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SIEF2013 11th Congress: Tartu, Estonia.
30 June - 4 July, 2013

SIEF2013: Circulation

Tartu, Estonia; 30th June - 4th July


Medial seriality and cultural circulation

Location Lossi 3, 427
Date and Start Time 01 July, 2013 at 10:30


Christine Hämmerling (University of Zurich) email
Regina F. Bendix (Georg-August-Universität Göttingen) email
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Short Abstract

Under the heading "popular seriality", the panel explores keyterms such as habitus, tradition, innovation or cyclicality through the lens of the production as well as the reception and appropriation of serial narrations and imaginaries between cultural industries and everyday life.

Long Abstract

The term "popular seriality" refers to the growing production and sale of serialized forms of popular entertainment to equally growing audiences. Serialization, akin to circulation, stresses the regular, the known and habitual. But while the image of the circle may emphasize stability, repetition and timelessness, the spiral, as an image of the serial, highlights movement, innovation and change. Popular seriality offers an important interface for (re-)conceptualizing ethnological and folkloristic keyterms and problems such as tradition and habitus, cultural (re-)production and consumption, authorship and communal creation, immaterial and material dimensions of culture, and the impact of industrial production on cultural creativity and circulation.

Drawing from the interdisciplinary research field concerned with popular seriality, the panel seeks to explore issues such as the linearity of tradition vis-à-vis the cyclicality of serial contents, the materialization of serial imaginaries through fan practices, the cultural transformation of serial commodities, and the ebb and flow of serial afflictions in cycles of innovation and habituation. Such conceptual questions will be focused through the lens of serial narration, reception, and the media and technologies facilitating them (comics, novels, tv-series, digital games, etc.).

We welcome theoretical contributions and case studies on reader/viewer/player practices as well as new perspectives on the serialization of everyday life that is organized along serial reception, comparative examinations across time or place, or intertextual and intermedial referencing which add to the sense of circulating topics and stories.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.


Spiral democracy: Anthony Trollope's prosaics of reform

Author: Dorothy Noyes (Ohio State University)  email

Short Abstract

Political reform in Victorian England was conceived as a spiral progression, both thematized and enacted in the procedures of serial fiction. Trollope's novels iterate a process in which an outsider's exemplary gesture, amplified by the press, pushes against an inherited plot to widen its arc.

Long Abstract

In Victorian England, serial fiction and parliamentary procedure played interacting roles in democratic reform. The first influenced the ethos of civil society by provoking and sustaining conversation. The second negotiated the interests represented in the political sphere. Fiction was broader in reach, legislation more decisive in impact. Popular novelists modelled progress as iterative re-formation, a gradual amplification of the possible.

Anthony Trollope's novels of liberal reform flesh out the most schematic conventions of English serial fiction with famously humdrum and increasingly harsh realism. The Barsetshire and Palliser series (1855-67, 1864-79) address the institutional reform of church and Parliament as well as the larger sweep of social change that opens up the landed elite in the period surrounding the Second Reform Act.

Trollope repeatedly recasts an experiment in which an outsider's exemplary gesture, amplified by gossip and the press, pushes against an inherited plot to widen its arc. Female, poor, in trade, Irish, or Jewish, these adventurers sometimes maintain their autonomy and defeat the normative happy ending. More usually the establishment incorporates the resistant element, but is changed in the process. The reciprocity between drawing room and House of Commons reflects Trollope's own career and that of his negative exemplar, Benjamin Disraeli.

This model of spiral reform--invigorated by newcomers, stabilized by tradition--reaches its limit in Trollope's last novels, which portray the triumph of commercial interests. The circulation of capital now exceeds society's interactional capacity to hold it in check. The serial novel's capacity for modelling becomes likewise inadequate.

Doing gender in crossmedia serial narratives

Author: Maria Sulimma (Georg-August-Universität Göttingen)  email

Short Abstract

This presentation is interested in constructions of gender in the interaction of two texts of different media (one of which is a tv serial) that “contain” the same narrative/hyperdiegesis. Seriality functions as underlying principle for the “Doing Gender” as well the ongoing process between the texts.

Long Abstract

This presentation is interested in the "relationship", "conversation" or "competition" between two serial texts of different media (i.e. comic and television series, game and television series, novel and television series) that "contain" the same narrative, or rather a hyperdiegesis (Matt Hills).

Seriality is a central characteristic of this relationship and enables or forces one text to react to developments of plots, characters or the storyworld of the other. The relationship is not a fixed configuration - a source text and an adaptation - but an ongoing process in which both texts participate in and occupy different positions: imitating, supplementing, contrasting or contradicting/competing with another.

A helpful framework to approach this crossmedial hyperdiegesis is Henry Jenkins' concept of Transmedia Storytelling "a process where integral elements of a fiction get dispersed systematically across multiple delivery channels for the purpose of creating a unified and coordinated entertainment experience. Ideally, each medium makes its own unique contribution to the unfolding of the story" (Jenkins 2011).

As gender can also be thought of in terms of seriality (Iris Marion Young, Judith Butler), an analysis of its' negotiations in crossmedia narratives gives insight into their serial interaction. The presentation will focus on the following questions: How do serial narratives establish gender as a repeated/varied performance and a means of dynamic characterization? Which potential do conceptualizations of gender as series/connections of the concepts gender and seriality have for the analysis of narratives? How does a remediating of narratives continue or disrupt performances of gender?

Communal series-watching turned serial event

Author: Christine Hämmerling (University of Zurich)  email

Short Abstract

In this paper, I compare viewer’s usage of two serialized television programs – a reality show and a crime series – by describing the different strategies that its viewers employ to get the most out of the experience of watching; strategies that have become a routine themselves.

Long Abstract

What Gerhard Schulze called "Erlebnisgesellschaft",the longing to experience your life as being full of unique events, is of increasing importance not only in the realm of tourism but also in daily life. Everyday life is structured not only by work or school. People also freely submit to structures such as television scheduling.

In this paper, I compare viewer's usage of two rather different television programs - the reality show "Germany's Next Topmodel" and the crime series "Tatort" by describing the different strategies that viewers of these two serial formats employ to get the most out of the experience of watching. These strategies have become a routine themselves.

Both the crime series and the serialized reality show are aired weekly. Around both of them, a culture of communal watching has developed - viewing with friends at home as well as on a big screen in bars. Drawing from participant observation of viewing habits in bars and in people's homes as well as from interviews, I argue that these practices can be characterized not only as circular routines but also as serial practices of innovation and improvement of the viewing event. As different as these two programs are structured narratively, their seriality induces similar, competitive practices with regard to how eventful the TV-night will turn out to be: Can the food provided reach up to the dish of last time? Is it more comfy with the new sofa? Does taking photos of each other and dressing up help making this watching situation more special?

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.