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Fantasy-Theme Criticism

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Taylor Stern

on 12 November 2013

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Transcript of Fantasy-Theme Criticism

Fantasy-Theme Criticism
Who developed this method?
The fantasy-theme method of rhetorical criticism was created by Ernest G. Bormann and is designed to provide insights into the shared worldview of groups.

Robert Bales discovered the process of group fantasizing or dramatizing as a type of communication that occurs in groups. Bormann extended his work into a theory (symbolic convergnce theory) and a method (fantasy-theme criticism)
First, what is Symbolic Convergence Theory?
Based on two major assumptions:
1. Communication creates reality.
Reality is not fixed, but changes as our symbols for talking about it change.
2. Symbols not only create reality for individuals but that individuals' meanings for symbols can converge to create a shared reality or community consciousness.
In other words, sharing fantasies or symbols creates convergence.
Convergence refers to the way two or more private symbolic worlds incline towards each other, come more closely together or even overlap during certain processes of communication
Ernest G. Bormann
By:Taylor Stern and Caleb Smith
Fantasies are most commonly expressed through Dramatization which involves:
Incorporation of inside jokes
Expression of feelings

This symbolic language and expression creates a shared meaning and connection within the group that outsiders may not understand
How do you use Fantasy-theme Criticism?
Step 1:Select an artifact
Step 2: Analyze the artifact
Step 3: Formulate a research question
Step 4: Writing the essay
Selecting the artifact
Symbolic Convergence Theory must occur within the artifact. Any popular artifact such as an advertisement, song, book, or film is likely to show evidence of convergence.
An artifact produced by a major public figure such as a politician or talk show host will show symbolic convergence as well.
Analyzing the Artifact
2 Steps:

1. Coding the artifact for setting, character, and action themes.
2. Constructing the rhetorical visions from the fantasy theme.
Formulating a research question
Various questions are acceptable when formulating your question. One may ask about strategies used to accomplish specific objectives, the kinds of messages being communicated through the artifact, the functions of the message, implications of the message, or even the social controversies the artifact brings to the surface.
Writing the essay
5 Major Components of your essay:

1.Introduction- This is where you address the research question
2.Describe the artifact and it's context
3. Describe the method of criticism (Fantasy-Theme analysis)
4. Report findings of analysis (answer reseacrh question)
5. Discuss your artifacts value in the context of fantasy-theme criticism.

What happens when the whole group ENTHUSIASTICALLY embraces dramatizing messages?
Fantasy- is the creative and imaginative shared interpretation
of events that fulfills a groups psychological or rhetorical needs.
How do small in-group shared meanings create
a known rhetorical vision that expands globally?
"Fantasies that begin in small groups are often worked into public speeches, and become picked up by mass media and become spread out across the larger public."
Robert Bales on Fantasy:
The tempo of the conversation would pick up. People would grow excited, interrupt one another, blush, laugh, forget their self-consciousness. The tone of the meeting, often quiet and tense immediately prior to the dramatizing, would become lively, animated, boisterous..."
Try Out The Method
Within your groups identify the following:

What is the artifact from? (Song, book, advertisement, etc.)?

In what way does symbolic convergence occur between you the characters?

Now code the artifact:
Action themes-

What was the rhetorical vision from the fantasy theme?

Foss, S. K. (2009). Rhetorical criticism: Exploration and practice (4th ed.). Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland Press.
Ode to the sexless innkeeper [Web]. (2009). Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NUot1w9t_0
Shields, D. National Forensics Organization. Fantasy Theme Anaylisis in Competitive Rhetorical Criticism.
Young, D. (1998, March). Bormann's symbolic convergence theory. Retrieved from http://www.colorado.edu/communication/meta-discourses/Papers/App_Papers/Young.htm
Knowledge Quiz
1. What are the two assumptions of Symbolic Convergence Theory?

2. What kinds of artifacts are best for fantasy themed rhetoric?

3. Who created the method?

4. What does dramatization include?

5. What is fantasy?
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