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Mistrust, Information, and Legitimation: Justifying Citizenship Decisions

Mistrust, Information, and Legitimation: Justifying Citizenship Decisions

Chapter:
(p.66) Chapter Four Mistrust, Information, and Legitimation: Justifying Citizenship Decisions
Source:
Citizen Speak
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226660783.003.0004

This chapter focuses on narratives. The strategic resources people mobilized in the focus groups fall into three general categories: (1) those based on personal experiences or the experiences of friends; (2) those based on reading or viewing the news media; and (3) those based on fictional “experiences” such as those in movies and television programs. These resources are similar in that they generally take narrative form: they are stories told in strategic context; as such, unpacking their meaning in the group becomes a significant interpretive task for other members. Narratives help build democratic imagination by providing comparative cases: preevaluated, or at least self-evaluating, events that lend moral and intellectual meaning to new situations.

Keywords:   narratives, democratic imagination, comparative cases, focus groups, citizenship, experiences

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