Fall/Winter Timetable

POL476H1S L0101

Graduate Course Code: POL2376H1S L0101

Topics in Public Policy

Narrative and Politics


With the rise of Internet-enabled government and the explosive growth of social media, narrative (often referred to as story-telling) has become an essential mode of public discourse, a key means through which ideas about politics, governance, policy, and activism are articulated and circulated. In this course we will explore archetypal narratives shaping the way politics is represented (in popular cultural genres, especially film) and practiced (in campaign advertising). We will consider dominant narrative constructs and, drawing on recent interdisciplinary research, the mechanisms that make them so powerful.
Communications is an essential political skill and the use of narrative is an important type of communication. Stories often connect emotionally with people in ways that other types of communications do not. This class will also draw upon the techniques used in the narratives presented in class as a basis for telling our own stories.


Borins, Governing Fables: Learning from Public Sector Narratives (2011); Borins, Public Representations: Narratives, Fables, Governing Movies (in progress); and episodes of television series available online

Format and Requirements

Seminar format. Class participation: 35%; Individual narrative presentation: 25%; Term Paper: 40%