Graduate Project


Erosion Narratives: Applying the Narrative Policy Framework to Louisiana's Coastal Erosion Narrative Public Deposited

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  • South Louisiana has a major coastal erosion problem, exposing coastal communities to storm surge. The state is spending billions of dollars on projects that are not expected to last beyond 20 years. Research indicates that predominate stories influence problem definitions and solutions. Colten (2017) identified a shift in Louisiana's coastal erosion story between congressional meetings in 1990 and 1999. According to the author, the story shifted from coastal erosion being caused by sediment starvation and canal excavation to predominately sediment starvation. He argues such a narrative shift has occurred for the coastal master plan to gain broader acceptance from the petroleum industry. Defining the problem as a problem of canal excavation characterizes canal excavators as a villain, but defining the problem as a problem of sediment starvation shifts blame elsewhere. The Narrative Policy Framework (NPF) provides a systematic approach to measuring changes in policy narratives. This research utilizes the NPF to answer if there was a shift in the coastal erosion narrative in Louisiana and considers the implications. Content analyses of the congressional meetings mentioned above was performed. No significant change in villainization or victimization of the petroleum industry is found, and there is no significant change in the stated cause of erosion. In terms of theory, this study adds to the NPF literature by inductively identifying concepts that I argue will help generally calibrate the framework to complex policy environments.
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