Publications

2016
Walter, D., Sheafer, T., Nir, L., & Shenhav, S. (2016). Not All Countries Are Created Equal: Foreign Countries Prevalence in U.S. News and Entertainment Media. Mass Communication and Society , 19, 522-41.
2015
Shenhav, S. R. (2015). Analyzing Social Narratives . Routledge Series on Interpretive Methods.Abstract

Interpreting human stories, whether those told by individuals, groups, organizations, nations, or even civilizations, opens a wide scope of research options for understanding how people construct, shape, and reshape their perceptions, identities, and beliefs. Such narrative research is a rapidly growing field in the social sciences, as well as in the societally oriented humanities, such as cultural studies. This methodologically framed book offers conceptual directions for the study of social narrative, guiding readers through the means of narrative research and raising important ethical and value-related dilemmas.

Oshri, O., Sheafer, T., & Shenhav, S. R. (2015). A community of values: Democratic identity formation in the European Union. European Union Politics. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Has the European Union (EU) succeeded in socializing citizens to support the democratic values it claims to promote? On the face of it, the prevailing skepticism precludes any expectation of a successful socialization of EU citizens to the EU values. Yet, according to the socialization hypothesis, citizens’ support for these values is expected to increase as countries accumulate more years of the EU membership. Using survey data to isolate distinct dimensions of democratic values, we examine differences among countries in this regard, as well as changes within countries over time. Results confirm the socialization hypothesis, showing that support for democratic values is generally higher in countries with more years of the EU membership, and that this support trends upwards over time.

Nikolenyi, C., & Shenhav, S. R. (2015). The Constitutionalisation of Party Unity: The Origins of Anti-defection Laws in India and Israel. Journal of Legislative Studies , 21 (3), 390 - 407. Publisher's VersionAbstract
In spite of a pronounced increase in the number of states that have adopted anti-defection laws over the past several decades, the literature on party unity in democratic legislatures has paid scant attention to understanding the conditions that lead to the adoption of such restrictive measures on the mobility of elected deputies. This article seeks to fill this gap. The authors provide a simple game-theoretic model to explain the passage of anti-defection measures in India, in 1985, and Israel, in 1991. These two democratic states were among the first to experiment with the constitutionalisation of anti-defection measures. Moreover, their comparison is important because although these laws were adopted under seemingly very different circumstances, they were supported with a strong consensus by both the government party, or coalition, and the opposition. It is argued that the reasons for the passage of the anti-defection laws in these two states were rooted in the strategic consequences of the changes that took place in the format of their party systems. The Indian and the Israeli cases show, respectively, that a dominant party system (India) and a tightly balanced bipolar party system (Israel) provided equally compelling incentives for rampant party switching between government and opposition, which therefore created an incentive for both sides to agree to, and adopt, a strict legislative measure to curb defections. [ABSTRACT FROM PUBLISHER]Copyright of Journal of Legislative Studies is the property of Routledge and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. This abstract may be abridged. No warranty is given about the accuracy of the copy. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract. (Copyright applies to all Abstracts.)
2014
Balmas, M., Rahat, G., Sheafer, T., & Shenhav, S. R. (2014). Two routes to personalized politics: Centralized and decentralized personalization. Party Politics , 20 (1), 37 - 51. Publisher's VersionAbstract
This article describes two opposing types of political personalization: centralizing and decentralizing personalization. The first implies the centralization of political power in the hands of a few leaders, while the latter indicates a diffusion of group power among its components: individual politicians. We start by proposing definitions of the types and subtypes of centralized and decentralized personalization and review the literature in search of evidence of their occurrence. We then demonstrate the usefulness of the proposed typology by examining personalization trends in various aspects of Israeli politics and conclude with a discussion of the challenges that personalization set for liberal democracies. [ABSTRACT FROM PUBLISHER]Copyright of Party Politics is the property of Sage Publications, Ltd. and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. This abstract may be abridged. No warranty is given about the accuracy of the copy. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract. (Copyright applies to all Abstracts.)
Robert, D., & Shenhav, S. (2014). Fundamental Assumptions in Narrative Analysis: Mapping the Field. Qualitative Report , 19 (38), 1 - 17 . Qualitative Report. Publisher's VersionAbstract
The richness of narrative analysis resides in its unruly openness, but points of reference are needed to tame the variety in the field. This article suggests that researchers should grapple with two fundamental questions when conducting narrative analysis. The first pertains to the status attributed to narrative: it is defined as the very fabric of human existence or as one representational device among others? Emphasizing one answer over the other means mobilizing different theories of representation and therefore, suggesting different articulations between "narrative" and "reality." The second question refers to the perspective developed on narrative: Is it defined mostly as the characteristic of an approach, an object of investigation or both? Different methodological implications are associated with that choice. The article claims that dominant trends in narrative analysis originate in the way researchers answer those two questions. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]Copyright of Qualitative Report is the property of Qualitative Report and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. This abstract may be abridged. No warranty is given about the accuracy of the copy. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract. (Copyright applies to all Abstracts.)
Sheafer, T., Shenhav, S. R., Takens, J., & Van Atteveldt, W. (2014). Relative political and value proximity in mediated public diplomacy: the effect of state-level homophily on international frame building. Political Communication , 31 (1), 149-167 . Taylor & Francis Ltd.Abstract

This article applies the homophily thesis to public diplomacy and offers an empirical examination of a country’s success in its mediated public diplomacy efforts. It analyzes international frame building, the process of creating or changing media frames in the international communications arena, by applying it to the case of Israeli mediated public diplomacy efforts during the war in Gaza in the winter of 2008–2009. The article claims that one way to use the homophily thesis in empirical analyses of international frame-building campaigns in conflicts is to measure the political and value proximity of a country promoting frames to other countries. Yet, proximity should be measured relatively rather than in absolute terms. Therefore, one should look not only at the dyadic proximity between two actors (i.e., Country A that attempts to promote its frames to Country C), but at the relative proximity between Countries A and C considering the proximity between the rival Country B and the target Country C. The study proposes a model and a method to facilitate empirical analysis of this claim. Using sophisticated computerized content analysis, our analyses demonstrate that relative proximity is related to successful international frame building in the hypothesized direction: The closer the relative proximity between Israel and a foreign country, the greater the acceptance of Israel’s views.

Shenhav, S. R., Oshri, O., Ofek, D., & Sheafer, T. (2014). Story Coalitions: Applying Narrative Theory to the Study of Coalition Formation. Political Psychology , 35 (5), 661-678. Publisher's VersionAbstract

To purchase or authenticate to the full-text of this article, please visit this link: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/pops.12072/abstract Byline: Shaul R. Shenhav, Odelia Oshri, Dganit Ofek, Tamir Sheafer Keywords: narrative; political narratives; narrative theory; narrative analysis; coalition formation; national stories; story coalitions; Israel This article explores the potential of incorporating narrative theory into the study of coalition formation. Following a discussion of the role of narratives in group-formation processes in a coalition-driven dynamic, we offer a theoretical framework to examine the ways political stories espoused by people are mirrored by the partisan system. We integrate theoretical assumptions of narrative studies with coalition-formation theories in an attempt to frame coalition-formation models in terms of voters' political stories. We test our theoretical framework by simulating various possible coalitions in the Israeli 2009 elections and as

2013
Sheafer, T., Ben-Nun Bloom, P., Shenhav, S. R., & Segev, E. (2013). The Conditional Nature of Value-Based Proximity Between Countries: Strategic Implications for Mediated Public Diplomacy. American Behavioral Scientist , 57 (9), 1256 - 1276. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Media attention accorded to foreign countries constitutes a crucial facet of public diplomacy. Studies have shown that proximity in values is a key factor that determines such media attention. Models of media interest generally assume that the impact of value proximity is universal across countries with different societal value orientations. Yet this study shows that the effect of societal value orientation on media attention to foreign countries is more complex. It is argued here that the societal value orientation in different countries primes different sets of values, which are then applied as a criterion for assessing the importance of foreign states. Our empirical examination is based on the visibility of foreign countries gauged by searching web portals in 57 countries. It shows that in line with our theoretical argument, countries systematically differ in recognizing proximity, such that democracies base their judgment on similarity in shared democratic principles, whereas authoritarian countries focus on the affinity in religious culture. We discuss the strategic implications of this finding for the study of mediated public diplomacy. [ABSTRACT FROM PUBLISHER]Copyright of American Behavioral Scientist is the property of Sage Publications Inc. and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. This abstract may be abridged. No warranty is given about the accuracy of the copy. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract. (Copyright applies to all Abstracts.)
Segev, E., Sheafer, T., & Shenhav, Shaul, R. (2013). Is the world getting flatter? A new method for examining structural trends in the news. Journal of the American Society for Information Science & Technology , 64, 2537 - 2547. Publisher's VersionAbstract
In this article, we propose a new method to analyze structural changes in networks over time and examine how the representation of the world in two leading newspapers, the New York Times and Der Spiegel, has changed during the past 50 years. We construct international networks based on the co-occurrences of country names in news items and trace changes in their distribution of centrality over time. Supporting previous studies, our findings indicate a consistent gap between the most central and the least central countries over the years, with the United States remaining at the center of the network and African countries at its peripheries. Surprisingly, the most dynamic changes in the past 50 years occurred in what we call the 'middle range'. In both outlets, we identified a trend of convergence, in other words, a more equal centrality of European, Middle Eastern, and Asian countries in the news. The implications of these findings are discussed.
Sheafer, T., & Shenhav, S. (2013). Political culture congruence and political stability: revisiting the congruence hypothesis with prospect theory. Journal of Conflict Resolution , 57 (2), 232-257 . Sage Publications, Inc.Abstract

The premise of the cultural congruence hypothesis is that the level of congruence between democratic values among the public and in political institutions of a country is an important indication of political stability: the greater the congruence, the greater the stability. Though this hypothesis was proposed almost fifty years ago, it has never been fully examined. A crucial weakness of the hypothesis is that it is blind to the direction of incongruence: instability increases if the public has either more or less freedom relative to their expectations. But based on what we learn from Prospect Theory, one may expect to find different behaviors in these two situations. The empirical analyses that follow confirm this expectation. The article also evaluates the congruence hypothesis in light of the institutional hypothesis. Rather than seeing these hypotheses as competing, the authors claim that it is more productive to focus on the interaction between them, thus improving their understanding of political stability.

Segev, E., Sheafer, T., & Shenhav, Shaul, R. (2013). Is the world getting flatter? A new method for examining structural trends in the news. Journal of the American Society for Information Science & TechnologyJ AM SOC INF SCI TECHNOL , 64 (12), 2537 - 2547. Publisher's VersionAbstract

In this article, we propose a new method to analyze structural changes in networks over time and examine how the representation of the world in two leading newspapers, the New York Times and Der Spiegel, has changed during the past 50 years. We construct international networks based on the co-occurrences of country names in news items and trace changes in their distribution of centrality over time. Supporting previous studies, our findings indicate a consistent gap between the most central and the least central countries over the years, with the United States remaining at the center of the network and African countries at its peripheries. Surprisingly, the most dynamic changes in the past 50 years occurred in what we call the 'middle range'. In both outlets, we identified a trend of convergence, in other words, a more equal centrality of European, Middle Eastern, and Asian countries in the news. The implications of these findings are discussed.

Yarchi, M., Wolfsfeld, G., Sheafer, T., & Shenhav, S. R. (2013). Promoting stories about terrorism to the international news media: A study of public diplomacy. Media, War & Conflict , 6 (3), 263 - 278 . Sage Publications Inc. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Antagonists’ images in the international news media can play a significant role in determining their level of political success in the international arena, which explains why so many political actors invest considerable resources in public diplomacy. The goal of the present study is to explain the level of success that various actors (countries and non-state actors) have in promoting their preferred frames about terror to the international news media. Four types of explanatory variables are proposed, divided into context and focal event factors. Context factors include the political values and policy proximity between the country attacked (the victimized country) and a country whose news media have been targeted for influence (the target country), as well as the target country’s experience in dealing with terror. Focal event factors refer to the nature of the trigger events that generate news coverage of terrorism. Apart from one exception (the policy proximity), all of the hypotheses were confirmed. The findings indicated that focal event factors have the most significant effect on the way foreign media covers conflicts and that, when it comes to coverage of terrorism, journalists are more interested in constructing a dramatic story than putting the events into a more general political context. [ABSTRACT FROM PUBLISHER]Copyright of Media, War & Conflict is the property of Sage Publications Inc. and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. This abstract may be abridged. No warranty is given about the accuracy of the copy. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract. (Copyright applies to all Abstracts.)
2012
Shenhav, S. R., Rahat, G., & Sheafer, T. (2012). Testing the language-power assumption of critical discourse analysis: the case of Israel's legislative discourse. Canadian Journal of Political Science , 2 (1), 207-222 . Canadian Political Science Association. Publisher's VersionAbstract

The growing interest in the relation between language and politics brings new assumptions and theoretical frameworks to the study of politics. This study presents a simple empirical test of a major assumption of the critical discourse analysis school: that power is a major factor in political discourse. It examines whether the discourse of Israeli members of parliament (Knesset) represents a view of the world through the prism of power or whether parliament members refer to the experience of similar democracies. We demonstrate that power is a strong and significant factor in Israeli legislative discourse through time and across issues while relevance plays no role. L'interet grandissant que suscite le lien entre langage et politique, genere de nouvelles hypotheses et de nouvelles theories de l'etude du politique. Cette etude propose de tester l'une des principales hypotheses de l'analyse critique de discours, a savoir que le pouvoir serait un facteur essentiel du discours politique. Le discours des membres du parlement israelien (la Knesset) est analyse afin de determiner s'il reflete une vision du monde a travers le prisme du pouvoir, ou si au contraire les membres du parlements se referent plutot a experience d'antres democraties sous differents angles, en particulier celui de la similarite de leur travail parlementaire. Cette etude demontre que le pouvoir constitue un facteur important et significatif du discours legislatif israelien, a la fois sur la longue duree et concernant une variete de sujets, alors que le facteur de la pertinence ne joue aucun ro1e. doi: 10.1017/S0008423911000965

2011
Sheafer, T., Shenhav, S. R., & Goldstein, K. (2011). Voting for our story: a narrative model of electoral choice in multiparty systems. Comparative Political Studies , 44 (3), 313-338 . Sage Publications, Inc.Abstract

Based on narrative approaches, the authors develop an empirical technique to gauge the match between stories told by political actors and voters and assess its effect on voting behavior. Even with other fundamental attitudinal and demographic factors held constant, they hypothesize that voters should prefer parties that hold and communicate similar national narratives. Using data gathered during the 2009 elections to the Israeli Knesset, the authors gauge voter attitudes about fundamental national narratives in Israel and conduct a systematic analysis of parties' discourse in parliamentary speeches to gauge parties' stories. Controlling for demographics and ideology in a series of logistic regressions, the authors find that voting behavior for most parties is significantly affected by the narrative proximity between voters' stories and parties' stories.

2010
Shenhav, S. R., & Sheafer, T. (2010). Incoherent narrator : Israeli public diplomacy during the disengagement and the elections in the Palestine Authority. Israel Studies , 15 (3), 143-162. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Israeli public diplomacy surrounding the disengagement from Gaza and the general elections in the Palestinian Authority (PA) in 2005 reflects a problematic misconstruction of Israel’s messages in English regarding its relations with the Palestinians. Based on content analysis of official documents, such as official announcements, press releases, and speeches by Israeli government officials (the PM and the foreign ministry), we point to the incompleteness of Israeli public messages aimed at non-Hebrew speakers in terms of major framing functions. Incorporating narrative analysis, we further claim that the problem of missing framing functions is part of a larger problem of misconstruction of the state’s foreign policy narrative. At the core of this problem lies a discontinuity between the definition of the problem faced by Israel, the characterization of those who are responsible for the problem, and the proposed solutions to the problem. While the definition of the problem tends to rest quite heavily on internal disputes within Israel, namely the dispute between the government and the settlers, the Palestinians are those who are held responsible for the problem, and the solution is defined as a confrontation with the Palestinians. This incoherence between the definition of the problems and the solutions offered has damaged the internal logic of Israeli public diplomacy. The article discusses these findings against the backdrop of the traditional Israeli approach toward public diplomacy as reflected by the concept of “explanation” (hasbara). It suggests that these incoherencies played a key role in the explanation of why Israel failed to achieve significant improvement in its international image following the disengagement.

2009
Sheafer, T., & Shenhav, S. R. (2009). Mediated Public Diplomacy in a New Era of Warfare. Communication Review , 12 (3), 272 - 283 . Routledge. Publisher's VersionAbstract
The new era of warfare is characterized by the increased visibility of war. The changing strategic, social and cultural environment has forced governments and armies to modify their strategies. Public diplomacy is one strategic policymaking response to this changing environment. This article reviews current research in this field, focusing on mediated public diplomacy, which is a central part of public diplomacy that has not been greatly researched. We discuss the central role played by cultural resonance in mediated public diplomacy, elaborating on immanent tensions between the centrality of cultural resonance and the needs of public, and mediated public diplomacy. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]Copyright of Communication Review is the property of Routledge and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. This abstract may be abridged. No warranty is given about the accuracy of the copy. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract. (Copyright applies to all Abstracts.)
Shenhav, S. R. (2009). We have a place in a long story: Empowered narratives and the construction of communities: The case of US presidential debates. Narrative Inquiry , 19 (2), 199 - 218 . John Benjamins Publishing Co. Publisher's VersionAbstract
The article discusses the relevance of narrative theory to the study of politics. It claims that the structure of narratives creates a sense of continuity, which is central to the construction of community. Following this claim, the article demonstrates the potential value of combining the study of political narratives with a study of political actions of empowering those who construct them. It presents a study of the closing statements of US presidential debates as a source of narratives related by politicians, and voting records as an indicator of the power given by the people to those politicians. This study explores the correlation between narrative structure as a textual means of constructing continuity and the power given, by the public, to politicians who produce the narratives. It shows that this correlation tends to be higher in counties located in the eastern US and in counties that tend to be more Republican. This finding, the article suggests, indicates the establishment of different Interpretive Communities in the US. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]Copyright of Narrative Inquiry is the property of John Benjamins Publishing Co. and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. This abstract may be abridged. No warranty is given about the accuracy of the copy. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract. (Copyright applies to all Abstracts.)
Shenhav, S. (2009). Communication of the Israeli leadership with families of fallen soldiers. Middle Eastern Studies , (5), 691-707.Abstract

The article examines the Israeli leadership's attempts to explain and justify the harsh outcomes of deployment of force on behalf of the state. It analyzes Commemoration Day Letters sent by representatives of the State of Israel to the families of soldiers killed in action from 1952 onwards, focusing on significant changes in the relation between the individual and the collective. The major turning point is expressed in Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's letters from the mid-1980s, in which the sanctity of life appears as an ideal guiding the state's political establishment. Applying Roman Jakobson's model of communication, the article claims that this turning point marks a shift from a collective, story-oriented approach in which the national narrative was offered as consolation for the loss to a communication-oriented approach, in which those undersigning the letters are presented as personal communicators rather than national narrators. Against the background of problems of legitimacy embedded in this approach, the article analyzes how recent letters refrain from taking either an individualistic or a collective standpoint.

2008
Shenhav, S. R., & Sheafer, T. (2008). From inter-party debate to Inter-personal polemic. Party Politics , 14 (6), 706. Publisher's VersionAbstract

In this article, we analyse the media coverage of party disputes during the first 16 Israeli election campaigns, i.e. in the period 1949 to 2003. Based on a content analysis of newspaper coverage of the two main parties (Labor and Likud) and a qualitative discourse analysis, we maintain that the media coverage of party disputes has undergone major change. From 1949 to 1959 the vast majority of reported disputes reflected external, inter-party debates. From 1961 the level of external debates decreased, while the level of internal, intra-party debates sharply increased. These findings reflect a significant change in the role of 'the party' as a category in the Israeli media's political discourse. The party ceased to be a unitary actor in the political arena and became an arena for political disputes. The dynamic change in party coverage has gone through three main phases: an ideological and collective phase of an external-partisan era during the first decade; an interim phase led by a combination of disputes by persons and factions affiliated with former parties; and, finally, the phase of personal polemics. The dynamic is closely related to historical changes in the Israeli party system and in the political communication climate. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]Copyright of Party Politics is the property of Sage Publications, Ltd. and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. This abstract may be abridged. No warranty is given about the accuracy of the copy. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract. (Copyright applies to all Abstracts.)

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