Battle of Narratives
Everton, Sean F.
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In this thesis, I analyze narratives from a network point of view using Social Network Analysis (SNA) software and methods. A narrative is a network of semantic meanings that can be coded and analyzed as such. In a competitive environment, such as politics, narratives are a means by which to influence people to act. To analyze a narratives effectiveness, I use the 2008 Presidential Election campaigns of Senators John McCain and Barack Obama as a case study to evaluate their narratives in relation to their success. I generate a series of semantic networks of the two campaigns. I then estimate a series of SNA metrics and compare these to the approval ratings of the two candidates. I hypothesize that the degree of centralization and the cohesiveness of a candidates narrative will be positively associated with the candidates approval ratings, all else being equal. This hypothesis is confirmed in the analysis.
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