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Quotidian Integration and Social Positioning of Pulp Novels (Heftromane) and Television Series

Sub-Project 6

This project investigates patterns through which users integrate serial narratives into daily practices, fan communities, and other fields of action close to everyday life. It pays special attention to the sign-character of objects and practices of popular seriality: To what extent are activities and things indicators of "taste"? How are they employed as symbolic means of social positioning?

Within the framework of comparative ethnographic studies, we examine the dynamics that structure the ways consumers experience popular series and, at the same time, use them to position themselves in their everyday relations to others. Two case studies investigate these questions: a pulp novel series (Perry Rhodan) and a television program (Tatort). The project investigates the practices, enactments, perceptions, and evaluations of seriality by the involved actors. We compare systematically: How are the aforementioned series used, in combination with which other cultural activities and in what contexts? How do various types of users relate to various forms of seriality, and how do they integrate them into their daily lives? What practical and discursive strategies of (de)legitimation are pursued? How is seriality linked to institutionalization and canonization (reader and viewer groups, fan culture)?

In the larger context of the Research Unit, this project illuminates seriality as a social practice that can take on different forms in different cultural fields. In so doing, the project sheds light on aspects of social and cultural distinction achieved through the individual use of series or through activities in series-related communities.


Research Associates: