In this essay we examine the core narratives and rhetorical techniques that extremist groups use to explain their worldview. We show that extremists in North America as well as throughout the world, regardless of their political or religious background, demonstrate great similarities in their construction and deployment of narratives. We also identify key features of what we call “the root war metaphor” that characterizes extremist narratives and apply a schema for analyzing “narrative trajectories” to suggest a relationship between these extremist narratives and acts of violence. What we can learn from shared narrative elements among extremist groups may help answer questions about the relationship of words to violence as well as speculate about how core narratives may be used to construct more compelling stories to promote social justice.
Once upon a time, in a time not so long ago, ...
This narrative explores the idea of “narrative seduction.” Though an autoethnographic account the author shows how he learned to read and think about the masculine qualities of prose associated with “writing like a man” in the academy, and how this insight led him to locate his ethnographic voice in opposition to it. The narrative includes some stylistic observations about the author’s own “seductive” prose and its relationship to intimate listening.
John Van Maanen’s account of the evolution of ethnographic narratives provided far more than insight about classic anthropological and sociological texts. By encouraging qualitative researchers to focus on the rhetorical and political qualities of voice, style, authority, and representations of selves and others, he exposed the often hidden assumptions built into fieldwork and scholarship. It is not too much to say that no other single text has so forcefully shaped and inspired our understanding of qualitative research and narrative writing across the social sciences. Van Maanen’s work inspired two cross-disciplinary projects.