Archive for August, 2012

Burning Nerds mixer Fri., Aug. 31 2:30-5pm

Friday, August 10th, 2012

It’s that time of year, when large groups of self-professed nerds unite over shared interests in understanding phenomena, large and small. For Burning Nerds who like to mingle in-person, Ashram Galactica is hosting a Burning Nerds mixer on Fri., Aug. 31 2:30-5pm. Ashram Galactica will be located at 8:15 and Edelweiss.

As always, info about Burning Man can be found here.

“Charismatizing the Routine: Storytelling for Meaning and Agency in the Burning Man Organization” now available online and in print at Qualitative Sociology

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

To update a previous post, one of my papers on storytelling and Burning Man is now available online and in print at the peer-reviewed journal Qualitative Sociology. Moreover, a photo of Center Camp Cafe activities at Burning Man appears on the cover of the print copy of that issue!

Charismatizing the Routine: Storytelling for Meaning and Agency in the Burning Man Organization

Katherine K. Chen
Qualitative Sociology
Volume 35, Number 3 (2012), 311-334, DOI: 10.1007/s11133-012-9229-1

Expanding organizations face the routinization of charisma dilemma in which rationalization, or everyday organizing activities, drains meaning and depresses agency. Using an ethnographic study of the organization behind the annual Burning Man event, I show how storytelling can combat disenchantment by promoting consideration of agency and meaning-making. This research demonstrates how storytelling infuses organizational rationality with meaning and agency, thereby “charismatizing the routine.” Through storytelling, people can derive meaning from even the most mundane routines and inspire listeners to imagine possibilities not covered by rules or conventions. Stories also stave off bureaucratic ritualism by clarifying the boundaries between appropriate and inappropriate activities, encouraging a range of actions over coercive restrictions.

Keywords Charisma – Charismatizing the routine – Meaning – Organization – Storytelling

You can also download some of my other academic and general publications and view links here.