Publications

2014
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.)

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.

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