Symbolic Convergence in Gossip Girl: The Fantasy of the “In Crowd”

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From high school girls desperately trying to be one of cool kids in school to corporate warriors rubbing elbows for that next promotion, nearly everyone has fantasized about being a part of the “in crowd”. What is it that makes the bonds and barriers of “in crowd” so unbreakable? Through sharing stories and reaching conclusions through discussion of those stories, members of small groups develop a common bond that shapes their social reality. An example of this bond is prominent in the CW’s hit show, Gossip Girl, which focuses on the world of high society elite at a private high school on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, New York. Circumstances in Gossip Girl show how concepts in symbolic convergence describe the formation of group bonds …show more content…
28). The stories which create the fantasy typically consist of “common or related content”, known as a fantasy theme (Beebe & Masterson, 2009, p. 44). As members of a small group share stories or experiences with other group members, adherence to the fantasy theme creates “a string of connected stories that revolve around a common theme.” Bormann calls this set of stories a fantasy chain (Beebe & Masterson, 2009, p.42-44). As a fantasy theme develops, is repeated, and flourishes it changes the group members’ social reality. Bormann describes such a change as a rhetorical vision. It is important to note that a group may have more than one rhetorical vision and they can be reinforced through recurring media messages or other influences outside the context of the small group itself (Griffin, 2009, p. 27-29).
Simply put, symbolic convergence occurs in groups through the sharing of stories. Group members interpret these stories through a common fantasy. Stories with a similar topic are said to make up the fantasy theme. A fantasy theme appears when group members respond to, rather than dismiss, a fantasy creating a fantasy chain reaction. Use of the fantasy by group members to explain, justify, or understand situations outside the group shows the group’s rhetorical vision.
Summary of Gossip Girl
Based on Stephanie Savage’s book series of the same title, Gossip Girl follows the “in-crowd” at an elite
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