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Narrative PoliticsStories and Collective Action$
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Frederick W. Mayer

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199324460

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199324460.001.0001

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Constructing the Collective Good

Constructing the Collective Good

(p.101) Chapter 6 Constructing the Collective Good
Narrative Politics

Frederick W. Mayer

Oxford University Press

Usually, theories of collective action assume the existence of a collective good, but before a community can act collectively, its members must share a common interest in some end. Often, the task is to construct the collective good. Shared stories have such power: if stories can construct individual interests, commonly held stories can create common interests. The question is what determines when a single story will capture the minds of the community. That depends on several factors, among them alignment with self-interest, trust in the storyteller, and frequency of the telling, but also resonance with those widely held narratives a community already holds in mind, the narratives of culture.

Keywords:   culture, collective action, community, interests, collective good

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