War Narratives: Framing Our Understanding of the War on Terror


Unlike past American wars, the current war on terror has not been associated with a centrally proffered narrative providing some guidance and orientation for those administering government services under state-of-war conditions. War is as much a cultural endeavor as it is a military undertaking, and the absence of a clear sensemaking narrative was detected in this study of public administrators from three agencies with varying proximity to the conflict. Q-methodology was used to explore the way individuals processed the war narratives put forth by the Bush administration and reported in the media immediately following the September 11 attacks. Though no distinct state-of-war narratives were found among the public administrators in this study, there are clear indications that latent narratives reflecting local political and organizational task environments have emerged.

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Public Administration Review



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