27
Annals oj'Saint Gall 26
anti-Americanism 43, 56, 143, 155 .... -0
anti-colonialism 13
Arab Spring (20 ll) 154
Clouds llO
Ecclesiazusae (Assemblywomen)
on mimesis 103
Poetics 103
Art Institute of Chicago, flag controversy
archetypal 69
protector of morals, narrative 69
technology, use of 71
American influence, promotion
artistic autonomy 68
artistic excesses, examples 70
attitudes 61-2
Cooper on 63-4
cultural diplomacy 68
democracy narrative 67, 68, 69
distrust of 65
dominant narrative 62-4, 65
as economic catalyst 7 l, 72
emulation of Europe 66-7
equality issues 66
feminized activity 65
future nightmares narrative 6 7
institutions 64-5
nature narrative 66
participation 65
Puritan influence 65
salvation 67
Tocqueville on 62, 63
transcendence narrative 67
unprofitability 65-6
and the Cold War 60, 68
funding, nation-state 157-8
public expenditure, justification 151-2
Soviet Union, promotion of
communism 68
see also culture
178 Narrative, Identity, and the Map ofC'ultural Policy
Assange, Julian Paul
as mythical hero 106
narrative fran1ing of 105 6
assertion, and narrative 27-9
Atlantic Monthly 64
Austen, Jane, Pride and Prejudice 44
Austro-Hungarian Einpire 148
and coexistence of cultures 145
Jews in 10
Banta, Martha 66
Barr, Marleen S. 88
Bendau, Clifford 86
Berlin, post-War
Soviet cultural offensive 55, 89
theaters 55
Berlin Wall
construction (1961) 152
fall (1989) 69, 70
Bhopal disaster 71
Bin Laden, Osama 74
Birch, Carol L. 41
Boia, Lucian 146
Boulle, Pierre, Planet ~ / t h e Apes 67
Bourne, Randolph 3, 19, 20, 134
Boyd, Brian 103, 104
Bradbury, Ray, Fahrenheit 451: 67
Brandt, Richard, flopi Ethics 83
Braque, Georges 120
Brenson, Michael 70
Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG)
Brooklyn Art Museun1, "Sensation" exhibit
Brooks, Peter 5
Brooks, Stephen, As Others See Us 155
Bniner, Jerome 93--4
Buddha statues, Afghanistan
destruction 73, 74-5, 76
narrative differences 77, 89, 151
restoration 73
tourist potential 74, 75
transnational na1Tative 78
and UNESCO 7 5
Bu1nppo, Natty !33
Burke, Edmund 67
Caldwell, Kia 140
Calhoun, C. 124
Campbell, Joseph 117
The Hero with a Thousand }'aces I 06
Capra, Frank, Why We Fight 6
Ca1Toll, Lewis
Alice in Wonderland, and narrative
framing 99 I 00, l 0 I
"Jabberwocky" poe1n 100
Cash, Johnny l l 0
Cassirer, Ernst 102
The Myth of the State 103
Catholics, fear of l 48
Ceauescu, Nicolae 144
Charleston MuseLnn 64
Chavez, Hugo 24
Chernobyl disaster 71
Church, B., The Entertaining f!istory of
King Philip S fVar 135
Churchill, Ward 129, 132
in the classical world 140
and identity 139
and kinship 139, 141
meaning 144
as narrative fra1ning 139
and place of birth 141
women, Canada 140
see also cultural citizenship
Cle1nmer, R. 85
Clifford, James 125
cli1nate, conference, Canclin 24
Cobb, Iloger W. 96
Cold War
and the arts 60, 68
and support fOr NEA 70
Cole, Thomas 64
Coll, Kathleen 140
Condon, Richard, The Manchurian
C'andidate 67
Congress fOr Cultural Freedom (CCF) 55
Cooper, James Fenimore 61
on A1ncricans and the arts 63--4
Leather.stocking tales 133
"On Civilization" 63
The Last of the Mahicans 132, 133
The Pioneers 132
Corcoran Gallery, Washington 70
Cuba, transculturation 136-7
cultural assimilation, melting-pot theory
cultural citizenship l 0
assumptions 150
concept 14 l
and narrative 142-3
as policy concern 142
Romania 145
and transnationalisrn 143-50
cultural exchange, and security measures
cultural identity 140
and flags 13 8
and globalization 21
Hopi of Arizona 79-80
and national borders 145
transnational, Jews 147-..8
cultural policy
"Burning Down the Barn" folktale,
parallels t 13-15
definition 3
Duchy of Grand Fenwick 162--4
ethical issues 156-61
Finland 143, 158-60
and narrative 4, 15, 59, 89
and narrative analysis 7, 40
and narrative structure 4
definition, UNESCO 159
European 150-51
fliir, definition l 59
ideological assumptions about 49-50
meanings 144
and narrative 1
narrative of 15 l
and Scotland 49
David, Jacques-Louis, Napoleon Crossing
the Alps 120
de-nationalization 22
Deitch, Lewis I. 81
denazification, post-War Germany 58 9
Devereaux, Mary 1
The Dial 64
Dickens, Charles
American Notes for General
Circulation 14
attitude to America 14, 155
Dickstein, Morris 72
Dobrowolsky, Alexandra see Tastsoglu,
Drake, James, on early New England
society 134-5
du SirnitiCre, Pierre Eugene du 64
Edelman, Murray 93
Egypt, American-Idol-style, female singer
competition 154-5
"Elbowroom" project 49
Elder, Charles D. 96
Eliot, T.S., The Waste Land 120
emotion, and narrative 41, 120
emplotment, and narrative structure 94--5
empowennent, and transnationalisrn 23
Epimenides 161
European Coal and Steel Community 25
European Economic Com1nunity 25
European Union 4, 25
influential works 88
value of I 03-4
cultural policy 143, 158
Fair Culture? .Ethical Dimension
of Cultural Policy and Cultural
Rights 158
Saini Parliament 135
Sarni people l 4
cultural rights 135-6
First Peoples 127
designation 128
Fischer, Frank & Zittoun, Philippe 37
flags, and cultural identity 138
motifs l 12
and narrative 111-12
and transmission of cultural knowledge
Ford, John 134 5
The Grapes of Wrath, political effects
The Searchers 134
"Fractured Fairytales" 88
framing 11 see also narrative framing
France, headscarf ban 149
180 Narrative, Identity, and the Map a_( Cultural Policy
Frazer, James, The Golden Bough 120
Freeman, Mark, "Rethinking the Fictive,
Reclaiming the Real" 39
Freud, Sigmund 110
Frohnmayer, John 70
Furtwangler, Wilhelm 58
German Democratic Republic 152
Germany, unification (1990) 152
Gheorghiu-Dej, Gheorghe 144
Giuliani, Rudi 114
global village 21
globalization 124, 142
coining of term 21
connotations 19, 21
negative 23--4
and cultural identity 21
and Mississippi Masala 17-18
as narrative 23
Throsby on 2
transnationalism, difference 2-3, 4,
Glowacka, Maria, and Emory
Sekaquaptewa 83
Goddard, Ives 131, 132
Grand Fenwick, Duchy 6, 11, 46, 54, 86-9,
cultural policy 6 2 ~ 4
narrative 89, 163-4
Grant, A.M., Memoirs o_f an American
Guadelupe-Hidalgo, Treaty (1848) 138
Gulf of Mexico, oil spill 71
Gypsies see Romani people
l-lalbwachs, Maurice 124
On Collective Memory 123
Hanson, W.S., and LP. 'Haynes 146
Haynes, LP. see l"lanson, W.S.
headscarf ban, France 149
'Helms, Jesse 70
Heraclitus l 09
Hieb, L.A. 84
Himmler, Heinrich, 1943 speech 33, 34, 35
Hindley, Myra 114
Hopi of Arizona
cultural identity 79-80
dialects 82
discrimination against 83
domain 81
Hopi Way 82-3, 84
knowledge as property 84- 5
legends, hierarchy of 84
narrative, importance of85, 86
Navajo, land disputes 8 !
per capita income 80
population 81
religion 82
Snake/ Antelope ceremonies 84
tourism 79-80
impediments to 85-6
purpose 85
tour guides, training of 86
travelers' destination 80-81
tribal council 129
role 82
unemployment 80
villages 81-2
Hopi Office of Revenue Commission
(HORC) 80
Hudson River School 64
Huhndorf, Shari 128, 130
Hurricane Katrina, narrative issues 51-2
Hwang, David, M. Butterfly 113
and citizenship 139
collective 124
concept IO
fluid 127
formation 123
individual, and autono1ny 124-5
and memory 123-4
and narrative 1, 10, 124, 130
and storytelling 1
struggle for 125-7
see also cultural identity
Idi A1nin 16
Indian Reorganization Act (1934), tribal
councils 129
Indian Welfare League 83
Indigenous Americans 14, 79, 81, 126, 127
histoiy 128-9
1narginalization of 133
narrative, control of 135
as "noble savages" 132
and US identity 133
use of term 128
see also American Indians; First
Peoples; Native Americans
International Monetary Fund 23
Inuit 128
Islamophobia 148-9
James, Harry 83
Jenninger, Philipp
resignation 34
speech to Bundestag (1985) 32, 33-5
narrative, failure to control 35-6,
45, 155
inAustro-lIungarian Etnpire 10
transnational cultural identity 147-8
Joan of Arc l 10
jokes, as narrative 118-20
Jones, Michael 96
and M.K. McBeth 97
Josselson, Michael 54, 55, 57, 58, 59
Jung, Carl 117
Jusdanis, Gregory 47
Kafka, Franz, leopard story 72
Kant, Immanuel
Critique of }Jure Reason 99
on knowledge 99, I 00
and narrative framing 99
Kaplan, T.J. 94
Karajan, Herbert von 58
Kellogg, R. see Scholes, R.
Kennedy, John F. 148
kinship, and identity l 39
Kipling, Rudyard, Just So Stories 112
cultural, and folktales 112
Kant on 99, JOO
and narrative 91
as property, among Hopi of Arizona
Kohl, Helmut 32
Kurds 15
Kushner, Tony, Angels in America,
controversy l 13
Kyrgyzstan, Ainerican air base 88
Lakoff, George
Don't Think of'an E'lephant! 95
on metaphor 95
Moral Politics 95
Langelaan, George, "The Fly" 67
Langer, Suzanne K., on positivism I 02
and narrative 7
Saussure on 117-18
Lasky, Melvin 54, 59
Latinos, as other l 3 7
Levi-Strauss, Claude 117
Levine, Lawrence W. 64, 65
linguistic sign 117
Little Big Horn, battle (1876) 134
Lloyd Wright, Frank 120
Longinus, On the Sublime 111
McBeth, M.K. 96 see also Jones, Michael
McNally, Terence, lips Together, Teeth
Apart 113
Mandela, Nelson 110
Mapplethorpe, Robert, The Pe1:fect
meaning, Wittgenstein on 1 1 ~ 2
Meeds, Lloyd 60-61
n1elting-pot theory, cultural assi1nilation
collective 123-.-4
and identity 123-4
metaphor, Lakoff on 95
.Mexico City Declaration on Cultural
Policies 159
MiloSeviC, Slobodan 24
mirnesis, Aristotle on 103
Mississippi Masala 3, 16--17
and globalization 17-18
Nabokov, Nicholas 54, 59
aesthetic effect 30
and assertion 27--9
competence 39
complexity 92
context 45-6
and cultural citizenship 1 4 2 ~ 3
and cultural policies 4, 15, 59, 89
182 Narrative, Identity, and the Map of C'ultural Policy
and culture I
definition 97
Duchy of Grand Fenvick 89, 163-4
and e1notion 41, 120
epistemology 8
ethical di1nensions 46-7
and folktales 111-12
forms 48
functions, relationship 43
globalization as 23
historical 26-7
and 1-lopi of Arizona 85, 86
and identity 1, 10, 124, 130
as ideological instrument 30-31
Indigenous Atnericans, control of 135
applications 4-5
jokes as 118-20
and knowledge 91
and language 7
logic of 41
exarnples 43
Vietnan1 veterans story 41-2
naive 117
nature of 4, 5, 156
origins of term 4
pervasiveness of 39
policy 8, 30, 97
political 97, 98
presentation, joke-telling example 45
in public discourse vii, 40
restrictions on, .Nineteen Eighty-Four 111
rhetorical aspects 3 l, 44
and stoty genre, example 45---6
storytelling, difference 1--2
transnationalism as 23
and trial of Socrates 109
turn 40
in policy analysis 94
understanding 93
and value statements 95-6
values 44
see also storytelling
narrative analysis
affective vs ethical pressure 51
exarnplc 51---2
breakdown of narrative act/text 49
example 49--50
and cultural policy 7, 40
processes 49-52
story/discourse distinction 50--5 l
narrative framing
in Alice in Wonderland 99-100
of American Indians 132, 133, 135
Assange case 105-6
citizenship as 139
cultural policy analysis 108
examples 5-6
Kantian features 99
municipal smart growth plans 106-7
and nonsense 99
policy analysis
of Romani people 136
Russian cultural offensive 55-7, 59
Shared Values campaign 156
value of 6, 38, 39
see also narrative structure
Narrative Policy Fratnework (NPF) 96-7
hypotheses 97
lin1itations 98
public policy analysis 97
value 97-8
narrative structure
and cultural policy 4
elements 4, 29-30
and en1plotment 94--5
and MRI 93
see also narrative fra1ning
nation-state 150
arts funding }57 ...... 8
minority cultures 14, 15
National Endow1nent for the Arts (NEA)
59"60, 159
and the Cold War 70, 89
Declaration of Purpose 69
and Kafka's leopard story 72
nationalism, rise of 13
Native Americans
designation 128
white narrative, encounters with 129
see also American Indians
Naudet, Jules, and Gedeon, 9111,
affectiveness 4 7 ""'8
Navajo people 128
defoat at Canyon de Chelly (1864) 81
Fort Sumner Treaty (l 868) 8!
Hopi, land disputes 81
NEA see National Endowment for the
Negri, Toni, and Michael IJardt, Empire 24
New York Philhannonic 64
North American Review 64
Nott, Josiah Clark 132
NPF see Narrative Policy Frmnework
Nunberg, G. 131
Obama, Barack 28, 29, 149
Occupy Wall Street n1ovemcnt 24
Ofili, Chris, The Holy Virgin Mary,
controversy 114
Oltean, Ioana 147
Organization of the Islamic Conference 75
Ortiz, Fernando l36
Ortiz, Simon 133
Orwell, George, Nineteen Eighty-Four 88
and narrative restrictions l l l
Peale, Charles Willson 64
Pearl Harbor ( 1941) 54
Phelan, Ja1nes 44, 46 see also Scholes, R.
Philippines 15
Picasso, Pablo 120
Apologia 109, 110
Gorgias 109
Republic !09, llO
PokC1non game, controversy l 04, 108
policy analysis
nleaning 37
narrative tum 94
public, and NPF 97
Po!kinghorne, Donald 38-9, 93, 112
Po1neroy, Sarah 141
positivism, Langer on l 02
Pratt, Mary Louise 137
Propp, Vladimir 43, 101
Aame----Tho1npson-Uther, comparison
with 112, 115,,16
Aforphology of the Folktale 112, 115
narrative units, logic 115-16
Radio Farda 154
Radio Sawa 154
Rawls, John 143
narrative uses 132
origins and use oftenn 130, 131-2
and Washington Redskins 130-31
Reichskristallnacht, 50th anniversary
co1n1nemoration 31-3
Reilly, R,R. 154
Renan, Ernest 150
reservations, American Indians 1 2 8 ~ 9
Reynolds, Jeremy 93
Richland, Justin 85
Rlcoeur, Paul 94
Rizal, Jose 13
Rizk, Beatriz 13 7
The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show 88-9
Romani people 15, 16
narrative fran1ing of 136
Romania 10, 15, 142
cultural citizenship 145
ethnicities 144
1nultilingualis1n 144 ......5
origins, controversies 145-7
Saatchi, Charles 114
Sarni Parliament, Finland 135
San1i people 14
cultural rights 135-6
Saunders, Frances Stoner, The Cultural
Cold War 54
Saussure, Ferdinand de
Course in General Linguistics 117
on language 117-18
Schivelbusch, Wolfgang, In a Cold Crater
Schneider, Cynthia 155
Scholes, R., J. Phelan, and R, Kellogg 39,
40, 43, 48
The ,Vature of Narrative 30
Schwartzkopf, Elizabeth 58
Scotland, and culture 49
Scottish Executive Response on the
Cultural Review (2006) 49
September ll (2001) events 20, 74, 149,
Serbian, Croatian languages, separation
Serrano, Andres, Piss Christ 70
184 Narrative, Identity, and the Map of Cultural Polity
Shakespeare, Willian1, first American
performance of 64
Shanahan, Elizabeth 96
Share the Mic project 155
Shared Values campaign, narrative framing
signifier, and signified 117
Sinclair, Upton, The Jungle 88
Smith, Al 148
Smithsonian Institution 64
Socrates, trial, and narrative 109
Speer, Nicole 93
Stalin, Josef 54
Stone, Deborah 96
storytelling vii
and identity 1
narrative, difference l-2
pervasiveness of 1
purposes 44, 93
transfonnative capacity 9
see also narrative
Sullivan, Jere1niah 84
Tarrow, Sidney, The New Transnational
Activism l 49
Tastsoglu, Evangelia, and Alexandra
Dobrowolsky, Crossing Boundaries
and Making C'onnections 140
Taylor, Frank 58
technology, artists' use of71
Three Mile Island disaster 71
Throsby, David, on globalization 2
Tocqueville, Alexis de 14, 61-2
on Americans and the arts 62, 63
Democracy in America 62
Wilson on 63
Cuba 136-7
origins of term 136
coining of tenn 19
connotations 19, 21-2
culture 23
definition 18
and national 18-l 9
turn, Native culture 128
and cultural citizenship 143-50
and empowennent 23
globalization, difference 2-3, 4, 2 l-2,
as narrative 23
origins of term 3, 138
suspicion of 148-9
Trianon, Treaty ( 1920) 144
Trouillot, Michel-Rolphe 78
Twain, Mark, fluckleberry F'inn 64
Ugandan Asians 16
exodus 17
umma, as transnational concept 19
and Buddha statues 75
mission 76
US Information Agency 68
Uther, Hans-JOrg 112 see also Aarne-
Thompson-Uther folktale index
value statements, and narrative 95-6
Vienna Literary Agreement (1850) 151
Vietnam veterans story, misleading
narrative 41-2, 73
Voice of America, Arabic/Farsi services,
chauges 153-4
Washington Model 23
Watt, James 129-30
White, Hayden 26
Whitely, Peter 83, 85
Wibberly, Leonard 6
novels, narrative conflicts 88
The Mouse that Roared 86-7, 88
see also Ci-rand Fenwick, Duchy
WikiLeaks I 05
Wilson, James Q., on Tocqueville 62
Wittgenstein, Ludwig
on tneaning 101-2
Philosophical Investigations I 0 I
World Bank 23
World Conference against Racis1n (200 l) 24
World Trade Organization 24
YouTube 126
Zacks, Jeffrey 93
Zhang, Li 140