Drawing on Victor Turner's dramaturgical approach to crises, and partly from Pierre Bourdieu's theory of symbolic capital, the essay aims to outline a cultural model of how scissions in political parties take place. The discussion is focused mainly on the role played by symbolism in the creation of the Partito dei Comunisti Italiani in the fall of 1998. Political conflict, in this case, can be regarded as a social drama in which actors develop both narrative and practical strategies of shaping and interpreting political reality. The framing of events was crucial in the split, as well as the ritual production of the transition from one organisation to another; the symbolic use of past communist history seems to have been equally important. It emerges that crises in political parties can be better studied if they are considered as dramatic processes in which the organisation's culture is displayed, processed and re-defined.