Root Narrative Theory and Character Assassination

Solon Simmons

Abstract

This paper develops a theoretical device for the analysis of the contexts in which character attacks will take place that can help explain why, when, and how they will succeed or fail. This device is called the root narrative profile, which is based on a narrative theory of conflict and politics that provides a way to simplify the variance in political arguments into a manageable number of representative categories. The root narrative profile is based on the idea that character attacks will be successful when they can be represented as an example of the abuse of social power. Accordingly, there are as many types of character attacks as there are forms of social power to abuse. This insight is useful for practitioners who can use the root narrative profile to either protect themselves before relevant audiences or to advance their interests with more effective attacks on their opponents. This paper develops this concept and provides illustrations of its use in a variety of empirical data.

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ISSN: ISSN 2398-5836

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