Julia Jakob
“Narrative Rationality” in User-Generated Political Debate

71th Annual International Communication Association Conference Preconference: Political Communication PhD Student Preconference, (virtual conference), May 27th, 2021

Deliberative theory traditionally considers the exchange of rational arguments to be at the heart of public debate. More inclusive theoretical concepts of deliberation, however, have started to also acknowledge personal storytelling based on individual experiences, values and emotions as support for publicly voiced opinions. The present study argues that rational argumentation and personal storytelling are no opposites in public deliberation, and that the point of a personal narrative in user-generated discussions is usually a rational justification. It provides an inductive classification of the forms of "narrative rationality" that occur in selected online news user comments from the websites of nine mainstream news media outlets from Australia, the United States, Germany and Switzerland