Replicate, Modify, Challenge: The Relationships between Author-as-Consumer and Author-as-Producer in Popular Culture Genres

By Pauline Rafferty.

Published by The International Journal of the Book

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Raymond Williams writes “the recognition of the relation of a collective mode and an individual object …is a recognition of related practices. That is to say, the irreducibly individual projects that particular works are, may come in experience and in analysis to show resemblances which allow us to group them into collective modes” (Williams in Higgins, 2001, 179). This paper takes the notion of cultural production as related practices as a starting point for an exploration of the formation of popular culture genres using Northern Irish Troubles fiction as a case study.
Genres are seen as being constructed in and through the writings of individual authors who use the codes and conventions of the genre and perpetuate the genre, but who also contribute to modifying and changing the genre. The method rests on the view that in the area of popular culture producers of generic novels are themselves, at some level, already consumers of the generic novels. In popular culture consumption is always a pre-requisite of production and the writers of popular culture novels are always, at some level, the readers of popular culture novels. The project sees existing popular culture novels, and the generic codes and conventions articulated in and through them, as underpinning the production of new popular culture novels and offers a method to map out material instances of intertextuality.
Three categories are used to describe the relationship of specific novels to other novels in the same generic spectrum. These categories, which are based on a reinterpretation of Stuart Hall’s encoding/decoding model, are replication, modification and challenge.

Keywords: Popular Culture, Genre Formation, Cultural Theory, Cultural Production and Consumption

International Journal of the Book, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp.77-84. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 534.702KB).

Dr. Pauline Rafferty

Senior Lecturer, Department of Information Studies, Aberystwyth University, Aberystwyth, UK

Dr. Rafferty is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Information Studies, Aberystwyth University. Her research and scholarly interests are in the areas of image analysis, retrieval and indexing, including the indexing of digitised images; library classification theory and history; and critical communication and information studies. She is also interested in structuralist and semiotic approaches to modelling culture as ‘human sciences’. Before joining Aberystwyth in January 2007, Dr. Rafferty taught in the Department of Information Science, City University, London, and in the School of Information Studies and Department of Media and Communication at the University of Central England, Birmingham.

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