Publications

2009
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.)

Shenhav, S. (2008). Showing and telling in parliamentary discourse : the case of repeated interjections to Rabin's speeches in the Israeli parliament. Discourse & Society , 19 (2), 223-255. Publisher's VersionAbstract

The article suggests a theoretical distinction between two types of parliamentary discourse, based on the classic narratological distinction between `showing' and `telling'. Based on this distinction, it studies the influence of interjections and heckling on parliamentary discourse, in particular on the speeches Yitzhak Rabin made to the Israeli parliament as Prime Minister from July 1992 until his assassination in November 1995. Using the distinction between showing and telling, the article claims that exaggerated amounts of interjections and heckling are a dangerous formula for the demise of a discourse of telling which would enable the onus of constructing political images and values to be transferred to the listener's mind through the shaping of political narratives. As a result, the function of parliaments as an arena in which political leaders can publicly shape new national narratives in their speeches is significantly damaged.

2007
Shenhav, S. R. (2007). Detecting stories: Revealing hidden ‘voices’ in public political discourse. Journal of Language & Politics , 6 (2), 177 - 200 . John Benjamins Publishing Co.Abstract

The article argues that notwithstanding politicians’ desire to conceal from the public parts of the content of their indoor discussions, we nevertheless find ‘traces’ of their closed door debates in their public addresses. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]Copyright of Journal of Language & Politics 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.)

2006
Shenhav, S. (2006). Political narratives and political reality. nternational Political Science Review , 27 (3), 245-262. Publisher's VersionAbstract

This article develops directions of thought for evaluating how faithfully political narratives represent “political reality,” and suggests several strategies for performing this evaluation. Based on a discussion of these strategies it claims that the concept of political narrative can be used by scholars with an entire range of perspectives or “basic views,” and not only by those who adhere to a radical relativism. Studying the role of these basic views in the political domain can also facilitate our understanding of the possible coexistence between different political narratives.

Shenhav, S. (2006). A worthless flock with no shepherd; Bechor Shalom Shitrit's representation-based approach to political crisis resolution. Israel Affairs , 12 (2), 253-267. Publisher's Version
2005
Shenhav, S. R. (2005). Thin and thick narrative analysis: On the question of defining and analyzing political narratives. Narrative Inquiry , 15 (1), 75 - 99 . John Benjamins Publishing Co. Publisher's VersionAbstract
This article focuses on the definition of the concept of political narrative and its implications in terms of analyzing political discourse. Comprised of two complicated concepts, politics and narrative, the definition of political narratives rests upon the meaning given to each concept and upon the interaction between them. The concept discourse may be regarded as political, either because of the thematic elements it addresses, or due to the context in which it arises. The following is a list of strategies for defining the concept of narrative: Minimalist structural definitions; a set of different substrategies or approaches which are based on minimalist definitions, with additional criteria; and the impact of narrative on the audience.

Pages