Archive for 2018

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[ecrea] Interactions: Studies in Communication & Culture 9.2

Tue Aug 28 18:56:44 GMT 2018

Intellect is excited to announce that /Interactions: Studies in Communication & Culture 9.2/ is now available online! For more information about the issue, click here >>

This is a special issue entitled 'Autobiography 2.0 and Quick Media Life Writing'.

_*Article list*_

*Introduction: Autobiography 2.0 and quick media life writing*

Authors: May Friedman And Silvia Schultermandl
Page Start: 143

This special issue brings together research on the self-in-relation from both a narratological angle and from the perspective of gender studies, queer theory, postcolonial and transnational studies. The articles featured here discuss new and shifting understandings of how we define life writing practices differently in an age of online expressions in various verbal and visual forms, and through the lens of family, broadly defined. In this introduction, we establish the concept of ‘autobiography 2.0’ as a particular practice of life writing that modulates identity and kinship through the use of digital media. This introduction addresses key questions we were asking ourselves and the individual contributors as we set out to theorize the impact of social media and the mediation of family and kinship ties on life writing genres: How is relationality mediated differently in an online context and how does this impact our ideas about family and kinship? What issues of privacy and property are connected to the online presence of digital memoirs? Which different reading practices do we need to bring to the multi-layered online text of autobiographies 2.0? How does reading online autobiographies create kinship ties among readers? How are traditional modalities of identity (race, gender, ability, class, etc.) destabilized by online life writing?
Adoptee life writing 2.0: Transnationality and social justice online*

Authors: Ina C. Seethaler
Page Start: 155

Jane Jeong Trenka was adopted from South Korea in 1972 at the age of 6 months. Her blog, ‘Jane’s blog: Bitter angry ajumma’, on which she published her adoption file, expresses the hope that she ‘will live to see the day when adoption as it is practised today is viewed as the archaic, primitive and exploitative practice that it really is’. This article analyses how Trenka’s web presence challenges rigid identity constructions, examines transnational adoption as a consequence of globalized oppression and offers an intersectional analysis of transnational adoptees’ and poor birth mothers’ lives. Through her blog posts, Trenka communicates directly with her audience and engages in concrete discussions about transnational adoption and identity. Web 2.0’s interactive possibilities turn the audience from traditional voyeurs into active participants, thereby substituting the patriarchal, colonialist gaze that many transnational adoptees experience with a powerful virtual collaboration. Trenka’s online life writing takes on a decidedly collective nature, challenging master narratives of home and identity with counter-histories of oppression and discrimination that destabilize social, cultural and political hierarchies. Trenka’s blog illuminates connections between the commodification of adoptees, cultural forces creating traumatic identity struggles and the choices poor women make under structural constraints.

*Insta-judgement: Irony, authenticity and life writing in mothers’ use of Instagram*

Authors: May Friedman
Page Start: 169

This article aims to explore the ways that photos and written texts using the hashtag #assholeparents extend understandings of both life writing theories and the field of motherhood studies. At first glance, this hashtag seems to stray from picture-perfect Pinterest parenting. A closer analysis, however, reveals that despite the seeming rejection of model parenting, the pictures and texts grouped by #assholeparents nonetheless affirm deeply normative views of parenting in general and of motherhood in particular. As such, while largely featuring children, these photographs can arguably stand as maternal self-portraits. This examination aims to explore a collection of images as examples of a composite form of life writing. The use of life writing as a critical practice allows for an analysis of the images and accompanying text that aims to pull the camera back and view the context and motivations outside the frame. The particular use of Instagram further complicates the notion of life writing by presenting each image as an independent text but also as part of an emergent composite memoir that borrows from and contributes to idealized notions of family.

*Digital life writing: The failure of a diasporic, queer, blue Tinker Bell*

Authors: Ahmet Atay
Page Start: 183

In this article, I sketch various interrelated stories about the ways in which I have been using social network sites to reflect my life events, share my thoughts and experiences and also story my everyday life to my friends and family members who only experience me, my life and my realities through mediated and visual narrations. This article will theorize life writing in mediated platforms and reflect on different aspects of digitalized life writing by using my own stories.

*Writing new branches into being: Connecting donor-linked families via Web 2.0*

Authors: Elizabeth Bailey
Page Start: 195

Families that are linked by having chosen the same sperm donor are increasingly locating and connecting with each other online. Focusing primarily on queer-parented, donor-linked families, this article examines the ways in which parents are simultaneously adhering to and rebelling against heavy cultural emphasis on genealogical roots as a source of self-knowledge and identification. Emerging now via online media is a live chronicling of the shifting nature of family and kinship which pushes against borders that are commonly believed to be static in nature. Quick media allows not only for the volume of personal narrative to be increased but the coming together of these voices begins to disrupt the hegemony and reshape the narrative itself. This interactive shift also impacts the way in which parents develop a parental and family identity as online engagement shapes the reader and in turn shapes what is written. Within this article, donor-linked families are referred to as ‘dibling families’. The colloquial term ‘dibling’ refers to a donor sibling, creating a distinction between siblings within an individual family unit, while acknowledging a shared genetic connection between the children. In choosing to be connected (to varying degrees), dibling families are exemplifying hybridized family forms that reimagine, rather than completely reify or reject, traditional notions of kinship.

*The political leader as online brother*

Authors: Michael Keren
Page Start: 207

‘Lacking for most of Jewish history a national homeland’, wrote Rabbi Jill Jacobs, ‘Jews have instead focused on creating holy space within their own personal dwellings’. Indeed, the home is the place where much of Jewish life takes place, which explains the electoral success in recent years of Israel’s ‘Jewish Home’ party, presenting itself as guardian of the home and the homeland, both of which are endowed with holiness. In this article, I follow the process in which the party leader, media-savvy Naftali Bennett, has used his Facebook posts to turn his followers into a brotherhood and himself into the beloved brother. I argue that the transformation of the leader into an online brother, made possible by new digital media, poses a danger to Israeli politics. The deliberative democratic process in which people are related but also separated enough to maintain their individual persona turns into an illusionary brotherly bond that may lead to tyranny of the kind associated by Hannah Arendt with the pre-political household.

*Confession narratives and mass kinship of YouTube celebrities: A narrative rationality analysis*

Authors: Michael Humphrey
Page Start: 225

Walter R. Fisher argued that human beings are homo narrans or storytelling animals who make decisions using narrative rationality, which is the ability to choose among competing stories. The question I consider is whether Fisher’s arguments have explanatory power in quick media, especially a specific type of everyday autobiography: narratives of well-known YouTube vloggers confessing intimate details or turning-point moments about their lives. Examples of videos include coming out as LGBTQ, serious illness, relationship dissolution and depression. This textual analysis looks at both sides of YouTube discourse – creator vlogs and audience comments.

*Reframing adoptive family narratives through digital and social media technologies*

Authors: Julie Samuels
Page Start: 239

This article examines some of the transformations within adoptive family dynamics driven by digital and social media technologies. Extending beyond the privacy within the adoptive family narrative to direct and often-unmediated communication with biological kin, these technologies continue to offer choices, opportunities, threats, temptations and new challenges. It is within these online communities that conversations within the adoption triad (the term used to describe the adopted individual, the adoptive family and the biological family) continue to reveal and document these transformations. It is partially due to these conversations within the adoption triad that we are compelled to reconsider what it means to be an adoptive family in the twenty-first century. For an adoptive parent, these digital communications within the adoption triad continue to reframe both our family narrative and shared experiences of adoption.
Reading for connectivity: Aesthetics and affect in intermedial autobiographies 2.0*

Authors: Silvia Schultermandl
Page Start: 251

Autobiographies 2.0 are affect-saturated texts. Studying them therefore demands a shift from content to form and its affective work. In literary studies, the affective turn has generated a renewed interest in the ways in which emotions can be aesthetically experienced by readers. This attention to the interactive relationship between readers, authors and text is a staple of reader response theory and has laid the groundwork in new media studies to theorize the blending of these designated roles (such as Bruns’s concept of produsage). Affect theory can also shed light on the dynamic process of establishing kinship and a sense of belonging to networked identities on the web. My article offers a discussion of the aesthetic strategies through which online intermedial life writing affectively interpellates its readers. As a case study, I analyse the online curated art project Family Line-Ups, which features twenty sets of family portraits (each consisting of three photos of family members from different generations) and verbal narratives that relate to them.

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