Measuring centrality in film narratives using dynamic character interaction networks

Pete Jones, Eithne Quinn, Johan Koskinen

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The tools of social network analysis offer a promising framework for studying fictional texts and the relational activity of the characters therein. The goal of this paper is to offer both a conceptual refinement of the project of measuring the centrality of characters within narratives using network tools, as well as the proposal of a novel measure with which to do so. Conceptually, we argue that as questions of time, order and sequence are central in narratives, measures of characters’ narrative importance should be based on dynamic network representations which respect the time-ordering of narrative events. We suggest a directed dynamic measure of relative character importance based on character interactions and illustrate it through an examination of gender in the 2015 film Star Wars: The Force Awakens. We find that the measure helps illuminate important narrative dynamics which cannot be captured by static measures, and presents a platform on which future character network research can productively build.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSocial Networks
Early online date29 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020


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