A Narrative Approach to Market Category Emergence

Despite increasing attention to the role of language in market category emergence, there is a paucity of knowledge about how communicative processes around de novo categories lead to consensus about category meanings and boundaries, or fail to do so. To address this theoretical conundrum, we develop a process model that elucidates the role of narratives and storytelling in the creation of consensus in such settings. The process begins with the articulation of material-semiotic connections in the form of antenarratives. Their take-off depends on the resonance of antenarratives among narrative audiences. Through narrative repetition specific prototype narratives take form, which may become inflated into hyperbolic narratives, or be challenged by counternarratives. Narrative repetition lays the ground for various types of consensus, ranging from clear-cut consensus, to dissonance, to more extreme forms of hypes and stigmatization. The paper contributes by elaborating the formation of initial meaning structures through antenarratives, their resonance, and narrative repetition, and thus explicates the process by which consensus may emerge, and its varying forms. Our narrative process model offers a missing integrative piece to understand how actors produce and disseminate shared meaning systems around emerging de novo categories.

Should you want to attend this talk, please register at: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1QSjTcu-4qHK7P3iUQqB47Y4oY5pSmAU-dmeSLF5OwmE by Tuesday 21st noon. We will order a free sandwich for you (please mention any dietary preference) and will send you a copy of the paper.