POLS Seminar: “An Experimental Analysis of Crisis Narratives: Religious, Political and Scientific Narratives and Frames”, Dr. Zeki Sarigil, Dr. Ayşenur Dal, 12:30Noon February 23 (EN)

POLS TALKS and ARK Workshop announce Seminar:

“An Experimental Analysis of Crisis Narratives: Religious, Political and Scientific Narratives and Frames”

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Zeki Sarigil
Department of Political Science
Bilkent University
Asst. Prof. Dr. Ayşenur Dal
Department of Communication and Design
Bilkent University

In Hybrid Format:
Thursday, February 23, 2023, 12:30 p.m., A-130
To obtain online event details plesae send a message to department.


In electoral authoritarian regimes, the incumbents tend to attribute blame for their policy failures or ineffective governance to external actors such as foreign powers or even to God. This is especially valid for crisis situations such as natural disasters (e.g., earthquake), health crises (e.g., pandemic), and economic catastrophe. Incumbents’ blame-attributing crisis narratives such as conspiracy-based narratives and religious narratives are usually in conflict or tension with more technical and scientific narratives and explanations. Given all these, one might ask how and to what extent do those crisis narratives shape individuals’ perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors? More specifically, are blame-attributing narratives (e.g., political/conspiracy narratives and religious narratives) more or less persuasive and effective than scientific narratives? It is interesting that although several crisis narratives and frames are quite widespread across many authoritarian socio-political settings, we do not have sufficient research on the comparative impact of those narratives on individuals, especially with respect to the non-Western settings. Thus, this study focuses on four cases of crises (i.e., earthquake, global warming, pandemic, and economic hardships) and analyzes the differential impact of religious, political, and scientific narratives and frames about each of them on individuals’ perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors concerning those crises within the Turkish context. For that purpose, the study utilizes original data derived from seven pre-survey focus groups conducted in seven different regions of Turkey during April-July 2022. In addition, to assess the causal impact of the narratives, we conducted a nationwide face-to-face survey experiment during October-December 2022 period with a nationally representative sample of 3,500 individuals. The pre-registered survey experiment utilizes a 4×4 factorial design (four types of crises x three unique narratives and a control group). The research project is funded by TUBITAK.

Author Info:

Zeki Sarigil
Zeki Sarigil is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Bilkent University (Ankara, Turkey). He received his PhD from the Department of Political Science of University of Pittsburgh. He has published articles in such journals as European Political Science Review, European Sociological Review, Journal of Peace Research, European Journal of International Relations, Nations and Nationalism, Armed Forces & Society, and South European Society and Politics. Dr. Sarigil has received scholarships, grants and awards from various institutions, including Fulbright, TUBITAK and the Science Academy of Turkey. He spent the 2014-2015 academic year at Princeton University as Fulbright Visiting Scholar. He is also the author of the following books: 1) “How Informal Institutions Matter: Evidence from Turkey” (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2023); 2) “Ethnic Boundaries in Turkish Politics: The Secular Kurdish Movement and Islam” (New York: New York University Press, 2018).

Ayşenur Dal
Ayşenur Dal is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Communication and Design at Bilkent University. She received her PhD in Communication from The Ohio State University in 2018. Her research focuses on the social-psychological determinants of online political activities and public opinion in restricted information environments. Dr. Dal’s work has previously appeared in New Media & Society, Social Media+Society, Political Behavior, Communication Research, Human Communication Research, International Journal of Communication, Social Science Quarterly and The Oxford Handbook of Social Movements.