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Granfalloons

 

Explanations > Groups > Granfalloons

Description | Discussion | See also

 

Description

A 'Granfalloon' is a group of people whose cohesive purpose has little or no real meaning, yet whose members feel superior in some way.

Granfalloons may have any or all of the following:

  • Rituals and symbols, such as initiation rites, secret handshakes, mystical statues.
  • Jargon and beliefs that only in-group people understand, such as alien language and forecasts.
  • Shared goals, such as to be saved when the Earth explodes or to annihilate an enemy.
  • Shared feelings, such as excitement about alien visits or fear of an enemy.
  • Specialized information, such as how the government is covering up knowledge of alien landings.
  • Real or imagined enemies, such as government agents or anyone who criticizes the group.

Discussion

Science fiction writer Kurt Vonnegut defined the term 'granfalloon', as a proud and meaningless association of human beings.

When people are thrown together they tend to form a group and so build boundaries, rules and so on. Henri Tajfel brought a random set of people into his lab, flipped a coin, and randomly assigned them as either Xs or Ws. By the end of the study, total strangers were acting as if those in their granfalloon were their close kin and those in the other group were their worst enemies.

See also

Theories about groups

 

 

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