Dominant narratives, sometimes called dominant cultural narratives, are frequently-repeated stories that are shared in society through various social and cultural institutions.[1] The term is most frequently used in pedagogy, the study of education. Dominant narratives are often discussed in tandem with counternarratives.

This term has been described as an "invisible hand" that guides reality and perceived reality.[2] Dominant culture is defined as the majority cultural practices of a society.[3]

Dominant narrative is similar in some ways to the ideas of metanarrative or grand narrative.

Sociologist Judith Lorber defines and describes "A-category" members as those that occupy the dominant group in different aspects of life.[4]

Dominant narratives are generally characterized as coming from, or being supported by, privileged or powerful groups.[5] According to political scientist Ronald R. Krebs, dominant narratives are maintained through public support because "even those who disagree with their premises typically abstain from publicly challenging them, for fear of being ignored or castigated."[6] Scholars have used critical discourse analysis to study dominant narratives, with the goal of disrupting the narratives.[7] In K–12 economics education in the United States, neoclassical economics is considered a dominant narrative.[8]

According to psychologist Robyn Fivush, counternarratives "use the dominant narrative as a starting point, agreeing on many of the main facts" while changing the subjective perspective.[9]

See also


  1. ^ Rappaport, Julian (2000). "Community Narratives: Tales of Terror and Joy". American Journal of Community Psychology. 28 (1): 1–24. doi:10.1023/a:1005161528817. ISSN 0091-0562.
  2. ^ "Speaking Truth to Power: Understanding the Dominant, Animal-Eating Narrative for Vegan Empowerment and Social Transformation". One Green Planet. 21 January 2013. Retrieved 2015-11-02.
  3. ^ Marshall, Gordon. "Dominant Culture". A Dictionary of Sociology.
  4. ^ Lorber, Judith (2006). "The Social Construction of Gender". Inequality Reader: Contemporary & Foundational Readings in Race, Class, & Gender.
  5. ^ Bacon, Jessica K.; Lalvani, Priya (2019-08-08). "Dominant narratives, subjugated knowledges, and the righting of the story of disability in K-12 curricula". Curriculum Inquiry. 49 (4): 387–404. doi:10.1080/03626784.2019.1656990. ISSN 0362-6784.
  6. ^ Krebs, Ronald R. (2015). "How Dominant Narratives Rise and Fall: Military Conflict, Politics, and the Cold War Consensus". International Organization. 69 (4): 809–845. doi:10.1017/S0020818315000181. ISSN 0020-8183.
  7. ^ Lynskey, Angela Cartwright (2015). "Countering the Dominant Narrative: In Defense of Critical Coursework" (PDF). Educational Foundations.
  8. ^ Shanks, Neil Graham (2018). "A Dominant Narrative in Economics?: Preservice Teachers and Pluralism in a Social Studies Methods Class" (PDF). Journal of Social Science Education. 17 (3).
  9. ^ Fivush, Robyn (2010). "Speaking silence: The social construction of silence in autobiographical and cultural narratives". Memory. 18 (2): 88–98. doi:10.1080/09658210903029404. ISSN 0965-8211 – via