Tracking slander: listening to texts
Lars-Eric Jönsson (Lund University)
Paper short abstract:
The aim with the paper is to reflect over how slandering and gossiping might be investigated in written sources. The paper presents two cases from royal media scandals, journalism, rumours and street slandering. The investigation comprices the late 19th century to the early 21st.
Paper long abstract:
This paper will deal with methodology, with regard to the question of what methods and actions are available to capture the acutely ephemeral for posterity and how this may be executed. The aim with the paper is to reflect over how slandering and gossiping might be investigated in archives and written sources. The paper presents two cases from royal media scandals, journalism, rumours and street slandering. The chosen scandals have Swedish kings and forbidden sexuality in centre of focus. The first scandal took place in the late 19th century, the second in the early 21st century. Via the concept of media system we will track the spoken word through archived texts such as social media forums, novels, newspaper articles, singing chapbooks and poetry. We will open a methodological discussion and connect to Carlo Ginzburg's concept of clues. We are also inspired by Robert Darntons way of listening to texts and his claim that no history of communication and mass media can be executed without taking the oral word into account. As a part of our methodological approach, we will present archive work as a process of dwelling; how the work in itself depends upon a feeling of at-homeness, continuity and community. Archive work raises feelings of frustration, even despair sometimes, but it is also a place for curiosity, where the researcher gets lost, in a positive sense, and can experience flow. During our work, we have become sensitive to these experiences, as specific qualities of archive environments.
Dwelling in the cultural archives I: traces, experiences and meanings