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Sociological vs Psychological Storytelling

This Scientific American article by Zeynep Tufekci is more than an essay about one TV show with dragons. He uses fan reactions to the final season of Game of Thrones, to explore the difference between sociological and psychological storytelling, and how this perspective is important not just in fiction, but also that “our inability to understand and tell sociological stories is one of the key reasons we’re struggling with how to respond to the historic technological transition we’re currently experiencing with digital technology and machine intelligence.”

When Game of Thrones began its run, it was based on the books by George R.R. Martin “who seemed to specialize in having characters evolve in response to the broader institutional settings, incentives and norms that surround them.” In contrast, when the series outran the books, the showrunners David Benioff and D. B. Weiss reverted to the typical Hollywood method of using major players as hooks to hold viewers.

According to Zeynep Tufekci, “This is an important shift to dissect because whether we tell our stories primarily from a sociological or psychological point of view has great consequences for how we deal with our world and the problems we encounter.”

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