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The Culture Hack Curriculum

Mapping narrative communities

In the previous video, we understood how attention, network and power help us understand the narrative communities in the narrative space. metaphors

The next step is for us to understand what the important narrative communities are saying. We do this by analyzing them as narrative forms. In other words, we take the messages that we see and reveal the metaphors, logics and frames underneath them through narrative/linguistic analysis (see how to do this in longer notes).

Once we understand the frames for each narrative community of interest, we can map them in a way that is useful for our point of view.  We use the Knowledge System Framework to do this.

Note: you are free to adapt the axes to fit with your own goals (outlined in the POV), but the system-knowledge framework is a good back up or can provide inspiration.

This framework has two axes, the knowledge axis illustrates how these communities make sense of the world. For example, we can differentiate between an academic community and an activist community. The system axis illustrates their relationship to the dominant operating system. Are they reproducing systems of oppression? seeking alternatives? or actively dismantling these systems?


Once we have mapped our narrative communities of interest (see communities A, B, C, D) on this framework (or another appropriate framework) we can start to develop a strategy for intervention. We are particularly interested in communities that are empathetic to our cause or could be allies. However we do not exclude those communities that we could engage in a generative dialogue. 

Once we understand this, we can formulate our narrative objectives by identifying the communities we want to engage and the direction we want to shift them. 

Ask yourself: What do you want to shift in this narrative space related to your POV?   We can answer this question by looking at three aspects of the narrative space:

  1.  Based on the mapping of narrative communities in the narrative space, we see the following critical insights:

  1. Therefore we will engage the following narrative communities:

  1. By taking these narrative actions:

Further activity: Mapping your Narrative Frames

Once we have identified our communities and know the direction we want to shift the space, we have the information we need to reframe the narratives we want to hack. 

If you want to go even deeper, you can map your frames onto the knowledge-system axes below.

Figure 3: Mapping Narrative Frames onto the Knowledge System Framework

Remember that with great culture hacks come great responsibility.


  1.  Narrative forms are complex, adaptive, evolutionary systems. They are alive. They are born, can evolve, mutate, terminate and converge with other narrative forms within a specific environment or cultural context. Narrative forms drive how we collectively make sense of our reality.
  2.  Metaphors are comparisons between two things, so we can understand one thing in terms of another.
  3. Frames are largely subconscious, narrative structures which allow us to immediately make sense of the world. Read more.
  4. Take a look at an example of an adapted framework in the Territories of Transition report (p.26).
  5. Understand the System-Knowledge framework in more depth by exploring the longer notes.