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Genre theory, knowledge organisation and fiction Dr Pauline Rafferty Department of Information Studies Aberystwyth University.

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1 Genre theory, knowledge organisation and fiction Dr Pauline Rafferty Department of Information Studies Aberystwyth University

2 Brief Overview A theoretical paper which A theoretical paper which explores current genre theory and argues for an approach to the understanding of genre, and ultimately the description of genre, that is based on a cultural- materialist, historical world-view. explores current genre theory and argues for an approach to the understanding of genre, and ultimately the description of genre, that is based on a cultural- materialist, historical world-view.

3 Approaches to fiction 19 th century approaches: treat fiction from a knowledge perspective (e.g. DDC literature for scholars) 19 th century approaches: treat fiction from a knowledge perspective (e.g. DDC literature for scholars) 20 th century approaches: fiction as cultural documentation; fiction for leisure, for pleasure 20 th century approaches: fiction as cultural documentation; fiction for leisure, for pleasure

4 Literary warrant based: Clare Beghtols Experimental Fiction Analysis System CharacterEventsSpaceTimeOther

5 User warrant based: Pejtersen and Austins Analysis and Mediation of Publications system (AMP) 1. subject matter a. action and course of events b. psychological development and description c. social relations 2. frame: setting a. time: past, present, future b. place: geographical, social environment, profession 3. authors intentions a. emotional experience b. cognition and information 4. accessibility a. readability b. physical characteristics, literary form

6 Library of Congress, British Library, GSAFD and Genre LCs Guidelnes on Subject Access to Individual Works of Fiction, Drama etc genre terms include: Adventure (UF thriller, swashbuckler) Adventure (UF thriller, swashbuckler) Gangster film (UF crime film) Gangster film (UF crime film) Legal stories (UF novels that deal with law, legal procedure, courts etc) Legal stories (UF novels that deal with law, legal procedure, courts etc) Mystery fiction (UF detective and mystery fiction, murder mysteries, whodunnits, private eye stories, mysteries (generally), Mystery fiction (UF detective and mystery fiction, murder mysteries, whodunnits, private eye stories, mysteries (generally),

7 Robinsonades Term Robinsonades SNUse for works describing an individual's or a small group's survival without the aid of civilization, as on a deserted island. UFApocalyptic fantasies UFEnd-of-the-world fantasies BTAdventure fictionAdventure fiction BTVoyages, ImaginaryVoyages, Imaginary MTRobinsonades [lcsh]lcsh

8 BL on genre in late 1990s Historically speaking, several genres have only come into existence in the twentieth-century, for example, thrillers and modern love stories. To place classic, pre-twentieth-century novels in twentieth-century genres would be anachronistic.

9 Jane Eyre/Charlotte Brontë [not 655 Love stories] 650 Governesses-England-Fiction 651 England-Social life and customs-19th century-Fiction Emma/Jane Austen [not 655 Domestic fiction] 650 Young women-England-Fiction 651 England-Social life and customs-19th century-Fiction

10 Anat Vernitski and Intertextuality (2007) Developing an intertextuality-oriented fiction classification, Journal of librarianship and information science, 39(1), Quotation Exact quotation misquotationAllusion Title allusion Name allusion Adaptation Same theme, different form Same form, different theme Sequels

11 Literary Theory: Genre as Classification What constitutes a class in genre classification? What constitutes a class in genre classification? What are the unit members of classes in genre classification? What are the unit members of classes in genre classification?

12 John Frow (2006), schema and class Genre as cues enabling us to interpret knowledge in relation to specific domain Genre as cues enabling us to interpret knowledge in relation to specific domain Genre also an operative function which in the right context activates the relevant conceptual meaning Genre also an operative function which in the right context activates the relevant conceptual meaning

13 Frows projected worlds a relatively bounded and schematic domain of meanings, values and affects, accompanied by a set of instructions for handling them. Any world can be described through a coherent set of propositions, and generated reality-effects specific to it: some worlds claim a high reality status, others announce themselves as fictional or hypothetical (86).

14 Fowler, A. (1982), Kinds of Literature, Oxford, Clarendon [i]f genres are to be represented in feature space, therefore, a series of synchronic maps will be required, in order to do some justice to their changing relationship. No existing maps, however, make much of an attempt to take the diachronic existence of genres into account (249).

15 Methodological Procedure Identify the range of texts that might be considered part of the genre and decide on a formulation of inclusion. Identify the range of texts that might be considered part of the genre and decide on a formulation of inclusion. Identify pre-texts. Identify pre-texts. Identify the syntagms (narrative chains) and paradigms (dominant genre type, characters, locations) within the initial ( ) novels. Identify the syntagms (narrative chains) and paradigms (dominant genre type, characters, locations) within the initial ( ) novels. Using an historical framework, locate each novel within its appropriate slot in the frame for analytical purposes. Using an historical framework, locate each novel within its appropriate slot in the frame for analytical purposes. Code each novel against initial set of codes. A picture of small transformations emerges from this analysis which provides a rich diachronic analysis. Code each novel against initial set of codes. A picture of small transformations emerges from this analysis which provides a rich diachronic analysis.

16 Methodological Procedure Paradigms: the choice of specific signifiers in opposition to other possible signifiers. For critical social semioticians these choices involve ideological implications. Paradigms: the choice of specific signifiers in opposition to other possible signifiers. For critical social semioticians these choices involve ideological implications. In this study, paradigmatic choice relates to the types of characters, e.g heroes and villains. In this study, paradigmatic choice relates to the types of characters, e.g heroes and villains. Syntagms: are combinations or chains of elements that form a meaningful whole within a text. Syntagms: are combinations or chains of elements that form a meaningful whole within a text. In this study, syntagmatic combinations refer to plot and narrative. The range and types of plots circulating in novels at any synchronic moment is of interest, as are the transformations in plots over time. In this study, syntagmatic combinations refer to plot and narrative. The range and types of plots circulating in novels at any synchronic moment is of interest, as are the transformations in plots over time.

17 Mapping the novels Replication: used for novels which adhere closely to the conventions of Troubles genre identified through an examination of the earliest texts. The heroes will tend to be British Security Services, villains will be IRA operatives, and women will be depicted as girlfriends or victims. Replication: used for novels which adhere closely to the conventions of Troubles genre identified through an examination of the earliest texts. The heroes will tend to be British Security Services, villains will be IRA operatives, and women will be depicted as girlfriends or victims. Modification: used for novels which generally adhere to the conventions of Troubles genre, but which may display specific differences. Modification: used for novels which generally adhere to the conventions of Troubles genre, but which may display specific differences. Challenge: used for novels that do not adhere to the conventions of the Troubles genre but construct alternative representations. Novels which critique conventional representations will also be included in this category. This category will be much smaller than the other two. Challenge: used for novels that do not adhere to the conventions of the Troubles genre but construct alternative representations. Novels which critique conventional representations will also be included in this category. This category will be much smaller than the other two.

18 Hall, S., (2001), Encoding/Decoding, in Durham, M.G. and Kellner, D. M., (eds.), Media and Cultural Studies: Keyworks, Oxford, Blackwells, pp Dominant : when the viewer decodes the message in terms of the reference code in which it has been encoded, operating inside the dominant code (2001, 174). Dominant : when the viewer decodes the message in terms of the reference code in which it has been encoded, operating inside the dominant code (2001, 174). Negotiated: decoding within the negotiated version accords the privileged position to the dominant definitions of events while reserving the right to make a more negotiated pplication to local conditions, to its own more corporate positions (2001, 175). Negotiated: decoding within the negotiated version accords the privileged position to the dominant definitions of events while reserving the right to make a more negotiated pplication to local conditions, to its own more corporate positions (2001, 175). Oppositional: A viewer might perfectly to understand both the literal and the connotative inflection given by a discourse but to decode the message in a globally contradictory way. He/she decodes within some alternative framework of reference. (2001, 175). Oppositional: A viewer might perfectly to understand both the literal and the connotative inflection given by a discourse but to decode the message in a globally contradictory way. He/she decodes within some alternative framework of reference. (2001, 175).

19 Categories in Data Gathering SheetsDescription and function Bibliographic informationThe information will include recording author, title, publisher, date of publication, place, nationality of author, where known Dominant affective genreThe dominant genre type that best describes the novel will be recorded. Plot summary labelA plot summary statement will be recorded for each novel. Representations of key charactersParadigmatic choices about heroes, villains and female characters. Modality markersWhere possible modality markers will be established and identified. These might include reference to the material world (places, people, institutions, events). Ideology stanceIdeological stance is related to positive, neutral or negative attitudes towards the personnel, policies, politics and activities relating to the Troubles in Northern Ireland. Relation to genre conventionsReplicate, modify, challenge

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22 1980s Modification thrillers

23 Bildungsromans Novels Figure 2: Overview of the complete set of bildungsromans in the data set

24 Using genre theory in a KO framework This study bridges the gap between the discussion of genre as an abstracted macro-level system This study bridges the gap between the discussion of genre as an abstracted macro-level system and individual novels as instantiations of genre is bridged by the empirical, descriptively-based method. and individual novels as instantiations of genre is bridged by the empirical, descriptively-based method.

25 Genre theory, KO and fiction In the analysis of genre formation, the relationship between In the analysis of genre formation, the relationship between the macro-level perspective of generic system the macro-level perspective of generic system and the micro-level perspective of specific novelists and specific novels and the micro-level perspective of specific novelists and specific novels is best explored through specific concrete description and comparisons of material texts both at the level of the synchronic moment and diachronically. is best explored through specific concrete description and comparisons of material texts both at the level of the synchronic moment and diachronically.

26 Genre theory, knowledge organisation and fiction Dr Pauline Rafferty Dr Pauline Rafferty Department of Information Studies Aberystwyth University Thank you very much for listening!


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