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My relationship to Scarlett O'Hara - Characterising Para-Social Relationships using the Repertory Grid Technique

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Abstract:

One of the striking characteristics of the mass media is that they give the illusion of a face-to-face relationship with the performers, known as para-social relationships. In our paper we empirically investigate the construction of para-social relationships compared to ortho-social relationships by using the method of repertory grids. Two out of the four students surveyed created a construct concerning the fictiveness of the people evaluated. Each did this by only using one construct out of twelve. Two participants did not distinguish the people at all according to their fictiveness explicitly by their constructs. One participant, for example, positioned Scarlett O'Hara very close to her mother in a love-hate relationship indicating that para-social relationships are constructed very similar to ortho-social relationships. The results may be helpful for advertising agencies designing advertisements with celebrities.

Keywords: ADVERTISING; MARKETING; PARA-SOCIAL RELATIONSHIPS; REPERTORY GRID TECHNIQUE; SOCIAL CONSTRUCTIONISM; VIRTUAL COMMUNICATION

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1362/147539209X414371

Publication date: March 1, 2009

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