Comparisons as a discursive tool: shaping megaproject narratives in the United Kingdom

Natalya Sergeeva*, Johan Ninan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
18 Downloads (Pure)


The mobilization of narratives is essential in integrating people and constructing identities that help in navigating complexity, uncertainty, and conflictuality. This paper explores how comparisons are used as a discursive tool to shape narratives and bring about changes in policy and society, using the High Speed Two megaproject in the UK as a case study. We examine the comparisons that promoters and protesters employ in an organizational setting. In particular, we explore how the narratives that result from these comparisons—on questions including the need for the megaproject, the benefits of the megaproject, alternatives to the megaproject, and issues of noise, sustainability, compensation, and branding—help their efforts to organize. The research highlights how comparisons serve as an important cue in discourse and how different forms of comparison can help to create narratives and shape policy outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-211
Number of pages15
JournalPolicy and Society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • narratives,
  • comparisons
  • organizing
  • megaprojects
  • policy outcomes

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