Coming Together and Apart While Reading Popular Cultural Texts: Identities in Media Reception

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Author: Ewa Glapka, University of the Free State, South Africa
Email: ewaglapka_ev@wp.pl, glapkae@ufs.ac.za
Published: September 2014
https://doi.org/10.22492/ijah.2.1.01

Citation: Glapka, E. (2014). Coming Together and Apart While Reading Popular Cultural Texts: Identities in Media Reception. IAFOR Journal of Arts & Humanities, 2(1). https://doi.org/10.22492/ijah.2.1.01


Abstract

Although reading is popularly considered to be a solitary experience, in linguistics and literature studies the social nature of reading has been widely recognized. Accordingly, it is posited here that due to their inherently interactive and interpersonal character, media texts cannot be related to other than intersubjectively. Based on data gathered during research on teenage media reception, this article demonstrates that the "imagined communities" (Anderson, 1991) constructed in media discourse provoke in readers a sense of belonging and sharing a specific identity, and that the trajectories of readers’ emotional involvement also includes alienation from the textually constituted communities. The same dynamic of coming closer and away concerns the recipients’ significant others to whom they relate intertextually in media discourse. In analyzing these issues, this study shows the social and psychological complexity of media consumption as well as the research value of exploring it for cultural and social studies.

Keywords

identity, media, popular culture, symbolic communities, transdisciplinarity