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Symbolic Convergence Theory

 

Explanations > Theories > Symbolic Convergence Theory

Description | Research | Example | So What? | See also | References 

 

Description

We seek 'communities of agreement', people who have the same values as us, and in doing so merge our meanings of events. In this way, groups release tensions through stories that spread in shared 'fantasy themes' that explain things they see, hear and experience.

Research

Bormann (1985) found that a number of communities of voters shared different 'dramatizations' that encapsulated different perceptions of political campaigns that become reliable predictors of how they voted. Reporters also had fantasy stories about their role in 'digging out the truth'.

Example

Political campaign fantasy themes include the 'front runner' who has numerous advantages, a boxing analogy where there are 'rounds' and a 'knockout blow', and 'crucial blunder' where the person

So What?

Using it

If you understand the stories that groups of people are sharing, then you can speak to those stories, turning them to your advantage.

Defending

When outside people talk to you in the special language you use with a group of friends, wonder why. Listen to yourself and understand your own themes and wonder if they have heard the deeper patterns.

See also

Storytelling

References

Bormann (1985)

 

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