Politics and Insights

imagesAnyone who has read Kurt Vonnegut’s “Cat’s Cradle” will know what a granfalloon is. The University of Chicago awarded Vonnegut a Master’s in anthropology for this work of satire, irony, black humor and parody. The term has since been adopted by market researchers and social scientists.

A granfalloon is a group of people who affect a proud shared identity or some cohesive purpose, but whose mutual association is actually meaningless – associations and societies based on a shared but ultimately fabricated premise. Yet members often feel superior in some way to others. Granfalloons are powerful propaganda devices because they are easy to create and, once established, the granfalloon defines social reality and demarcates and maintains social identities.

Like “strivers”, “tax payers” and “hard working families.” Exclusive language and dominant, prejudiced narrative is an effective means of social control since it can be used to frame the interpretation of events. The…

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