we care about your voice
Explore the Territory:
Unfortunately our territory map does not currently work on mobile devices, please visit our site on a computer. You can also visit our youtube channel here to watch a portion of the research from the map.
Are you with the University?
We are students and alumni from the University.
You do not represent the University?
We represent the University insofar as we are students, but we are not employees of the Temple Office of Strategic Communications.
What is this project about?
We are investigating the relationship between Temple University and the surrounding neighborhood, and have been speaking with many people about the proposed football stadium as a way to access the relationship.
Why the role playing?
We think role playing may shed light on the way in which we understand the conflict. We are particularly interested in role playing as the University or President Richard Englert, because we find the University hard to empathize with. We think this difficulty and alienation stems from the imbalance of power between the University and the surrounding community.
Why did StratComm Group spend so much time discussing their in-group conflicts; how is that relevant to the Temple/Neighborhood relationship?
We at StratComm Group believe in the theory of parallel process, which teaches us that large scale social dynamics tend to get replicated at every level of the subsystem, including personal relationships. We expected, therefore, that dynamics present in the relationship between the school and the neighborhood might show up within the relationships between StratComm Group members.
Indeed, as the StratComm project progressed, we saw that two StratComm Group members who strongly, consistently, and openly identified with Temple gradually claimed greater power and authority in the group, and as the cohesion of the group splintered, these two increasingly ignored the needs of their collaborators. As a result, the group split apart, mirroring the split between Temple and the neighborhood.
Even when only two group members remained, the one most insistent on her identification with Temple continued to claim authority over the project, ignoring the needs of her last remaining collaborator. The resulting conflict between these last remaining collaborators nearly led them to call off the project.
Why did StratComm Group avoid talking with residents for almost the entire duration of the project?
We suspect many reasons. For one thing, we suspect that Temple’s failure to repair relations with neighbors results in intense feelings of shame for anyone affiliated with Temple who chooses to empathize with Temple’s neighbors. We think that part of the intensity of this shame may derive from Temple's failure to publicly account for their role in the broken relationships; to name and act on their own system-wide guilt and desire for reconciliation. As a result, when StratComm Group members attempt to take on the challenge of repairing relationships on their own, they are met with a mountain of shame and largely fail to go about their mission.
Do you feel like you managed to successfully model the way you think the University should communicate with its neighbors?
No. But we hope that our efforts and our failures may offer insight.
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