Journal articles: 'World of Peter Rabbit and friends (Television program)' – Grafiati (2024)

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Published: 4 June 2021

Last updated: 1 February 2022

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1

Rodan, Debbie. "Bringing Sexy Back: To What Extent Do Online Television Audiences Contest Fat-Shaming?" M/C Journal 18, no.3 (June10, 2015). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.967.

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The latest reality program about weight loss makeover, Australian Channel Seven’s Bringing Sexy Back maintained the dominant frame of fat as bad, shameful and unsexy. Similar to other programs’ point of view, only slim bodies could claim to be healthy and sexy. Conversely the Fat Acceptance movement presents fat as beautiful, sexy, and healthy. But what did online audiences in 2014 think about Bringing Sexy Back? In this article online-viewer-generated comments are analysed to find out: a) whether audiences challenged and contested the dominant framing; and b) what phrases did they use to do this. The research task is a discourse analysis in which key words and phrases are highlighted and colour coded as categories and patterns begin to emerge. My intention is to represent the expressions of the participants responding to the articles and or online forums about the program. The focus is on the ‘language-in-use’ (Gee 34), in particular their gut reactions to the idea of whether only slim people can be sexy and their experience of viewing the program. Selected television websites, online television forums and blogs will be analysed. Introduction The latest makeover television program drawing on the obesity-epidemic discourse Bringing Sexy Back (BSB) promises the audience that by the end of the program participants will have bought their sexy back. Sexy in the program is equated with one’s younger and slimmer self; the program host Samantha Armytage (from Sunrise the national Australian morning show) tells viewers sexy can be reclaimed if participants (from their late 30s and up to 51 years) drop kilos, commit to a strenuous exercise regime, and re-style their wardrobe. Experts, the usual suspects, are bought in—the medical machinery, the personal trainer, the stylist, and the hairdresser etc.—to assess, admonish, advise and appraise the participants. At the final reveal the audience—made up of family, friends and the local community—show enthusiasm for the aesthetic desirability of the participants slimmer sexier body as evidenced by descriptors such as “wow”, and “oh my God” as well as an outpouring of emotion such as crying and squeals of delight. Previous researchers of fat-shaming television programs have found audience’s reactions divided: some audience members see it as motivating; others see it as humiliating; and others see it as what the contestants deserve (Holland, Blood and Thomas; Rodan, Ellis and Lebeck; Sender and Sullivan)! I want to find out if online and social media audiences of the relatively tame makeover program BSB, which features individual Australians and couples who are overweight and obese, challenge and contest the dominant framing. In my analysis of the phrases online audiences’ have used about BSB, posters mostly found the program inspiring and motivating. From this inauspicious first strike, I will push onto examine the phrases posters have used to respond to the program. The paper begins with a short background about the program. The key elements of the makeover television genre are then discussed. Following this, I provide an analysis of the program’s official BSB Facebook site, and unofficial viewer-generated sites, such as the bubhub, TVTONIGHT, MamaMia, The Hoopla and the hashtag #sexybackau on Twitter. Posters to these sites were regular, infrequent or intermittent viewers. My approach to the analysis of these online forums and social media sites is a discourse analysis that examines “language-in-use”—as well as other elements such as values, symbols, tools and thinking styles—so as to identify and track tacit knowledge—that is, meanings emerging from obesity-epidemic discourse (Gee 34, 40–41). Such a method is apt given its capacity to analyse contributors’ spontaneous statements of their feelings—in particular their gut reactions to the program and the participants. The paper ends with my findings and conclusions. Bringing Sexy Back: Background Information Screened in 2014, season one of BSB format consists of a host Samantha Armytage, fitness trainer Cameron Byrnes and stylist Jules Sebastian and her team of hairdresser, groomers etc. Undoubtedly, part of the program’s construction is to select participants who appeal to a broad range of viewers. Participants’ ages range from 21 years (Courney Gollings) to 51 years (Vicki Gollings). The individuals or couples who make up the series include: Ned (truck driver), Sam and Gary (parents of two boys), Lisa Wilson (single mother and hairdresser), Vicki and Courtney Golling (mother and daughter), Livio Caldarone (pizza/small restaurant owner), and Paula Beckton (mother of four), The first episode was aired on Australia’s Channel Seven on 12 August 2014 and the final episode on 13 January 2015. This particular series consisted of 9 episodes. In this paper I focus on the six episodes that were aired in 2014. Generally each individual episode consisted of: the intervention, presenting medical facts about participant’s weight; the helper figures setting training and diet regimes; the trials leading to transformation; and the happy ending evident in the reveal. Essentially, these segments illustrate that the program series is highly contrived and they also demonstrate the program’s method of challenging participants to lose weight. Makeover Television I now provide a further construct to assist the reader’s understanding of ‘what is going on’ in the BSB program, which fits within the genre of makeover program. As reflected in the literature, makeover television has some or all of the following ingredients: personal fitness trainer as expertstylist and grooming expertsfamily members and contestant’s reflexivity (reflect on their own behaviour)new self-celebrated photo shootscontestant winning challengessymbols, such as the dream outfit, and before and after photographstransformation before the ‘big reveal’ Moreover, makeover programs are about the ordinary person on television. According to Redden, identities on these programs are individual rather than collective in that they serve to show a type of “individuality” as if it exists irrespective of any social or cultural group (156). And what is the role of the expert? Redden points out the expert on makeover programs interprets the “life situation of the given person, who may represent a certain social category of ordinary person” (153). So while makeover programs purport to be about the ordinary person and make claims about the actuality of the ordinary person’s life (Skeggs and Wood 559; Stagi 138), they also depict a hierarchy of social categories. The participants’ class also features in makeover programs like BSB. Class is evident in that participants who are selected to be on the program are often from lower-middle class backgrounds. Most participants have non-professional occupations—truck driver (Ned), hairdresser (Lisa), pizza/small restaurant owner (Livio), body caster, a person who makes body casts (Paula). Similar to The Biggest Loser (2004–2014) on American NBC, and Australia Network Ten, the participants in BSB were also mainly from lower–middle class backgrounds (Rodan; Sender and Sullivan 575) Several researcher’s show that makeover television promises advancement for lower–middle class citizens (Fraser 188–189; Miller 589; Redden 155; Skeggs and Wood 561) based on the proposition that contestants have the power to transform themselves (Bratich 17; Ouellette and Hay 471–472; Lewis 443; Sender and Sullivan 581). Like other makeover programs BSB takes advantage of the aspirations of working and lower-middle class participants. And, not surprisingly, the desired transcendence is something most participants/viewers from lower-middle and working class backgrounds cannot strive to achieve without participating in the program (Miller 589). Transcendence in BSB comes from losing weight, and acquiring new gym equipment, gym clothing, access to a personal trainer, gym membership, holiday at a health retreat, new wardrobe, new haircut, and new gym clothes. These acts to transform oneself are often “presented” as the middle class “standard,” taste and specific ongoing “intimate practices” of the “middle class” (Skeggs and Wood 561; Redden 155). But clearly much of the sprucing up (such as a private gym at home, personal trainers) are expensive and beyond the budget of even an Australian middle-class family. Analysis Posters on the official BSB Channel Seven Facebook forum overall were the most positive about the program—they found the program motivating and inspiring. Several posters on Facebook asked how they might apply to be on the program. After the airing of the reveal, posters on all the online forums and social media analysed consistently used adjectives such as fantastic, awesome, congratulations, stunning, amazing, gorgeous, wow, incredible, look sensational, look hot, look great, champion effort, fabulous, impressive, beautiful, inspirational. Fat-Shaming In BSB fat-shaming works through the use of medical machines and imagery, which measure weight and body fat percentage (BMI) using the DXA scanner and X-ray machine. Even though many physicians object to BMI measurement, it has become an “infallible marker of dangerous risk-saturated obesity” (Morgan 205) in Health Department campaigns, insurance company policies and on makeover television. Participants’ current weight is compared to the weight of their 20 year-old self. The program also induces fat-shaming through visuals of food and drink stashes found in participant’s bedroom cupboards (Ned), remnants of take-away packaging in rubbish bins (Lisa), processed foods in pantry cupboards (Vicki and Courtney), and pizza cartons at work (Livio). Here food amounts are quantified for audiences to gasp with shock and horror reinforcing the stereotype that people are fat because they have insufficient willpower and overeat (Farrell 34), thus perpetuating the view that obese people are undisciplined, sloppy and “less likely to do productive work” (Greenberg et al.). Banners are produced of participants’ photographs in their 20s; the photographs chosen have been taken when participants were slim and looked hot at the beach or night clubbing. These banners are juxtaposed with a banner of participant’s current self—appearing overweight in unflattering short crop top and underwear. Both banners are flashed onto the screen during the program especially in the final reveal presumably as a visual measurement to shame participants for “letting themselves go”. Even though host Samantha provides reasons for participants gaining weight—such as the stress of being a single parent, having a busy life as a mother of four, work commitments etc—the visual banners powerfully signify more than the presenter’s dialogue. Katrina Dowd on Facebook suggests it is the banners that signified the truth about participants’ lifestyles when she comments: Absolutely. Amazing how people whom follow unhealthy eating patterns for years with lack of exercise get congratulated because they’ve lost weight. Should never have let yourself get to that stage. Using your children and work commitments as excuses for why you got that way is a big “fail”. Some social media participants on Twitter and online forum posters saw the participants as “Bogan” ( a white working-class person who lacks fashion sense, is uncouth unsophisticated and invokes disgust), lazy, slobs as represented in the following comments: “Bogan Hunters Makeover” (tvaddict); “STILL A f*ckING FAT BOGAN […] JUST STOP EATING” (Al_Mack); “Stop being a lazy bitch […] Seriously lazy slobs” (Dutchess of Tweet St); “learn to cook lazy cow” (Gidgit VonLaRue). Thus, for Katrina and the posters above, it is the “fat body” that is seen as the “uncivilized body” that lacks the self-control of the thin body (Richardson 80). Inspirational and Motivational I discovered that many online forum and social media participants found the program BSB inspiring and motivating. A similar finding to my study of The Biggest Loser online viewers (Rodan), as well as other researchers who interviewed audiences about The Biggest Loser (Readdy and Ebbeck). For instance, Twitter posters said the BSB inspires “everyday women” (Sharon@Shar0n) and “inspires me that I can do the same” (Sharon@KeepitRealV), “another great show #inspiring” (miss shadow). On Facebook most of the posters talked about how inspired they were by the show and or by the individual participants, for instance: Hi Lisa, I think I see a lot of me in you, I pretty much cried through the whole show. You have inspired me, much admiration for sharing your story with Australia. (Haigh) Many posters on Facebook identified with Lisa as a single mother (Jenkins) and her declaration that she was “an emotional eater” (McTavish). This may account for Lisa Wilson (5,824 likes) receiving the most likes on Facebook. There were those who identified with individual participants, such as Paula, who were attempting to lose weight. On the forum the bubhub, a forum for parents established in 2002, the administrator BH-bubhub started a thread titled “Need some motivation to shift those kilos? Our pal Paula is here to help hubbers!” Paula was the participant on BSB who lost the most weight, and was invited onto the forum to answer forum members’ questions. On this forum, disparaging, negative, demotivating comments were removed from public viewing (see caveat BH-bubhub). Overall, online forum posters on the bubhub expressed positive feelings about BSB as a weight loss program. Participants comments included “Awesome work Paula, I have no doubt you will inspire many and I look forward to hearing all your tips” (Mod-Uniquey) “and … you look fabulous” (BH-KatiesMum), “Wow, you must be so proud of yourself! That is an amazing effort and you look great” (Curby), “What an inspirational story!” (Mod-Nomsie). Facebook posters on the BSB official forum found the show motivating and evidence of others finding the same are: “I feel great after watching #sexybackau” (Freeburn), “an uplifting hour” (Hustwaite), “feeling motivated now to change a lot of things about myself” (McDonald). However, online posters rarely commented that the program inspired or motivated them to take specific actions about their own body size or lifestyle. For some, as other researchers have found about makeover programs, it is a form of televisual escapism (Holland, Blood and Thomas; Readdy and Ebbeck 585)—that is, the pleasure of watching others’ emotions in achieving their goal. For many others, identifying with the participants’ struggle, and seeing them overcome daily challenges and obstacles to losing weight, gave posters insights about themselves and how to change their own lifestyle. But maintaining weight-loss and a lifestyle that supports it—as Facebook posters frequently suggest—is very challenging for most people who are overweight. The transformations and reveals make for fairy-tale endings (the essence of makeover television), but the reality of losing weight is persistence, perseverance and hard work. Criticisms of the Program Posters on Facebook were censored more than some of the other online forums and social media. Facebook criticisms about the program BSB were dealt with swiftly by other posters—that is, posters were pressured to only express positive feelings about the program. For instance, Lynne Nicholas in response to Peter Thomson’s criticism that the program is “exploiting these people for cheap television entertainment” (Facebook, 14 August 2014) posted on Facebook: If you don’t like the show then don’t come on the page and comment. Channel 7 gives these people a chance to change their life and inspire others to do the same. (Facebook, 14 Aug. 2014) And in response to criticisms about the amount of processed food Cam discarded from participants Vicki and Courtney’s cupboard, Emily McCabe commented: If you don’t enjoy the concept of the program, feel free to change the channel and keep your negative comments to yourself. (Facebook, 2 Sep. 2014) Nevertheless, a lot of criticism appeared on the various online and social media outlets ranging from: the commercial aspects (matúš; Hales); the constant use of the word “fat” by the host (Spencer); the sponsorship and advertisem*nts by a take-away food company (Daisy Murray; Patriot); the “irresponsible/unsafe training!” (M_Gardner; Ashton); the insufficient number of “diet tips” (Pedron-Peggs); and “sick of seeing all that food thrown away!!” (Barkla; Dunell; Robbie; Martin; Coupland). As noted above, some of the sites were censored. Criticisms of the program were only aired if the online forum and social media allowed people to vent their feelings and express their opinion. Allowing viewers to express their concerns about mainstream television programs such as BSB counters the argument made by other researchers suggesting that makeover programs do the work of audiences becoming “self-managing” and self-governing citizens (see Stagi; Ouellette and Hay 471-472; Sender and Sullivan 581; Ringrose and Walkerdine); and makeover programs perpetuate the myth that obesity is solely an individual behavioural problem (Yoo). Such critical comments (above) reveal that some viewers do question the show’s premises, and as a consequence they do not accept the dominant framing. Thus the hypothesis that all viewers of makeover programs are pliable and docile cannot be supported in my analysis. Findings and Conclusion Most BSB posters said they found the program inspiring and motivating. It seems many of the online posters identified with the participants’ struggle to lose their weight, and stay motivated to keep it off. So there was little fat-shaming from posters on Facebook and the online forums. The posters on Facebook expressed the most positive comments about the BSB program and the participants; however, the Facebook site was the official BSB social media site. It seems that many of the Facebook and online forum discussants were makeover television fans who had acquired a taste for the makeover genre – that is the transformation and the big reveal at the end, the re-styled self, the symbols as well as the tips, information and ideas about how to lose weight and change their lifestyle. Questions were often asked by posters about the participants’ eating plan, exercise regime, maintenance program etc., as well as how they (the posters) could apply to be on the show. Very few social media or online posters questioned and challenged the makeover genre, the advertising during the program, the quality and number of diet and nutrition tips, and the time as well as financial cost required to maintain the new self. References Al_Mack. “STILL A f*ckING FAT BOGAN.” 26 Aug. 2014, no time. Tweet. Al_Mack. “JUST STOP EATING.” 26 Aug. 2014, no time. Tweet. Ashton, Susan. “Bringing Sexy Back.” 13 Jan. 2015, 17:56. Facebook comment. Barkla, Michelle. “Bringing Sexy Back.” 9 Sep. 2014, 18:39. Facebook comment. BH-bubhub Administrator. “Need Some Motivation to Shift Those Kilos? Our Pal Paula Is Here to Help Hubbers!” The Bubhub 3 March 2015. 15:27. BH-KatiesMum. “Need Some Motivation to Shift Those Kilos? Our Pal Paula Is Here to Help Hubbers!” The Bubhub 3 Mar. 2015 19:26. Bratich, Jack Z. “Programming Reality: Control Societies, New Subjects and the Powers of Transformation.” Ed. Dana Heller. Makeover Television: Realities Remodelled. London: I.B. Tauris, 2007. 6-22. Coupland, Allison. “Bringing Sexy Back.” 2 Sep. 2014, 17:55. Facebook comment. Curby. “Need Some Motivation to Shift Those Kilos? Our Pal Paula Is Here to Help Hubbers!” The Bubhub 3 Mar. 2015, 19.30. Dowd, Katrina. “Bringing Sexy Back.” 19 Aug. 2014, 21:07. Facebook comment. Dunell, Meredith. “Bringing Sexy Back.” 9 Sep. 2014, 17:54pm. Facebook comment. Dutchess of Tweet St (Appy_Dayz). “Seriously lazy slobs feeling sorry for themselves on #SexyBackAu are just bloody annoying.” 19 Aug. 2014, no time. Tweet. Farrell, Amy E. Fat Shame: Stigma and the Fat Body in American Culture. New York: New York University Press, 2011. Fraser, Kathryn. “‘Now I Am Ready to Tell How Bodies Are Changed into Different Bodies…’ Ovid, The Metamorphoses.” Ed. Dana Heller. Makeover Television: Realities Remodelled. London: I.B. Tauris, 2007. 177-92. Freeburn, Tim (TimBurna). “I feel great after watching #sexybackau I would’ve felt better if I didn’t eat all that Lindt chocolate while watching it though.” 19 Aug. 2014, no time. Tweet. Gee, James Paul. An Introduction to Discourse Analysis: Theory and Method. 3rd ed. New York: Routledge, 2010. Gidgit VonLaRue. “You want to eat crap nightly fine, it’s your body – but not fair to your poor kid. Learn to cook lazy cow.” 19 Aug. 2014, no time. Tweet. Greenberg, B., M. Eastin, L. Hofschire, K. Lachlan, and K.D. Brownell. “Portrayals of Overweight and Obese Individuals on Commercial Television.” American Journal of Public Health 93.8 (2003): 1324–48. Haigh, Renee J. “Bringing Sexy Back.” 26 Aug. 2014, 18:47. Facebook comment. Hales, Wendy. “Bringing Sexy Back.” 26 Aug. 2014, 18:38. Facebook comment. Holland, Kate, R., Warwick Blood, and Samantha Thomas. “Viewing The Biggest Loser: Modes of Reception and Reflexivity among Obese People.” Social Semiotics 25.1 (2015): 16-32. Hustwaite, Megan. “What an uplifting hour @BSBon7 is! @sam_armytage shines and @julessebastian is a talent #sexybackau.” 19 Aug. 2014, no time. Tweet. Jenkins, Yohti. “Bringing Sexy Back.” 26 Aug. 2014, 18:45. Facebook comment. Lewis, Tanya. “Introduction: Revealing the Makeover Show.” Continuum: Journal of Media and Cultural Studies 22.4 (2008): 441-46. M_Gardner (MSGardner_1). “This show has just trumped biggestloser for irresponsible/unsafe training! Do not try at home people #SexyBackAu.” 12 Aug. 2014, no time. Tweet. Martin, Tania. “Bringing Sexy Back.” 2 Sep. 2014, 18:41. Facebook comment. matúš (MattLXS). “Sales are going to increase now for the fit bit flex thanks to #sexybackau sorry jaw bone up.” 19 Aug. 2014, no time. Tweet. McCabe, Emily. “Bringing Sexy Back.” 2 Sep. 2014, 21:01. Facebook comment. McDonald, Christine (Clubby_R8). “Watching #sexyback I’m really feeling motivated now to change a lot of things about myself. Although the smoking thing is a tough call.” 26 Aug. 2014, no time. Tweet. McTavish, Karen. “Bringing Sexy Back.” 26 Aug. 2014, 18:51. Facebook comment. Miller, Toby. “Afterword: The New World Makeover.” Continuum: Journal of Media and Cultural Studies 22.4 (2008): 585-90. miss shadow (Miss_Shadow). “another great show #inspiring.” 26 Aug. 2014, no time. Tweet. Mod-Nomsie. “Need Some Motivation to Shift Those Kilos? Our Pal Paula Is Here to Help Hubbers!” The Bubhub 4 Mar. 2015. 11:47. Mod-Uniquey. “Need Some Motivation to Shift Those Kilos? Our Pal Paula Is Here to Help Hubbers!” The Bubhub 3 Mar. 2015, 17:46. Morgan, Kathryn Pauly. “Foucault, Ugly Ducklings, and Technoswans: Analyzing Fat Hatred, Weight-Loss Surgery, and Compulsory Biomedicalized Aesthetics in America.” Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics 4.1 (2011): 188-220. Murray, Daisy. “Bringing Sexy Back.” 2 Sep. 2014, 18:27. Facebook comment. Nicholas, Lynne. “Bringing Sexy Back.” 14 Aug. 2014, 20:08. Facebook comment. Ouellette, Laurie, and James Hay. “Makeover Television, Governmentality and the Good Citizen.” Continuum: Journal of Media and Cultural Studies 22.4 (2008): 471-84. Patriot (THEbitchiestgay). “Why is a weight loss show sponsored by a chicken company? Chicken is fattening.” 12 Aug. 2014, no time. Tweet. Pedron-Peggs, Peta. “Bringing Sexy Back.” 16 Sep. 2014, 17:38. Facebook comment. Readdy, Tucker, and Vicki Ebbeck. “Weighing In on NBC’s The Biggest Loser: Governmentality and Self-Concept on the Scale.” Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport 83.4 (2012): 579-86. Redden, Guy. “Makeover Morality and Consumer Culture.” Ed Dana Heller. Makeover Television: Realities Remodelled. London: I.B. Tauris, 2007. 150-64. Richardson, Niall. Transgressive Bodies: Representations in Film and Popular Culture. Farnham, UK: Ashgate Publishing, 2010. Ringrose, Jessica, and Valerie Walkerdine. “The TV Make-Over as Site of Neo-Liberal Reinvention toward Bourgeois Femininity.” Feminist Media Studies 8.3 (2008): 227-46. Robbie, Tina. “Bringing Sexy Back.” 5 Sep. 2014, 16:46. Facebook comment. Rodan, Debbie. “Technologies of the Self: Remaking the Obese ‘Self’ in The Biggest Loser: Couples (Australia).” Proceedings of the Australian and New Zealand Communication Association on Media Democracy and Change Conference. Ed. K. McCallum. Canberra, 2010. Rodan, Debbie, Katie Ellis, and Pia Lebeck. Disability, Obesity and Ageing: Popular Media Identifications. London: Ashgate, 2014. Sender, Katherine, and Margaret Sullivan. “Epidemics of Will, Failures of Self Esteem: Responding to Fat Bodies in The Biggest Loser and What Not to Wear.” Continuum: Journal of Media and Cultural Studies 22.4 (2008): 573-84. Sharon (Shar0n). “Watched #SexyBackAu for the first time tonight; a top show to motivate and inspire everyday women to be healthier and set achievable goals.” 26 Aug. 2014, no time. Tweet. Sharon (KeepitRealV). “#SexyBackAu watching another single mum challenge herself and change her life really inspires me that I can do the same!” 26 Aug. 2014, no time. Tweet. Skeggs, Beverley, and Helen Wood. “The Labour of Transformation and Circuits of Value ‘around’ Reality Television.” Continuum: Journal of Media and Cultural Studies 22.4 (2008): 559-72. Spencer, Amby. “Bringing Sexy Back.” 17 Aug. 2014, 13:55. Facebook comment. Stagi, Luisa. “Lifestyle Television and Diet: Body Care as a Duty.” Italian Journal of Sociology of Education 6.3 (2014): 130-52. Thomson, Peter. “Bringing Sexy Back.” 14 Aug. 2014, 20:03. Facebook comment. Tvaddict. “Bringing Sexy Back.” TV Tonight 13 Aug. 2014, 18:17. Yoo, Jina. “No Clear Winner: Effects of The Biggest Loser on Stigmatization of Obese Persons. Health Communication 28 (2013): 294-303.

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Ellis,KatieM., Mike Kent, and Kathryn Locke. "Indefinitely beyond Our Reach: The Case for Elevating Audio Description to the Importance of Captions on Australian Television." M/C Journal 20, no.3 (June21, 2017). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.1261.

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IntroductionIn a 2013 press release issued by Blind Citizens Australia, the advocacy group announced they were lodging a human rights complaint against the Australian government and the ABC over the lack of audio description available on the public broadcaster. Audio description is a track of narration included between the lines of dialogue which describes important visual elements of a television show, movie or performance. Audio description is broadly recognised as an essential feature to make television accessible to audiences who are blind or vision impaired (Utray et al.). Indeed, Blind Citizens Australia maintained that audio description was as important as captioning on Australian television:people who are blind have waited too long and are frustrated that audio description on television remains indefinitely beyond our reach. Our Deaf or hearing impaired peers have always seen great commitment from the ABC, but we continue to feel like second class citizens.While audio description as a technology was developed in the 1960s—around the same time as captions (Ellis, “Netflix Closed Captions”)—it is not as widely available on television and access is therefore often considered to be out of reach for this group. As a further comparison, in Australia, while the provision of captions was mandated in the Broadcasting Services Act (BSA) 1992 and television sets had clear Australian standards regarding their capability to display captions, there is no legislation for audio description and no consistency regarding the ability of television sets sold in Australia to display them (Ellis, “Television’s Transition”). While as a technology, audio description is as old as captioning it is not as widely available on television. This is despite the promise of technological advancements to facilitate its availability. For example, Cronin and King predicted that technological change such as the introduction of stereo sound on television would facilitate a more widespread availability of audio description; however, this has not eventuated. Similarly, in the lead up to the transition from analogue to digital broadcasting in Australia, government policy documents predicted a more widespread availability of audio description as a result of increased bandwidth available via digital television (Ellis, “Television’s Transition”). While these predictions paved way for an audio description trial, there has been no amendment to the BSA to mandate its provision.Audio description has been experienced on Australian broadcast television in 2012, but only for a 14-week trial on ABC1. The trial report, and feedback from disability groups, identified several technical impediments and limitations which effected the experience of audio described content during this trial, including: the timing of the trial during a period in which the transition from analogue to digital television was still occurring (creating hardware compatibility issues for some consumers); the limitations of the “ad hoc” approach undertaken by the ABC and manual implementation of audio description; and the need for upgraded digital receivers (ABC “Trial of Audio Description”, 2). While advocacy groups acknowledged the technical complexities involved, the expected stakeholder discussions that were due to be held post-trial, in part to attempt to resolve the issues experienced, were never undertaken. As a result of the lack of subsequent commitments to providing audio description, in 2013 advocacy group Blind Citizens Australia lodged their formal complaints of disability discrimination against the ABC and the Federal Government. Since the 2012 trial on ABC1, the ABC’s catch-up portal iView instigated another audio description trial in 2015. Through the iView trial it was further confirmed that audio description held considerable benefits for people with a vision impairment. They also demonstrated that audio description was technically feasible, with far less ‘technical difficulties’ than the experience of the 2012 broadcast-based trial. Over the 15 month trial on ABC iView 1,305 hours of audio described content was provided and played 158, 277 times across multiple platforms, including iOS, Android, the Freeview app and desktop computers (ABC, “ABC iView Audio Description Trial”).Yet despite repeated audio description trials and the lodgement of discrimination complaints, there remains no audio description on Australian broadcast television. Similarly, whereas 55 per cent of DVDs released in Australia have captions, only 25 per cent include an audio description track (Media Access Australia). At the time of writing, the only audio description available on Australian television is on Netflix Australia, a subscription video on demand provider.This article seeks to highlight the importance of television access for people with disability, with a specific focus on the provision of audio description for people with vision impairments. Research consistently shows that despite being a visual medium, people with vision impairments watch television at least once a day (Cronin and King; Ellis, “Netflix Closed Captions”). However, while television access has been a priority for advocates for people who are Deaf and hard of hearing (Downey), audiences advocating audio description are only recently making gains (Ellis, “Netflix Closed Captions”; Ellis and Kent). These gains are frequently attributed to technological change, particularly the digitisation of television and the introduction of subscription video on demand where users access television content online and are not constrained by broadcast schedules. This transformation of how we access television is also considered in the article, again with a focus on the provision–or lack thereof—of audio description.This article also reports findings of research conducted with Australians with disabilities accessing the emerging video on demand environment in 2016. The survey was run online from January to February 2016. Survey respondents included people with disability, their families, and carers, and were sourced through disability organisations and community groups as well as via disability-focused social media. A total of 145 people completed the survey and 12 people participated in follow-up interviews. Insights were gained into both how people with disability are currently using video on demand and their anticipated usage of services. Of note is that most subscription video on demand services (Netflix Australia, Stan, and Presto) had only been introduced in Australia in the year before the survey being carried out, with only Foxtel Play and Quickflix having been in operation for some time prior to that.Finally, the article ends by looking at past and current advocacy in this area, including a discussion on existing—albeit, to date, limited—political will.Access to Television for People with DisabilitiesTelevision can be disabling in different ways for people with impairments, yet several accessibility features exist to translate information. For example, people who are D/deaf or hard of hearing may require captions, while people with vision impairments prefer to make use of audio description (Alper et al.). Similarly, people with mobility and dexterity impairments found the transition to digital broadcasting difficult, particularly with relation to set top box set up (Carmichael et al.). As Joshua Robare has highlighted, even legislation has generally favoured the inclusion of audiences with hearing impairments, while disregarding those with vision impairments. Similarly, much of the literature in this area focuses on the provision of captions—a vital accessibility feature for people who are D/deaf or hard of hearing. Consequently, research into accessibility to television for a diversity of impairments, going beyond hearing impairments, remains deficient.In a study of Australian audiences with disability conducted between September and November 2013—during the final months of the analogue to digital simulcast period of Australian broadcast television—closed captions, clean audio, and large/colour-coded remote control keys emerged as the most desired access features (see Ellis, “Digital Television Flexibility”). Audio description barely registered in the top five. In a different study conducted two years ago/later, when disabled Australian audiences of video on demand were asked the same question, captions continued to dominate at 63.4 per cent; however, audio description was also seen to be a necessary feature for almost one third of respondents (see Ellis et al., Accessing Subcription Video).Robert Kingett, founder of the Accessible Netflix Project, participated in our research and told us in an interview that video on demand providers treat accessibility as an “afterthought”, particularly for blind people whom most don’t think of as watching television. Yet research dating back to the 1990s shows almost 100 per cent of people with vision impairments watch television at least once a day (Cronin & King). Statistically, the number of Australians who identify as blind or vision impaired is not insignificant. Vision Australia estimates that over 357,000 Australians have a vision impairment, while one in five Australians have a disability of some form. With an ageing population, this number is expected to grow exponentially in the next ten years (Australian Network on Disability). Kingett therefore describes this lack of accessibility as evidence video on demand is “stuck in the dark ages”, and advocates that people with vision impairments do use video on demand and therefore continue to have unmet access needs.Video on Demand—Transforming TelevisionSubscription video on demand services have caused a major shift in the way television is used and consumed in Australia. Prior to 2015, there was a small subscription video on demand industry in this country. However, in 2015, following the launch of Netflix Australia, Stan, and Presto, Australia was described as having entered the “streaming wars” (Tucker) where consumers would benefit from the increased competition. As Netflix gained dominance in the video on demand market internationally, people with disability began to recognise the potential this service could have in transforming their access to television.For example, the growing availability of video on demand services continues to provide disruptive change to the way in which consumers enjoy information and entertainment. While traditional broadcast television has provided great opportunities for participation in news, events, and popular culture, both socially and in the workplace, the move towards video on demand services has seen a notable decline in traditional television viewing habits, with online continuing to increase at the expense of Australian free-to-air programming (C-Scott).For the general population, this always-on, always-available, and always-shareable nature of video on demand means that the experience is both convenient and instant. If a television show is of interest to friends and family, it can be quickly shared through popular social media with others, allowing everyone to join in the experience. For people with disability, the ability to both share and personalise the experience of television is critical to the popularity of video on demand services for this group. This gives them not only the same benefits as others but also ensures that people with disability are not unintentionally excluded from participation—it allows people with disability the choice as to whether or not to join in. However, exclusion from video on demand is a significant concern for people with disability due to the lack of accessibility features in popular subscription services. The lack of captions, audio description, and interfaces that do not comply with international Web accessibility standards are resulting in many people with disability being unable to fully participate in the preferred viewing platforms of family and friends.The impact of this expands beyond the consumption patterns of audiences, shifting the way the audience is defined and conceptualised. With an increasing distribution of audience attention to multiple channels, products, and services, the ability to, and strategies for, acquiring a large audience has changed (Napoli). As audience attention is distributed, it is broken up, into smaller, fragmented groups. The success, therefore, of a new provider may be to amass a large audience through the aggregation of smaller, niche audiences. This theory has significance for consumers who require audio description because they represent a viable target group. In this context, accessibility is reframed as a commercial opportunity rather than a cost (Ellis, “Netflix Closed Captions”).However, what this means for future provision of audio description in Australia is still unclear. Chris Mikul from Media Access Australia, author of Access on Demand, was interviewed as part of this research. He told us that the complete lack of audio description on local video on demand services can be attributed to the lack of Australian legislation requiring it. In an interview as part of this research he explained the central issue with audio description in this country as “the lack of audio description on broadcast TV, which is shocking in a world context”.International providers fare only slightly better. Robert Kingett established the Accessible Netflix Project in 2013 with the stated aim of advocating for the provision of audio description on Netflix. Netflix, despite a lack of a clear accessibility policy, are seen as being in front in terms of overall accessibility—captions are available for most content. However, the provision of audio description was initially not considered to be of such importance, and Netflix were initially against the idea, citing technical difficulties. Nevertheless, in 2015—shortly after their Australian launch—they did eventually introduce audio description on original programming, describing the access feature as an option customers could choose, “just like choosing the soundtrack in a different language” (Wright). However, despite such successful trials, the issue in the Australian market remains the absence of legislation mandating the provision of audio description in Australia and the other video on demand providers have not introduced audio description to compete with Netflix. As the Netflix example illustrates, both legislation and recognition of people with disability as a key audience demographic will result in a more accessible television environment for this group.Currently, it is debatable as to whether this increasingly competitive market, the shifting perception of audience attraction and retention, and the entry of multiple international video on demand providers, has influenced how accessibility is viewed, both for broadcast television and video on demand. Although there is some evidence for an increasing consideration of people with disability as “valid” consumers—take, for example, the iView audio description trial, or the inclusion of audio description by Netflix—our research indicates accessibility is still inconsistently considered, designed for, and applied by current providers.Survey Response: Key Issues Regarding AccessibilityRespondents were asked to provide an overall impression of video on demand services, and to tell us about their positive and negative experiences. Analysis of 68 extended responses, and the responses provided by the interview participants, identified a lack of availability of accessibility features such as audio description as a key problem. What our results indicate is that while customers with a disability are largely accommodating of the inaccessibility of providers—they use their own assistive technology to access content—they are keenly aware of the provisions that could be made. As one respondent put it:they could do a lot better: talking menus, spoken sub titles, and also spoken messages on screen.However, many expressed low expectations due to the continued absence of audio description on broadcast television:so, the other thing is, my expectations are quite low because of years of not having audio descriptions. I have slightly different expectations to other people.This reflection is important in considering both the shifting expectations regarding video on demand providers but also the need for a clear communication of what features are available so that providers can cater to—and therefore capture—niche markets.The survey identified captioning as the main accessibility problem of video on demand services. However, this may not accurately reflect the need for other accessibility features such as audio description. Rather, it may be indicative that this feature is often the only choice given to consumers. As, Chris Mikul identified, “the only disability being catered for to any great extent is deafness/hearing impairment”. Kingett agreed, noting:people who are deaf and hard of hearing are placed way before the rest because captions are beyond easy and cheap to create now. Please, there’s even companies that people use to crowd source captions so companies don’t have to do it anymore. This all came about because the deaf community has [banded] together … to achieve a cause. I know audio description isn’t as cheap to make as captions but, by these companies’ budgets that’s like dropping a penny.Advocacy and Political WillAs noted above, it has been argued by some that accessibility features that address vision impairments have been neglected. The reason behind this is twofold—the perception that this disability is experienced by a minority of the population and that, because blind people “don’t watch television”, it is not an important accessibility feature. This points towards a need for both disability advocacy and political will by politicians to introduce legislation. As one survey respondent identified, the reality is that, in Australia, neither politicians nor people with vision impairments have yet to address the issue on audio description in an organised or sustained way:we have very little audio described content available in Australia. We don’t have the population of blind people nor the political will by politicians to force providers to provide for us.However, Blind Citizens Australia—the coalition of television audiences with vision impairments who lodged the human rights complaint against the government and the ABC—suggest the tide is turning. Whereas advocates for people with vision impairments have traditionally focused on access to the workforce, the issue of television accessibility is increasingly gaining attention, particularly as a result of international activist efforts and the move towards video on demand (see Ellis and Kent).For example, Kingett’s Accessible Netflix Project in the US is considered one of the most successful accessibility movements towards the introduction of audio description. While its members are predominantly US-based, it does include several Australian members and continues to cover Netflix Australia’s stance on audio description, and be covered by Australian media and organisations (including Media Access Australia and Life Hacker). When Netflix launched in Australia, Kingett encouraged Australians to become more involved in the project (Ellis and Kent).However, despite the progress towards mandating of audio description in parliament and the resolution of efforts made by advocacy groups (including Vision Australia and Blind Citizens Australia), the status of audio description remains uncertain. Whilst some support has been gained—specifically through motions made by Senator Siewert and the ABC iView audio description trials—significant change has been slow. For example, conciliation discussions are still ongoing regarding the now four-year-old complaint brought against the ABC and the Federal Government by Blind Citizens Australia. Meanwhile, although the Senate supported Senator Siewert’s motion to change the Broadcasting Services Act to include audio description, the Act has yet to be amended.The results of multiple ABC trials of audio description remain in discussion. Whilst the recently released report on the findings of the April 2015—July 2016 iView trial states that the “trial has identified that those who utilised the audio description service found it a valuable enhancement to their media engagement and their social interactions” (ABC, “ABC iView Audio Description Trial” 18), it also cautioned that “any move to introduce AD services in Australia would have budgetary implications for the broadcasters in a constrained financial environment” and “broader legislative implications” (ABC, “ABC iView Audio Description Trial” 18). Indeed, although the trial was considered “successful”—in that experiences by users were generally positive and the benefits considerable (Media Access Australia, “New Report”)—the continuation of audio description on iView alone was clarified as representing “a systemic failure to provide people who are blind or have low vision with basic access to television now, given that iView is out of reach for many people in the blindness and low vision community” (Media Access Australia, “New Report”). Indeed, the relatively low numbers of plays of audio described content during the trial (158, 277 plays, representing 0.58% of total program plays on iView) were likely a result of a lack of access to smartphones or Internet technology, prohibitive data speeds and/or general Internet costs, all factors which affect the accessibility of video on demand significantly more for people with disability (Ellis et al., “Access for Everyone?”).On a more positive note, the culmination of advocacy pressure, the ABC iView trial, political attention, and increasing academic literature on the accessibility of Australian media has resulted in the establishment of an Audio Description Working Group by the government. This group consists of industry representatives, advocacy group representatives, academics, and “consumer representatives”. The aims of the group are to: identify options to sustainably increase access to audio description services; identify any impediments to the implementation of audio description; provide expert advice on audio description implementation options; and develop a report on the findings due at the end of 2017.ConclusionIn the absence of audio description, people who are blind or vision impaired report a less satisfying television experience (Cronin and King; Kingett). However, with each technological advancement in the delivery of television, from stereo sound to digital television, this group has held hopes for a more accessible experience. The reality, however, has been a continued lack of audio description, particularly in broadcast television.Several commentators have compared the provision of audio description with closed captioning. They find that audio description is not as widely available, and reflect this is likely a result of lack of legislation (Robare; Ellis, “Digital Television Flexibility”)—for example, in the Australian context, whereas the provision of captions is mandated in the Broadcasting Services Act 1992, audio description is not. As a result, there have been limited trials of audio description in this country and inconsistent standards in how to display it. As discussed throughout this paper, people with vision impairments and their allies therefore often draw on the example of the widespread “acceptance” of captions to make the case that audio description should also be more widely available.However, following the introduction of subscription video on demand in Australia, and particularly Netflix, the issue of audio description is receiving greater attention. It has been argued that video on demand has transformed television, particularly the ways in which television is accessed. Video on demand could also potentially transform the way we think about accessibility for audiences with disability. While captions are a well-established accessibility feature facilitating television access for people with a range of disabilities, video on demand is raising the profile of the importance of audio description for audiences with vision impairments.ReferencesABC. “Audio Description Trial on ABC Television: Report to the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy”. Dec. 2012. 8 Apr. 2017 <https://www.communications.gov.au/sites/g/files/net301/f/ABC-Audio-Description-Trial-Report2.pdf>.ABC. “ABC iView Audio Description Trial: Final Report to The Department of Communications and the Arts.” Oct. 2016. 6 Apr. 2017 <https://www.communications.gov.au/documents/final-report-trial-audio-description-abc-iview>.Alper, Meryl, et al. “Reimagining the Good Life with Disability: Communication, New Technology, and Humane Connections.” Communication and the Good Life. Ed. H. Wang. New York: Peter Lang, 2015.Australian Network on Disability. “Disability Statistics.” Mar. 2017. 30 Apr. 2017 <https://www.and.org.au/pages/disability-statistics.html>.Blind Citizens Australia. Government and ABC Fail to Deliver on Accessible TV for Australia’s Blind. Submission. 10 July 2013. 1 May 2017 <http://bca.org.au/submissions/>.C-Scott, Marc. “The Battle for Audiences as Free-TV Viewing Continues Its Decline.” Mumbrella 22 Apr. 2016. 24 May 2016 <https://mumbrella.com.au/the-battle-for-audiences-as-free-tv-viewing-continues-its-decline-362010>.Carmichael, Alex, et al. “Digital Switchover or Digital Divide: A Prognosis for Useable and Accessible Interactive Digital Television in the UK.” Universal Access in the Information Society 4 (2006): 400–16.Cronin, Barry J., and Sharon Robertson King. “The Development of the Descriptive Video Services.” National Center to Improve Practice in Special Education through Technology, Media and Materials. Sep. 1998. 8 May 2014 <https://www2.edc.org/NCIP/library/v&c/Cronin.htm>.Downey, G. “Constructing Closed-Captioning in the Public Interest: From Minority Media Accessibility to Mainstream Educational Technology.” Info 9.2–3 (2007): 69–82.Ellis, Katie. “Digital Television Flexibility: A Survey of Australians with Disability.” Media International Australia 150 (2014): 96.———. “Netflix Closed Captions Offer an Accessible Model for the Streaming Video Industry, But What about Audio Description?” Communication, Politics & Culture 47.3 (2015).———. “Television’s Transition to the Internet: Disability Accessibility and Broadband-Based TV in Australia.” Media International Australia 153 (2014): 53–63.Ellis, Katie, and Mike Kent. “Accessible Television: The New Frontier in Disability Media Studies Brings Together Industry Innovation, Government Legislation and Online Activism.” First Monday 20 (2015). <http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/6170>.Ellis, Katie, et al. Accessing Subscription Video on Demand: A Study of Disability and Streaming Television in Australia. Australian Communications Consumer Action Network. Aug. 2016. <https://accan.org.au/grants/current-grants/1066-accessing-video-on-demand-a-study-of-disability-and-streaming-television>.Ellis, Katie, et al. “Access for Everyone? Australia’s ‘Streaming Wars’ and Consumers with Disabilities.” Continuum (2017, publication pending).Kingett, Robert. “The Accessible Netflix Project Advocates Taking Steps to Ensure Netflix Accessibility for Everyone.” 2014. 30 Jan. 2014 <https://netflixproject.wordpress.com>.Media Access Australia. “Statistics on DVD Accessibility in Australia.” 2012. 21 Nov. 2014 <https://mediaaccess.org.au/dvds/Statistics%20on%20DVD%20accessibility%20in%20Australia>.———. “New Report on the Trial of A.D. on ABC iView.” 7 Mar. 2017. 30 Apr. 2017 <https://mediaaccess.org.au/latest_news/television/new-report-on-the-trial-of-ad-on-abc-iview>.Napoli, Philip M., ed. Audience Evolution: New Technologies and the Transformation of Media Audiences. New York: Columbia UP, 2011.Robare, Joshua S. “Television for All: Increasing Television Accessibility for the Visually Impaired through the FCC’s Ability to Regulate Video Description Technology.” Federal Communications Law Journal 63.2 (2011): 553–78.Tucker, Harry. “Netflix Leads the Streaming Wars, Followed by Foxtel’s Presto.” News.com.au 24 June 2016. 18 May 2016 <http://www.news.com.au/technology/home-entertainment/tv/netflix-leads-the-streaming-wars-followed-by-foxtels-presto/news-story/7adf45dcd7d9486ff47ec5ea5951287f>.Utray, Francisco, et al. “Monitoring Accessibility Services in Digital Television.” International Journal of Digital Multimedia Broadcasting (2012): 9.

Abstract:

IntroductionDespite claims that the importance of distance has been reduced due to technological and communications improvements (Cairncross; Friedman; O’Brien), the ‘power of place’ still resonates, often intensifying the role of geography (Christopherson et al.; Morgan; Pratt; Scott and Storper). Within the film industry, there has been a decentralisation of production from Hollywood, but there remains a spatial logic which has preferenced particular centres, such as Toronto, Vancouver, Sydney and Prague often led by a combination of incentives (Christopherson and Storper; Goldsmith and O’Regan; Goldsmith et al.; Miller et al.; Mould). The emergence of high end television, television programming for which the production budget is more than £1 million per television hour, has presented new opportunities for screen hubs sharing a very similar value chain to the film industry (OlsbergSPI with Nordicity).In recent years, interventions have proliferated with the aim of capitalising on the decentralisation of certain activities in order to attract international screen industries production and embed it within local hubs. Tools for building capacity and expertise have proliferated, including support for studio complex facilities, infrastructural investments, tax breaks and other economic incentives (Cucco; Goldsmith and O’Regan; Jensen; Goldsmith et al.; McDonald; Miller et al.; Mould). Yet experience tells us that these will not succeed everywhere. There is a need for a better understanding of both the capacity for places to build a distinctive and competitive advantage within a highly globalised landscape and the relative merits of alternative interventions designed to generate a sustainable production base.This article first sets out the rationale for the appetite identified in the screen industries for co-location, or clustering and concentration in a tightly drawn physical area, in global hubs of production. It goes on to explore the latest trends of decentralisation and examines the upturn in interventions aimed at attracting mobile screen industries capital and labour. Finally it introduces the Scottish screen industries and explores some of the ways in which Scotland has sought to position itself as a recipient of screen industries activity. The paper identifies some key gaps in infrastructure, most notably a studio, and calls for closer examination of the essential ingredients of, and possible interventions needed for, a vibrant and sustainable industry.A Compulsion for ProximityIt has been argued that particular spatial and place-based factors are central to the development and organisation of the screen industries. The film and television sector, the particular focus of this article, exhibit an extraordinarily high degree of spatial agglomeration, especially favouring centres with global status. It is worth noting that the computer games sector, not explored in this article, slightly diverges from this trend displaying more spatial patterns of decentralisation (Vallance), although key physical hubs of activity have been identified (Champion). Creative products often possess a cachet that is directly associated with their point of origin, for example fashion from Paris, films from Hollywood and country music from Nashville – although it can also be acknowledged that these are often strategic commercial constructions (Pecknold). The place of production represents a unique component of the final product as well as an authentication of substantive and symbolic quality (Scott, “Creative cities”). Place can act as part of a brand or image for creative industries, often reinforcing the advantage of being based in particular centres of production.Very localised historical, cultural, social and physical factors may also influence the success of creative production in particular places. Place-based factors relating to the built environment, including cheap space, public-sector support framework, connectivity, local identity, institutional environment and availability of amenities, are seen as possible influences in the locational choices of creative industry firms (see, for example, Drake; Helbrecht; Hutton; Leadbeater and Oakley; Markusen).Employment trends are notoriously difficult to measure in the screen industries (Christopherson, “Hollywood in decline?”), but the sector does contain large numbers of very small firms and freelancers. This allows them to be flexible but poses certain problems that can be somewhat offset by co-location. The findings of Antcliff et al.’s study of workers in the audiovisual industry in the UK suggested that individuals sought to reconstruct stable employment relations through their involvement in and use of networks. The trust and reciprocity engendered by stable networks, built up over time, were used to offset the risk associated with the erosion of stable employment. These findings are echoed by a study of TV content production in two media regions in Germany by Sydow and Staber who found that, although firms come together to work on particular projects, typically their business relations extend for a much longer period than this. Commonly, firms and individuals who have worked together previously will reassemble for further project work aided by their past experiences and expectations.Co-location allows the development of shared structures: language, technical attitudes, interpretative schemes and ‘communities of practice’ (Bathelt, et al.). Grabher describes this process as ‘hanging out’. Deep local pools of creative and skilled labour are advantageous both to firms and employees (Reimer et al.) by allowing flexibility, developing networks and offsetting risk (Banks et al.; Scott, “Global City Regions”). For example in Cook and Pandit’s study comparing the broadcasting industry in three city-regions, London was found to be hugely advantaged by its unrivalled talent pool, high financial rewards and prestigious projects. As Barnes and Hutton assert in relation to the wider creative industries, “if place matters, it matters most to them” (1251). This is certainly true for the screen industries and their spatial logic points towards a compulsion for proximity in large global hubs.Decentralisation and ‘Sticky’ PlacesDespite the attraction of global production hubs, there has been a decentralisation of screen industries from key centres, starting with the film industry and the vertical disintegration of Hollywood studios (Christopherson and Storper). There are instances of ‘runaway production’ from the 1920s onwards with around 40 per cent of all features being accounted for by offshore production in 1960 (Miller et al., 133). This trend has been increasing significantly in the last 20 years, leading to the genesis of new hubs of screen activity such as Toronto, Vancouver, Sydney and Prague (Christopherson, “Project work in context”; Goldsmith et al.; Mould; Miller et al.; Szczepanik). This development has been prompted by a multiplicity of reasons including favourable currency value differentials and economic incentives. Subsidies and tax breaks have been offered to secure international productions with most countries demanding that, in order to qualify for tax relief, productions have to spend a certain amount of their budget within the local economy, employ local crew and use domestic creative talent (Hill). Extensive infrastructure has been developed including studio complexes to attempt to lure productions with the advantage of a full service offering (Goldsmith and O’Regan).Internationally, Canada has been the greatest beneficiary of ‘runaway production’ with a state-led enactment of generous film incentives since the late 1990s (McDonald). Vancouver and Toronto are the busiest locations for North American Screen production after Los Angeles and New York, due to exchange rates and tax rebates on labour costs (Miller et al., 141). 80% of Vancouver’s production is attributable to runaway production (Jensen, 27) and the city is considered by some to have crossed a threshold as:It now possesses sufficient depth and breadth of talent to undertake the full array of pre-production, production and post-production services for the delivery of major motion pictures and TV programmes. (Barnes and Coe, 19)Similarly, Toronto is considered to have established a “comprehensive set of horizontal and vertical media capabilities” to ensure its status as a “full function media centre” (Davis, 98). These cities have successfully engaged in entrepreneurial activity to attract production (Christopherson, “Project Work in Context”) and in Vancouver the proactive role of provincial government and labour unions are, in part, credited with its success (Barnes and Coe). Studio-complex infrastructure has also been used to lure global productions, with Toronto, Melbourne and Sydney all being seen as key examples of where such developments have been used as a strategic priority to take local production capacity to the next level (Goldsmith and O’Regan).Studies which provide a historiography of the development of screen-industry hubs emphasise a complex interplay of social, cultural and physical conditions. In the complex and global flows of the screen industries, ‘sticky’ hubs have emerged with the ability to attract and retain capital and skilled labour. Despite being principally organised to attract international production, most studio complexes, especially those outside of global centres need to have a strong relationship to local or national film and television production to ensure the sustainability and depth of the labour pool (Goldsmith and O’Regan, 2003). Many have a broadcaster on site as well as a range of companies with a media orientation and training facilities (Goldsmith and O’Regan, 2003; Picard, 2008). The emergence of film studio complexes in the Australian Gold Coast and Vancouver was accompanied by an increasing role for television production and this multi-purpose nature was important for the continuity of production.Fostering a strong community of below the line workers, such as set designers, locations managers, make-up artists and props manufacturers, can also be a clear advantage in attracting international productions. For example at Cinecitta in Italy, the expertise of set designers and experienced crews in the Barrandov Studios of Prague are regarded as major selling points of the studio complexes there (Goldsmith and O’Regan; Miller et al.; Szczepanik). Natural and built environments are also considered very important for film and television firms and it is a useful advantage for capturing international production when cities can double for other locations as in the cases of Toronto, Vancouver, Prague for example (Evans; Goldsmith and O’Regan; Szczepanik). Toronto, for instance, has doubled for New York in over 100 films and with regard to television Due South’s (1994-1998) use of Toronto as Chicago was estimated to have saved 40 per cent in costs (Miller et al., 141).The Scottish Screen Industries Within mobile flows of capital and labour, Scotland has sought to position itself as a recipient of screen industries activity through multiple interventions, including investment in institutional frameworks, direct and indirect economic subsidies and the development of physical infrastructure. Traditionally creative industry activity in the UK has been concentrated in London and the South East which together account for 43% of the creative economy workforce (Bakhshi et al.). In order, in part to redress this imbalance and more generally to encourage the attraction and retention of international production a range of policies have been introduced focused on the screen industries. A revised Film Tax Relief was introduced in 2007 to encourage inward investment and prevent offshoring of indigenous production, and this has since been extended to high-end television, animation and children’s programming. Broadcasting has also experienced a push for decentralisation led by public funding with a responsibility to be regionally representative. The BBC (“BBC Annual Report and Accounts 2014/15”) is currently exceeding its target of 50% network spend outside London by 2016, with 17% spent in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Channel 4 has similarly committed to commission at least 9% of its original spend from the nations by 2020. Studios have been also developed across the UK including at Roath Lock (Cardiff), Titanic Studios (Belfast), MedicaCity (Salford) and The Sharp Project (Manchester).The creative industries have been identified as one of seven growth sectors for Scotland by the government (Scottish Government). In 2010, the film and video sector employed 3,500 people and contributed £120 million GVA and £120 million adjusted GVA to the economy and the radio and TV sector employed 3,500 people and contributed £50 million GVA and £400 million adjusted GVA (The Scottish Parliament). Beyond the direct economic benefits of sectors, the on-screen representation of Scotland has been claimed to boost visitor numbers to the country (EKOS) and high profile international film productions have been attracted including Skyfall (2012) and WWZ (2013).Scotland has historically attracted international film and TV productions due to its natural locations (VisitScotland) and on average, between 2009-2014, six big budget films a year used Scottish locations both urban and rural (BOP Consulting, 2014). In all, a total of £20 million was generated by film-making in Glasgow during 2011 (Balkind) with WWZ (2013) and Cloud Atlas (2013), representing Philadelphia and San Francisco respectively, as well as doubling for Edinburgh for the recent acclaimed Scottish films Filth (2013) and Sunshine on Leith (2013). Sanson (80) asserts that the use of the city as a site for international productions not only brings in direct revenue from production money but also promotes the city as a “fashionable place to live, work and visit. Creativity makes the city both profitable and ‘cool’”.Nonetheless, issues persist and it has been suggested that Scotland lacks a stable and sustainable film industry, with low indigenous production levels and variable success from year to year in attracting inward investment (BOP Consulting). With regard to crew, problems with an insufficient production base have been identified as an issue in maintaining a pipeline of skills (BOP Consulting). Developing ‘talent’ is a central aspect of the Scottish Government’s Strategy for the Creative Industries, yet there remains the core challenge of retaining skills and encouraging new talent into the industry (BOP Consulting).With regard to film, a lack of substantial funding incentives and the absence of a studio have been identified as a key concern for the sector. For example, within the film industry the majority of inward investment filming in Scotland is location work as it lacks the studio facilities that would enable it to sustain a big-budget production in its entirety (BOP Consulting). The absence of such infrastructure has been seen as contributing to a drain of Scottish talent from these industries to other areas and countries where there is a more vibrant sector (BOP Consulting). The loss of Scottish talent to Northern Ireland was attributed to the longevity of the work being provided by Games of Thrones (2011-) now having completed its six series at the Titanic Studios in Belfast (EKOS) although this may have been stemmed somewhat recently with the attraction of US high-end TV series Outlander (2014-) which has been based at Wardpark in Cumbernauld since 2013.Television, both high-end production and local broadcasting, appears crucial to the sustainability of screen production in Scotland. Outlander has been estimated to contribute to Scotland’s production spend figures reaching a historic high of £45.8 million in 2014 (Creative Scotland ”Creative Scotland Screen Strategy Update”). The arrival of the program has almost doubled production spend in Scotland, offering the chance for increased stability for screen industries workers. Qualifying for UK High-End Television Tax Relief, Outlander has engaged a crew of approximately 300 across props, filming and set build, and cast over 2,000 supporting artist roles from within Scotland and the UK.Long running drama, in particular, offers key opportunities for both those cutting their teeth in the screen industries and also by providing more consistent and longer-term employment to existing workers. BBC television soap River City (2002-) has been identified as a key example of such an opportunity and the programme has been credited with providing a springboard for developing the skills of local actors, writers and production crew (Hibberd). This kind of pipeline of production is critical given the work patterns of the sector. According to Creative Skillset, of the 4,000 people in Scotland are employed in the film and television industries, 40% of television workers are freelance and 90% of film production work in freelance (EKOS).In an attempt to address skills gaps, the Outlander Trainee Placement Scheme has been devised in collaboration with Creative Scotland and Creative Skillset. During filming of Season One, thirty-eight trainees were supported across a range of production and craft roles, followed by a further twenty-five in Season Two. Encouragingly Outlander, and the books it is based on, is set in Scotland so the authenticity of place has played a strong component in the decision to locate production there. Producer David Brown began his career on Bill Forsyth films Gregory’s Girl (1981), Local Hero (1983) and Comfort and Joy (1984) and has a strong existing relationship to Scotland. He has been very vocal in his support for the trainee program, contending that “training is the future of our industry and we at Outlander see the growth of talent and opportunities as part of our mission here in Scotland” (“Outlander fast tracks next generation of skilled screen talent”).ConclusionsThis article has aimed to explore the relationship between place and the screen industries and, taking Scotland as its focus, has outlined a need to more closely examine the ways in which the sector can be supported. Despite the possible gains in terms of building a sustainable industry, the state-led funding of the global screen industries is contested. The use of tax breaks and incentives has been problematised and critiques range from use of public funding to attract footloose media industries to the increasingly zero sum game of competition between competing places (Morawetz; McDonald). In relation to broadcasting, there have been critiques of a ‘lift and shift’ approach to policy in the UK, with TV production companies moving to the nations and regions temporarily to meet the quota and leaving once a production has finished (House of Commons). Further to this, issues have been raised regarding how far such interventions can seed and develop a rich production ecology that offers opportunities for indigenous talent (Christopherson and Rightor).Nonetheless recent success for the screen industries in Scotland can, at least in part, be attributed to interventions including increased decentralisation of broadcasting and the high-end television tax incentives. This article has identified gaps in infrastructure which continue to stymie growth and have led to production drain to other centres. 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Pugsley, Peter. "At Home in Singaporean Sitcoms." M/C Journal 10, no.4 (August1, 2007). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.2695.

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The use of the family home as a setting for television sitcoms (situation comedies) has long been recognised for its ability to provide audiences with an identifiable site of ontological security (much discussed by Giddens, Scannell, Saunders and others). From the beginnings of American sitcoms with such programs as Leave it to Beaver, and through the trail of The Brady Bunch, The Cosby Show, Roseanne, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, and on to Home Improvement, That 70s Show and How I Met Your Mother, the US has led the way with screenwriters and producers capitalising on the value of using the suburban family dwelling as a fixed setting. The most obvious advantage is the use of an easily constructed and inexpensive set, most often on a TV studio soundstage requiring only a few rooms (living room, kitchen and bedroom are usually enough to set the scene), and a studio audience. In Singapore, sitcoms have had similar successes; portraying the lives of ‘ordinary people’ in their home settings. Some programs have achieved phenomenal success, including an unprecedented ten year run for Phua Chu Kang Pte Ltd from 1996-2007, closely followed by Under One Roof (1994-2000 and an encore season in 2002), and Living with Lydia (2001-2005). This article furthers Blunt and Dowling’s exploration of the “critical geography” of home, by providing a focused analysis of home-based sitcoms in the nation-state of Singapore. The use of the home tells us a lot. Roseanne’s cluttered family home represents a lived reality for working-class families throughout the Western world. In Friends, the seemingly wealthy ‘young’ people live in a fashionable apartment building, while Seinfeld’s apartment block is much less salubrious, indicating (in line with the character) the struggle of the humble comedian. Each of these examples tells us something about not just the characters, but quite often about class, race, and contemporary societies. In the Singaporean programs, the home in Under One Roof (hereafter UOR) represents the major form of housing in Singapore, and the program as a whole demonstrates the workability of Singaporean multiculturalism in a large apartment block. Phua Chu Kang Pte Ltd (PCK) demonstrates the entrepreneurial abilities of even under-educated Singaporeans, with its lead character, a building contractor, living in a large freestanding dwelling – generally reserved for the well-heeled of Singaporean society. And in Living with Lydia (LWL) (a program which demonstrates Singapore’s capacity for global integration), Hong Kong émigré Lydia is forced to share a house (less ostentatious than PCK’s) with the family of the hapless Billy B. Ong. There is perhaps no more telling cultural event than the sitcom. In the 1970s, The Brady Bunch told us more about American values and habits than any number of news reports or cop shows. A nation’s identity is uncovered; it bares its soul to us through the daily tribulations of its TV households. In Singapore, home-based sitcoms have been one of the major success stories in local television production with each of these three programs collecting multiple prizes at the region-wide Asian Television Awards. These sitcoms have been able to reflect the ideals and values of the Singaporean nation to audiences both at ‘home’ and abroad. This article explores the worlds of UOR, PCK, and LWL, and the ways in which each of the fictional homes represents key features of the multi-ethnic, multi-cultural Singapore. Through ownership and regulation, Singaporean TV programs operate as a firm link between the state and its citizens. These sitcoms follow regular patterns where the ‘man of the house’ is more buffoon than breadwinner – in a country defined by its neo-Confucian morality, sitcoms allow a temporary subversion of patriarchal structures. In this article I argue that the central theme in Singaporean sitcoms is that while home is a personal space, it is also a valuable site for national identities to be played out. These identities are visible in the physical indicators of the exterior and interior living spaces, and the social indicators representing a benign patriarchy and a dominant English language. Structure One of the key features of sitcoms is the structure: cold open – titles – establishing shot – opening scene. Generally the cold opening (aka “the teaser”) takes place inside the home to quickly (re)establish audience familiarity with the location and the characters. The title sequence then features, in the case of LWL and PCK, the characters outside the house (in LWL this is in cartoon format), and in UOR (see Figure 1) it is the communal space of the barbeque area fronting the multi-story HDB (Housing Development Board) apartment blocks. Figure 1: Under One Roof The establishing shot at the end of each title sequence, and when returning from ad breaks, is an external view of the characters’ respective dwellings. In Seinfeld this establishing shot is the New York apartment block, in Roseanne it is the suburban house, and the Singaporean sitcoms follow the same format (see Figure 2). Figure 2: Phua Chu Kang External Visions of the Home This emphasis on exterior buildings reminds the viewer that Singaporean housing is, in many ways, unique. As a city-state (and a young one at that) its spatial constraints are particularly limiting: there simply isn’t room for suburban housing on quarter acre blocks. It rapidly transformed from an “empty rock” to a scattered Malay settlement of bay and riverside kampongs (villages) recognisable by its stilt houses. Then in the shadow of colonialism and the rise of modernity, the kampongs were replaced in many cases by European-inspired terrace houses. Finally, in the post-colonial era high-rise housing began to swell through the territory, creating what came to be known as the “HDB new town”, with some 90% of the population now said to reside in HDB units, and many others living in private high-rises (Chang 102, 104). Exterior shots used in UOR (see Figure 3) consistently emphasise the distinctive HDB blocks. As with the kampong housing, high-rise apartments continue notions of communal living in that “Living below, above and side by side other people requires tolerance of neighbours and a respect towards the environment of the housing estate for the good of all” (104). The provision of readily accessible public housing was part of the “covenant between the newly enfranchised electorate and the elected government” (Chua 47). Figure 3: Establishing shot from UOR In UOR, we see the constant interruption of the lives of the Tan family by their multi-ethnic neighbours. This occurs to such an extent as to be a part of the normal daily flow of life in Singaporean society. Chang argues that despite the normally interventionist activities of the state, it is the “self-enforcing norms” of behaviour that have worked in maintaining a “peaceable society in high-rise housing” (104). This communitarian attitude even extends to the large gated residence of PCK, home to an almost endless stream of relatives and friends. The gate itself seems to perform no restrictive function. But such a “peaceable society” can also be said to be a result of state planning which extends to the “racial majoritarianism” imposed on HDB units in the form of quotas determining “the actual number of households of each of the three major races [Chinese, Malay and Indian] … to be accommodated in a block of flats” (Chua 55). Issues of race are important in Singapore where “the inscription of media imagery bears the cultural discourse and materiality of the social milieu” (Wong 120) perhaps nowhere more graphically illustrated than in the segregation of TV channels along linguistic / cultural lines. These 3 programs all featured on MediaCorp TV’s predominantly English-language Channel 5 and are, in the words of Roland Barthes, “anchored” by dint of their use of English. Home Will Eat Itself The consumption of home-based sitcoms by audiences in their own living-rooms creates a somewhat self-parodying environment. As John Ellis once noted, it is difficult to escape from the notion that “TV is a profoundly domestic phenomenon” (113) in that it constantly attempts to “include the audiences own conception of themselves into the texture of its programmes” (115). In each of the three Singaporean programs living-rooms are designed to seat characters in front of a centrally located TV set – at most all the audience sees is the back of the TV, and generally only when the TV is incorporated into a storyline, as in the case of PCK in Figure 4 (note the TV set in the foreground). Figure 4: PCK Even in this episode of PCK when the lead characters stumble across a p*rnographic video starring one of the other lead characters, the viewer only hears the program. Perhaps the most realistic (and acerbic) view of how TV reorganises our lives – both spatially in the physical layout of our homes, and temporally in the way we construct our viewing habits (eating dinner or doing the housework while watching the screen) – is the British “black comedy”, The Royle Family. David Morley (443) notes that “TV and other media have adapted themselves to the circ*mstances of domestic consumption while the domestic arena itself has been simultaneously redefined to accommodate their requirements”. Morley refers to The Royle Family’s narrative that rests on the idea that “for many people, family life and watching TV have become indistinguishable to the extent that, in this fictional household, it is almost entirely conducted from the sitting positions of the viewers clustered around the set” (436). While TV is a central fixture in most sitcoms, its use is mostly as a peripheral thematic device with characters having their viewing interrupted by the arrival of another character, or by a major (within the realms of the plot) event. There is little to suggest that “television schedules have instigated a significant restructuring of family routines” as shown in Livingstone’s audience-based study of UK viewers (104). In the world of the sitcom, the temporalities of characters’ lives do not need to accurately reflect that of “real life” – or if they do, things quickly descend to the bleakness exemplified by the sedentary Royles. As Scannell notes, “broadcast output, like daily life, is largely uneventful, and both are punctuated (predictably and unpredictably) by eventful occasions” (4). To show sitcom characters in this static, passive environment would be anathema to the “real” viewer, who would quickly lose interest. This is not to suggest that sitcoms are totally benign though as with all genres they are “the outcome of social practices, received procedures that become objectified in the narratives of television, then modified in the interpretive act of viewing” (Taylor 14). In other words, they feature a contextualisation that is readily identifiable to members of an established society. However, within episodes themselves, it as though time stands still – character development is almost non-existent, or extremely slow at best and we see each episode has “flattened past and future into an eternal present in which parents love and respect one another, and their children forever” (Taylor 16). It takes some six seasons before the character of PCK becomes a father, although in previous seasons he acts as a mentor to his nephew, Aloysius. Contained in each episode, in true sitcom style, are particular “narrative lines” in which “one-liners and little comic situations [are] strung on a minimal plot line” containing a minor problem “the solution to which will take 22 minutes and pull us gently through the sequence of events toward a conclusion” (Budd et al. 111). It is important to note that the sitcom genre does not work in every culture, as each locale renders the sitcom with “different cultural meanings” (Nielsen 95). Writing of the failure of the Danish series Three whor*s and a Pickpocket (with a premise like that, how could it fail?), Nielsen (112) attributes its failure to the mixing of “kitchen sink realism” with “moments of absurdity” and “psychological drama with expressionistic camera work”, moving it well beyond the strict mode of address required by the genre. In Australia, soap operas Home and Away and Neighbours have been infinitely more popular than our attempts at sitcoms – which had a brief heyday in the 1980s with Hey Dad..!, Kingswood Country and Mother and Son – although Kath and Kim (not studio-based) could almost be counted. Lichter et al. (11) state that “television entertainment can be ‘political’ even when it does not deal with the stuff of daily headlines or partisan controversy. Its latent politics lie in the unavoidable portrayal of individuals, groups, and institutions as a backdrop to any story that occupies the foreground”. They state that US television of the 1960s was dominated by the “idiot sitcom” and that “To appreciate these comedies you had to believe that social conventions were so ironclad they could not tolerate variations. The scripts assumed that any minute violation of social conventions would lead to a crisis that could be played for comic results” (15). Series like Happy Days “harked back to earlier days when problems were trivial and personal, isolated from the concerns of a larger world” (17). By the late 1980s, Roseanne and Married…With Children had “spawned an antifamily-sitcom format that used sarcasm, cynicism, and real life problems to create a type of in-your-face comedy heretofore unseen on prime time” (20). This is markedly different from the type of values presented in Singaporean sitcoms – where filial piety and an unrelenting faith in the family unit is sacrosanct. In this way, Singaporean sitcoms mirror the ideals of earlier US sitcoms which idealise the “egalitarian family in which parental wisdom lies in appeals to reason and fairness rather than demands for obedience” (Lichter et al. 406). Dahlgren notes that we are the products of “an ongoing process of the shaping and reshaping of identity, in response to the pluralised sets of social forces, cultural currents and personal contexts encountered by individuals” where we end up with “composite identities” (318). Such composite identities make the presentation (or re-presentation) of race problematic for producers of mainstream television. Wong argues that “Within the context of PAP hegemony, media presentation of racial differences are manufactured by invoking and resorting to traditional values, customs and practices serving as symbols and content” (118). All of this is bound within a classificatory system in which each citizen’s identity card is inscribed as Chinese, Malay, Indian or Other (often referred to as CMIO), and a broader social discourse in which “the Chinese are linked to familial values of filial piety and the practice of extended family, the Malays to Islam and rural agricultural activities, and the Indians to the caste system” (Wong 118). However, these sitcoms avoid directly addressing the issue of race, preferring to accentuate cultural differences instead. In UOR the tables are turned when a none-too-subtle dig at the crude nature of mainland Chinese (with gags about the state of public toilets), is soon turned into a more reverential view of Chinese culture and business acumen. Internal Visions of the Home This reverence for Chinese culture is also enacted visually. The loungeroom settings of these three sitcoms all provide examples of the fashioning of the nation through a “ubiquitous semi-visibility” (Noble 59). Not only are the central characters in each of these sitcoms constructed as ethnically Chinese, but the furnishings provide a visible nod to Chinese design in the lacquered screens, chairs and settees of LWL (see Figure 5.1), in the highly visible pair of black inlaid mother-of-pearl wall hangings of UOR (see Figure 5.2) and in the Chinese statuettes and wall-hangings found in the PCK home. Each of these items appears in the central view of the shows most used setting, the lounge/family room. There is often symmetry involved as well; the balanced pearl hangings of UOR are mirrored in a set of silk prints in LWL and the pair of ceramic Chinese lions in PCK. Figure 5.1: LWL Figure 5.2: UOR Thus, all three sitcoms feature design elements that reflect visible links to Chinese culture and sentiments, firmly locating the sitcoms “in Asia”, and providing a sense of the nation. The sets form an important role in constructing a realist environment, one in which “identification with realist narration involves a temporary merger of at least some of the viewer’s identity with the position offered by the text” (Budd et al. 110). These constant silent reminders of the Chinese-based hegemon – the cultural “majoritarianism” – anchors the sitcoms to a determined concept of the nation-state, and reinforces the “imaginative geographies of home” (Blunt and Dowling 247). The Foolish “Father” Figure in a Patriarchal Society But notions of a dominant Chinese culture are dealt with in a variety of ways in these sitcoms – not the least in a playful attitude toward patriarchal figures. In UOR, the Tan family “patriarch” is played by Moses Lim, in PCK, Gurmit Singh plays Phua and in LWL Samuel Chong plays Billy B. Ong (or, as Lydia mistakenly refers to him Billy Bong). Erica Sharrer makes the claim that class is a factor in presenting the father figure as buffoon, and that US sitcoms feature working class families in which “the father is made to look inept, silly, or incompetent have become more frequent” partly in response to changing societal structures where “women are shouldering increasing amounts of financial responsibility in the home” (27). Certainly in the three series looked at here, PCK (the tradesman) is presented as the most derided character in his role as head of the household. Moses Lim’s avuncular Tan Ah Teck is presented mostly as lovably foolish, even when reciting his long-winded moral tales at the conclusion of each episode, and Billy B. Ong, as a middle-class businessman, is presented more as a victim of circ*mstance than as a fool. Sharrer ponders whether “sharing the burden of bread-winning may be associated with fathers perceiving they are losing advantages to which they were traditionally entitled” (35). But is this really a case of males losing the upper hand? Hanke argues that men are commonly portrayed as the target of humour in sitcoms, but only when they “are represented as absurdly incongruous” to the point that “this discursive strategy recuperates patriarchal notions” (90). The other side of the coin is that while the “dominant discursive code of patriarchy might be undone” (but isn’t), “the sitcom’s strategy for containing women as ‘wives’ and ‘mothers’ is always contradictory and open to alternative readings” (Hanke 77). In Singapore’s case though, we often return to images of the women in the kitchen, folding the washing or agonising over the work/family dilemma, part of what Blunt and Dowling refer to as the “reproduction of patriarchal and heterosexist relations” often found in representations of “the ideal’ suburban home” (29). Eradicating Singlish One final aspect of these sitcoms is the use of language. PM Lee Hsien Loong once said that he had no interest in “micromanaging” the lives of Singaporeans (2004). Yet his two predecessors (PM Goh and PM Lee Senior) both reflected desires to do so by openly criticising the influence of Phua Chu Kang’s liberal use of colloquial phrases and phrasing. While the use of Singlish (or Singapore Colloquial English / SCE) in these sitcoms is partly a reflection of everyday life in Singapore, by taking steps to eradicate it through the Speak Good English movement, the government offers an intrusion into the private home-space of Singaporeans (Ho 17). Authorities fear that increased use of Singlish will damage the nation’s ability to communicate on a global basis, withdrawing to a locally circ*mscribed “pidgin English” (Rubdy 345). Indeed, the use of Singlish in UOR is deliberately underplayed in order to capitalise on overseas sales of the show (which aired, for example, on Australia’s SBS television) (Srilal). While many others have debated the Singlish issue, my concern is with its use in the home environment as representative of Singaporean lifestyles. As novelist Hwee Hwee Tan (2000) notes: Singlish is crude precisely because it’s rooted in Singapore’s unglamorous past. This is a nation built from the sweat of uncultured immigrants who arrived 100 years ago to bust their asses in the boisterous port. Our language grew out of the hardships of these ancestors. Singlish thus offers users the opportunity to “show solidarity, comradeship and intimacy (despite differences in background)” and against the state’s determined efforts to adopt the language of its colonizer (Ho 19-20). For this reason, PCK’s use of Singlish iterates a “common man” theme in much the same way as Paul Hogan’s “Ocker” image of previous decades was seen as a unifying feature of mainstream Australian values. That the fictional PCK character was eventually “forced” to take “English” lessons (a storyline rapidly written into the program after the direct criticisms from the various Prime Ministers), is a sign that the state has other ideas about the development of Singaporean society, and what is broadcast en masse into Singaporean homes. Conclusion So what do these home-based sitcoms tell us about Singaporean nationalism? Firstly, within the realms of a multiethnic society, mainstream representations reflect the hegemony present in the social and economic structures of Singapore. Chinese culture is dominant (albeit in an English-speaking environment) and Indian, Malay and Other cultures are secondary. Secondly, the home is a place of ontological security, and partial adornment with cultural ornaments signifying Chinese culture are ever-present as a reminder of the Asianness of the sitcom home, ostensibly reflecting the everyday home of the audience. The concept of home extends beyond the plywood-prop walls of the soundstage though. As Noble points out, “homes articulate domestic spaces to national experience” (54) through the banal nationalism exhibited in “the furniture of everyday life” (55). In a Singaporean context, Velayutham (extending the work of Morley) explores the comforting notion of Singapore as “home” to its citizens and concludes that the “experience of home and belonging amongst Singaporeans is largely framed in the materiality and social modernity of everyday life” (4). Through the use of sitcoms, the state is complicit in creating and recreating the family home as a site for national identities, adhering to dominant modes of culture and language. References Blunt, Alison, and Robyn Dowling. Home. London: Routledge, 2006. Budd, Mike, Steve Craig, and Clay Steinman. Consuming Environments: Television and Commercial Culture. New Jersey: Rutgers UP, 1999. Chang, Sishir. “A High-Rise Vernacular in Singapore’s Housing Development Board Housing.” Berkeley Planning Journal 14 (2000): 97-116. Chua, Beng Huat. “Public Housing Residents as Clients of the State.” Housing Studies 15.1 (2000). Dahlgren, Peter. “Media, Citizenship and Civic Culture”. Mass Media and Society. 3rd ed. Eds. James Curran and Michael Gurevitch. London: Arnold, 2000. 310-328. Ellis, John. Visible Fictions: Cinema, Television, Video. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1982. Hanke, Robert. “The ‘Mock-Macho’ Situation Comedy: Hegemonic Masculinity and its Reiteration.” Western Journal of Communication 62.1 (1998). Ho, Debbie G.E. “‘I’m Not West. I’m Not East. So How Leh?’” English Today 87 22.3 (2006). Lee, Hsien Loong. “Our Future of Opportunity and Promise.” National Day Rally 2004 Speech. 29 Apr. 2007 http://www.gov.sg/nd/ND04.htm>. Lichter, S. Robert, Linda S. Lichter, and Stanley Rothman. Prime Time: How TV Portrays American Culture. Washington D.C.: Regnery Publishing, 1994. Livingstone, Sonia. Young People and New Media: Childhood and the Changing Media Environment. London: Sage, 2002 Morley, David. “What’s ‘Home’ Got to Do with It? Contradictory Dynamics in the Domestication of Technology and the Dislocation of Domesticity.” European Journal of Cultural Studies 6 (2003). Noble, Greg. “Comfortable and Relaxed: Furnishing the Home and Nation.” Continuum: Journal of Media and Cultural Studies 16.1 (2002). Rubdy, Rani. “Creative Destruction: Singapore’s Speak Good English Movement.” World Englishes 20.3 (2001). Scannell, Paddy. “For a Phenomenology of Radio and Television.” Journal of Communication 45.3 (1995). Scharrer, Erica. “From Wise to Foolish: The Portrayal of the Sitcom Father, 1950s-1990s.” Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media 45.1 (2001). Srilal, Mohan. “Quick Quick: ‘Singlish’ Is Out in Re-education Campaign.” Asia Times Online (28 Aug. 1999). Tan, Hwee Hwee. “A War of Words over ‘Singlish’: Singapore’s Government Wants Its Citizens to Speak Good English, But They Would Rather Be ‘Talking co*ck’.” Time International 160.3 (29 July 2002). Taylor, Ella. “From the Nelsons to the Huxtables: Genre and Family Imagery in American Network Television.” Qualitative Sociology 12.1 (1989). Velayutham, Selvaraj. “Affect, Materiality, and the Gift of Social Life in Singapore.” SOJOURN 19.1 (2004). Wong, Kokkeong. Media and Culture in Singapore: A Theory of Controlled Commodification. New Jersey: Hampton Press, 2001. Images Under One Roof: The Special Appearances. Singapore: Television Corporation of Singapore. VCD. 2000. Living with Lydia (Season 1, Volume 1). Singapore: MediaCorp Studios, Blue Max Enterprise. VCD. 2001. Phua Chu Kang Pte Ltd (Season 5, Episode 10). Kuala Lumpur: MediaCorp Studios, Speedy Video Distributors. VCD. 2003. Citation reference for this article MLA Style Pugsley, Peter. "At Home in Singaporean Sitcoms: Under One Roof, Living with Lydia and Phua Chu Kang." M/C Journal 10.4 (2007). echo date('d M. Y'); ?> <http://journal.media-culture.org.au/0708/09-pugsley.php>. APA Style Pugsley, P. (Aug. 2007) "At Home in Singaporean Sitcoms: Under One Roof, Living with Lydia and Phua Chu Kang," M/C Journal, 10(4). Retrieved echo date('d M. Y'); ?> from <http://journal.media-culture.org.au/0708/09-pugsley.php>.

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Zuvela, Danni. "An Interview with the Makers of Value-Added Cinema." M/C Journal 6, no.3 (June1, 2003). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.2183.

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Things would never be the same again. As sales went through the roof, with some breathless estimates in the region of a 200% increase overnight, marketers practically wet their pants at the phenomenal success of the chocolate bar seen by millions in ET: the Extraterrestrial. That was back in 1982. Though not the first instance of product placement ‘at the movies’, the strategic placement of Reese’s Pieces in ET is often hailed as the triumphant marketing moment heralding the onset of the era of embedded advertising in popular media. Today, much media consumption is characterised by aggressive branding strategies. We’ve all seen ostentatious product wrangling – the unnatural handling of items (especially chocolate bars and bottled drinks) to best display their logo (regardless of considerations of verisimilitude, or even common sense), and ungainly product mentions in dialogue (who can forget the early Jude Law shocker Shopping?) that have passed into the realm of satire. In television and feature filmmaking, props bearing corporate trademarks not only supplement, but often sustain production budgets. Some programs appear to be entirely contrived around such sponsors. Australian commercial television makes no secret of the increasingly non-existent line between ‘entertainment’ and ‘advertising’, though it still purports to describe ‘lifestyle’ shows as ‘reality’ television. With the introduction of technologies like TiVO which enable consumers to skip over ads, the move is from ‘interruptive’ style advertising between programs or segments, to products insinuated in the décor – and increasingly scripts – of programs themselves, with correspondent online shopping opportunities for digital consumers. An entire industry of middle-people – sometimes euphemistically self-described as ‘prop houses’ – has sprung up to service the lucrative product placement industry, orchestrating the insertion of branded products into television and films. The industry has grown to such an extent that it holds an annual backpatting event, the Product Placement Awards, “to commemorate and celebrate product placement” in movies, television shows, music etc. But ‘advertising by stealth’ is not necessarily passively accepted by media consumers – nor media makers. The shoe-horning of brands and their logos into the products of popular culture not only defines the culture industry today, but also characterises much of the resistance to it. ‘Logo-backlash’ is seen as an inevitable response to the incursion of brands into public life, an explicit rejection of the practice of securing consumer mindshare, and subvertisem*nts and billboard liberation activities have been mainstays of culture jamming for decades now. However, criticism of product placement remains highly problematic: when the Center for the Study of Commercialism argued that movies have become “dangerously” saturated with products and suggested that full disclosure in the form of a list, in a film’s credits, of paid product appearances, many noted the counterproductivity of such an approach, arguing that it would only result in further registration – and hence promotion – of the brand. Not everyone subscribes to advertising’s ‘any news is good news’ thesis, however. Peter Conheim and Steve Seidler decided to respond to the behemoth of product placement with a ‘catalogue of sins’. Their new documentary Value Added Cinema meticulously chronicles the appearance of placed products in Hollywood cinema. Here they discuss the film, which is continuing to receive rave reviews in the US and Europe. Danni Zuvela: Can you tell me a little about yourselves? Peter: I’m a musician and filmmaker living in the San Francisco Bay Area who wears too many hats. I play in three performing and recording groups (Mono Pause, Wet Gate, Negativland) and somehow found the time to sit in front of a Mac for six weeks to edit and mix VALUE-ADDED CINEMA. Because Steve is a persuasive salesperson. Steve: I’ve been a curator for the past decade and a half, showing experimental works week after week, month after month, year after year, at the Pacific Film Archive. It was about time to make a tape of my own and Peter was crazy enough to indulge me. DZ: Why product placement? Why do you think it’s important? Where did this documentary come from? S: Steven Spielberg released Minority Report last year and it just raised my hackles. The film actually encourages the world it seems to critique by stressing the inter-relationship of his alleged art with consumerism in the present day and then extending that into a vision of the future within the film itself. In other words, he has already realized the by-product of an alarming dystopia of surveillance, monolithic policing, and capital. That by-product is his film. The rumor mill says that he was reimbursed to the tune of $25 million for the placements. So not only can he not see a constructive path out of dystopia, a path leading toward a more liberating future, he makes millions from his exhausted imagination. What could be more cynical? But Spielberg isn’t alone within the accelerating subsumption of mainstream cinema into the spectacle of pure consumption. He’s just more visible than most. But to consider product placements more directly for a moment: during the past few years, mainstream cinema has been little more than an empty exercise in consumerist viewership. The market-driven incentives that shape films, determining story-lines, exaggerating cultural norms, striving toward particular demographics, whatever, have nothing to do with art or social change and everything to do with profit, pandering, and promulgation. Movies are product placements, the product is a world view of limitless consumption. Value-Added Cinema is about the product-that-announces-itself, the one we recognize as a crystallization of the more encompassing worldview, the sole commodity, spot-lit, adored, assimilated. So why Value-Added Cinema? You’ve got to start somewhere. DZ: Can you tell me a bit about the production process – how did you go about getting the examples you use in the film? Were there any copyright hassles? P: Steve did nearly all of the legwork in that he spent weeks and weeks researching the subject, both on-line and in speaking to people about their recollections of product placement sequences in films they’d seen. He then suffered through close to a hundred films on VHS and DVD, using the fast-forward and cue controls as often as possible, to locate said sequences. We then sat down and started cutting, based at first on groupings Steve had made (a bunch of fast food references, etc.). Using these as a springboard, we quickly realized the narrative potential inherent in all these “narrative film” clips , and before long we were linking sequences and making them refer to one another, sort of allowing a “plot” to evolve. And copyright hassles? Not yet! I say... bring ‘em on! I would be more than happy to fight for the existence of this project, and one of the groups I am in, Negativland, has a rather colourful history of “fair use” battles in the music arena (the most nefarious case, where the band was sued by U2 and their big-label music lawyers over a parody we made happened before I came on board, but there’s been some skirmishes since). We have folks who would be happy to help defend this sort of work in a court of law should the occasion arise. DZ: Can you talk to me about the cultural shift that’s occurred, where the old ‘Acme’ propmaster has been replaced by ‘product peddler’? What is this symptomatic of, and what’s its significance now? S: In the past, privacy existed because there were areas of experience and information that were considered off limits to exploitation. A kind of tacit social contract assumed certain boundaries were in place to keep corporate (and State) meddling at bay and to allow an uncontaminated space for disengaging from culture. Nowadays the violation of boundaries is so egregious it’s hard to be sure that those boundaries in fact exist. Part of that violation has been the encroachment, at every conceivable level, of daily experience by all manner of corporate messages—urinal strainers with logos, coffee jackets with adverts, decals on supermarket floors, temporary tattoos on random pedestrians. Engagement with corporate predation is now foisted on us 24 hours a day. It’s the GPS generation. The corporations want to know where we “are” at all times. Again: in the past there was a certain level of decorum about the sales pitch. That decorum has vanished and in its place is the inter-penetration of all our waking moments by the foghorn of capital. If that foghorn gets loud enough, we’ll never get any sleep. DZ: How do you think product placement affects the integrity of the film? P: Well, that’s definitely a question of the moment, as far as audience reactions to our screenings have been thus far. It really depends on the work itself, doesn’t it? I think we would be highly judgmental, and perhaps quite out of line, if we dismissed out of hand the idea of using actual products in films as some sort of rule. The value of using an actual product to the narrative of a film can’t be discounted automatically because we all know that there are stories to be told in actual, marketed products. Characterizations can develop. If a flustered James Cagney had held up a bottle of Fred’s Cola instead of Pepsi in the climactic shot of One, Two, Three (Billy Wilder’s 1963 co*ke-executive comedy), it wouldn’t have resonated very well. And it’s an incredibly memorable moment (and, some might say, a little dig at both cola companies). But when you get into something like i am sam, where Sean Penn’s character not only works inside a Starbucks, and is shown on the job, in uniform and reading their various actual coffee product names aloud, over and over again, but also rides a bus with a huge Nike ad on the side (and the camera tracks along on the ad instead of the bus itself), plus the fact that he got onto that bus underneath an enormous Apple billboard (not shown in our work, actually), or that his lawyer has a can of Tab sitting on an entirely austere, empty table in front of a blank wall and the camera tracks downward for no other discernable purpose than to highlight the Tab can… you can see where I’m going with this. The battle lines are drawn in my mind. PROVE to me the value of any of those product plugs on Penn’s character, or Michelle Pfeiffer’s (his lawyer). DZ: What do you make of the arguments for product placement as necessary to, even enhancing, the verisimilitude of films? Is there a case to be made for brands appearing in a production design because they’re what a character would choose? S: It’s who makes the argument for product placements that’s troublesome. Art that I value is a sort of problem solving machine. It assumes that the culture we currently find ourselves strapped with is flawed and should be altered. Within that context, the “verisimilitude” you speak of would be erected only as a means for critique--not to endorse, venerate, or fortify the status quo. Most Hollywood features are little more than moving catalogs. P: And in the case of Jurassic Park that couldn’t be more explicit – the “fake” products shown in the amusem*nt park gift shop in the film are the actual tie-in products available in stores and in Burger King at that time! Another film I could mention for a totally different reason is The Dark Backward (1991). Apparently due to a particular obsession of the director, the film is riddled with placements, but of totally fake and hilarious products (i.e. Blump’s Squeezable Bacon). Everyone who has seen the film remembers the absurdist products… couldn’t Josie and the puss*cats have followed this format, instead of loading the film with “funny” references to literally every megacorporation imaginable, and have been memorable for it? DZ: What do you think of the retroactive insertion of products into syndicated reruns of programs and films (using digital editing techniques)? Is this a troubling precedent? P: Again, to me the line is totally crossed. There’s no longer any justification to be made because the time and space of the original television show is lost at that point, so any possibility of “commentary” on the times, or development of the character, goes right out the window. Of course I find it a troubling precedent. It’s perhaps somewhat less troubling, but still distressing, to know that billboards on the walls of sports stadiums are being digitally altered, live, during broadcast, so that the products can be subtly switched around. And perhaps most disturbingly, at least here in the states, certain networks and programs have begun cross-dissolving to advertisem*nts from program content, and vice-versa. In other words, since the advertisers are aware that the long-established “blackout” which precedes the start of advertising breaks on TV causes people to tune out, or turn the volume off, or have their newfangled sensing devices “zap” the commercial… so they’re literally integrating the start of the ad with the final frames of the program instead of going black, literally becoming part of the program. And we have heard about more reliance of products WITHIN the programs, but this just takes us right back to TV’s past, where game show contestants sat behind enormous “Pepsodent” adverts pasted right there on the set. History will eat itself… DZ: Could you imagine a way advertisers could work product placement into films where modern products just don’t fit, like set in the past or in alternate universes (Star Wars, LOTR etc)? P: Can’t you? In fact, it’s already happening. Someone told us about the use of products in a recent set-in-the-past epic… but the name of the film is escaping me. S: And if you can’t find a way to insert a product placement in a film than maybe the film won’t get made. The problem is completely solved with films like Star Wars and Lord of the Rings—most of the characters are available in the store as action figures making them de facto placements. In Small Soldiers just about every toy-sized character was, in fact, nicely packaged by Hasbro. DZ: What is the role of the logo in product placement? S: There are the stars, and there are the many supporting roles—the logo is just one of them. We’re hoping to see this category at the next Oscars. P: And categories like “Best Song” are essentially product placement categories already… DZ: I’ve heard about the future of product placement being branding in computer games, interactive shop-at-home television – what other visions of the (branded) future can you imagine? P: The future is now. If you can’t watch a documentary on so-called public television in this country without having text boxes pop up on screen to suggest “related” web sites which “might be of interest” to the viewer, you’re already well on the way to being part of a branded environment. Computer games already have ads built-in, and shop-at-home already seems plenty interactive (and isn’t internet shopping, also?). I think if the various mega-corporations can not only convince people to wear clothing emblazoned with their logo and product name, but so successfully convince us to pay for the privilege of advertising them, then we are already living in a totally branded future. Where else can it go? It may seem a trite statement but, to my mind, wearing an entire Nike outfit is the ultimate. At least the British ad company called Cunning Stunts actually PAYS their human billboards… but those folks have to agree to have the company logo temporarily tattooed onto their foreheads for three hours as they mingle in public. I’m not joking about this. DZ: Is there any response to product placement? How can audiences manage their interactions with these texts? S: Films have been boycotted for culturally heinous content, such as racist and hom*ophobic characters. Why not boycott films because of their commodity content? Or better yet boycott the product for colluding with the filmmakers to invade your peace of mind? What I hope Value-Added Cinema does is sensitize us to the insinuation of the products, so that we critically detect them, rather than passively allow them to pass before us. When that happens, when we’re just insensate recipients of those advertising ploys, we’re lost. DZ: Do you have anything to add to contemporary debates on culture jamming, especially the charge that culture jamming’s political power is limited by its use of logos and signs? Anne Moore has written that detourning ads ends up just re-iterating the logo - “because corporate lifeblood is profit, and profit comes from name recognition”, culture jammers are “trafficking in the same currency as the corporations” – what do you think of this? P: It’s an interesting assertion. But the best culture jams I’ve seen make total mincemeat of the product being parodied; just as you can’t simply discount the use of actual products in films in the context of a narrative, you can’t NOT try to reclaim the use of a brand-name. Maybe it’s a dangerous comparison because “reclaiming” use of the word co*ke is not like reclaiming the use of the word “queer”, but there’s something to it, I think. Also, I wear t-shirts with the names of bands I like sometimes (almost always my friends’ bands, but I suppose that’s beside the point). Am I buying into the advertising concept? Yes, to a certain extent, I am. I guess to me it’s about just what you choose to advertise. Or what you choose to parody. DZ: Do you have any other points you’d like to make about product placement, advertising by stealth, branding, mindshare or logos? P: I think what Steve said, that above all we hope with our video to help make people aware of how much they are advertised to, beyond accepting it as a mere annoyance, sums it up. So far, we’ve had some comments at screenings which indicate a willingness of people to want to combat this in their lives, to want to “do something” about the onslaught of product placement surrounding them, in films and elsewhere. Works Cited ET: The Extraterrestrial. Dir. Steven Spielberg. Prod. Kathleen Kennedy & Steven Spielberg, M. Universal Pictures 1982. Shopping. Dir. Paul Anderson. Prod. Jeremy Bolt , M. Concorde Pictures,1993. http://www.cspinet.org/ http://www.productplacementawards.com/ Links http://www.cspinet.org/ http://www.productplacementawards.com/ Citation reference for this article Substitute your date of access for Dn Month Year etc... MLA Style Zuvela, Danni. "An Interview with the Makers of Value-Added Cinema" M/C: A Journal of Media and Culture< http://www.media-culture.org.au/0306/03-valueadded.php>. APA Style Zuvela, D. (2003, Jun 19). An Interview with the Makers of Value-Added Cinema. M/C: A Journal of Media and Culture, 6,< http://www.media-culture.org.au/0306/03-valueadded.php>

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Gorman-Murray, Andrew, and Robyn Dowling. "Home." M/C Journal 10, no.4 (August1, 2007). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.2679.

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Previously limited and somewhat neglected as a focus of academic scrutiny, interest in home and domesticity is now growing apace across the humanities and social sciences (Mallett; Blunt, “Cultural Geographies of Home”; Blunt and Dowling). This is evidenced in the recent publication of a range of books on home from various disciplines (Chapman and Hockey; Cieraad; Miller; Chapman; Pink; Blunt and Dowling), the advent in 2004 of a new journal, Home Cultures, focused specifically on the subject of home and domesticity, as well as similar recent special issues in several other journals, including Antipode, Cultural Geographies, Signs and Housing, Theory and Society. This increased interest in the home as a site of social and cultural inquiry reflects a renewed fascination with home and domesticity in the media, popular culture and everyday life. Domestic life is explicitly central to the plot and setting of many popular and/or critically-acclaimed television programs, especially suburban dramas like Neighbours [Australia], Coronation Street [UK], Desperate Housewives [US] and The Secret Life of Us [Australia]. The deeply-held value of home – as a place that must be saved or found – is also keenly represented in films such as The Castle [Australia], Floating Life [Australia], Rabbit-Proof Fence [Australia], House of Sand and Fog [US], My Life as a House [US] and Under the Tuscan Sun [US]. But the prominence of home in popular media imaginaries of Australia and other Western societies runs deeper than as a mere backdrop for entertainment. Perhaps most telling of all is the rise and ratings success of a range of reality and/or lifestyle television programs which provide their audiences with key information on buying, building, renovating, designing and decorating home. In Australia, these include Backyard Blitz , Renovation Rescue, The Block, Changing Rooms, DIY Rescue, Location, Location and Our House. Likewise, popular magazines like Better Homes and Gardens and Australian Vogue Living tell us how to make our homes more beautiful and functional. Other reality programs, meanwhile, focus on how we might secure the borders of our suburban homes (Crimewatch [UK]) and our homeland (Border Security [Australia]). Home is also a strong theme in other media forms and debates, including life writing, novels, art and public dialogue about immigration and national values (see Blunt and Dowling). Indeed, notions of home increasingly frame ‘real world’ experiences, “especially for the historically unprecedented number of people migrating across countries”, where movement and resettlement are often configured through processes of leaving and establishing home (Blunt and Dowling 2). In this issue of M/C Journal we contribute to these critical voices and popular debates, seeking to further untangle the intricate and multi-layered connections between home and everyday life in the contemporary world. Before introducing the articles comprising this issue, we want to extend some of the key themes that weave through academic and popular discussions of home and domesticity, and which are taken up and extended here by the subsequent articles. Home is powerful, emotive and multi-faceted. As a basic desire for many, home is saturated with the meanings, memories, emotions, experiences and relationships of everyday life. The idea and place of home is perhaps typically configured through a positive sense of attachment, as a place of belonging, intimacy, security, relationship and selfhood. Indeed, many reinforce their sense of self, their identity, through an investment in their home, whether as house, hometown or homeland. But at the same time, home is not always a well-spring of succour and goodness; others experience alienation, rejection, hostility, danger and fear ‘at home’. Home can be a site of domestic violence or ‘house arrest’; young gay men and lesbians may feel alienated in the family home; asylum seekers are banished from their homelands; indigenous peoples are often dispossessed of their homelands; refugees might be isolated from a sense of belonging in their new home(land)s. But while this may seriously mitigate the affirmative experience of home, many still yearn for places, both figurative and material, to call ‘home’ – places of support, nourishment and belonging. The experience of violence, loss, marginalisation or dispossession can trigger, in Michael Brown’s words, “the search for a new place to call home”: “it means having to relocate oneself, to leave home and reconfigure it elsewhere” (50). Home, in this sense, understood as an ambiguous site of both belonging and alienation, is not a fixed and static location which ‘grounds’ an essential and unchanging sense of self. Rather, home is a process. If home enfolds and carries some sense of desire for positive feelings of attachment – and the papers in this special issue certainly suggest so, most quite explicitly – then equally this is a relationship that requires ongoing maintenance. Blunt and Dowling call these processes ‘homemaking practices’, and point to how home must be understood as a lived space which is “continually created and recreated through everyday practices” (23). In this way, home is posited as relational – the ever-changing outcome of the ongoing and mediated interaction between self, others and place. What stands out in much of the above discussion is the deep inter-connection between home, identity and self. Across the humanities and social sciences, home has been keenly explored as a crucial site “for the construction and reconstruction of one’s self” (Young 153). Indeed, Blunt and Dowling contend that “home as a place and an imaginary constitutes identities – people’s sense of themselves are related to and produced through lived and imaginative experiences of home” (24). Thus, through various homemaking practices, individuals generate a sense of self (and social groups produce a sense of collective identity) while they create a place called home. Moreover, as a relational entity, neither home nor identity are fixed, but mutually and ongoingly co-constituted. Homemaking enables changing and cumulative identities to be materialised in and supported by the home (Blunt and Dowling). Unfolding identities are progressively embedded and reflected in the home through both everyday practices and routines (Wise; Young), and accumulating and arranging personally meaningful objects (Marcoux; Noble, “Accumulating Being”). Consequently, as one ‘makes home’, one accumulates a sense of self. Given these intimate material and affective links between home, self and identity, it is perhaps not surprising that writing about a place called home has often been approached autobiographically (Blunt and Dowling). Emphasising the importance of autobiographical accounts for understanding home, Blunt argues that “through their accounts of personal memories and everyday experiences, life stories provide a particularly rich source for studying home and identity” (“Home and Identity”, 73). We draw attention to the importance of autobiographical accounts of home because this approach is prominent across the papers comprising this issue of M/C Journal. The authors have used autobiographical reflections to consider the meanings of home and processes of homemaking operating at various scales. Three papers – by Brett Mills, Lisa Slater and Nahid Kabir – are explicitly autobiographical, weaving scholarly arguments through deeply personal experiences, and thus providing evocative first-hand accounts of the power of home in the contemporary world. At the same time, several other authors – including Melissa Gregg, Gilbert Caluya and Jennifer Gamble – use personal experiences about home, belonging and exclusion to introduce or illustrate their scholarly contentions about home, self and identity. As this discussion suggests, home is relational in another way, too: it is the outcome of a relationship between material and imaginative qualities. Home is somewhere – it is situated, located, emplaced. But it is also much more than a location – as suggested by the saying, ‘A house is not a home’. Rather, a house becomes a home when it is imbued with a range of meanings, feelings and experiences by its occupants. Home, thus, is a fusion of the imaginative and affective – what we envision and desire home to be – intertwined with the material and physical – an actual location which can embody and realise our need for belonging, affirmation and sustenance. Blunt and Dowling capture this relationship between emplacement and emotion – the material and the imaginative – with their powerful assertion of home as a spatial imaginary, where “home is neither the dwelling nor the feeling, but the relation between the two” (22). Moreover, they demonstrate that this conceptualisation also detaches ‘home’ from ‘dwelling’ per se, and invokes the creation of home – as a space and feeling of belonging – at sites and scales beyond the domestic house. Instead, as a spatial imaginary, home takes form as “a set of intersecting and variable ideas and feelings, which are related to context, and which construct places, extend across spaces and scales, and connects places” (Blunt and Dowling 2). The concept of home, then, entails complex scalarity: indeed, it is a multi-scalar spatial imaginary. Put quite simply, scale is a geographical concept which draws attention to the layered arenas of everyday life – body, house, neighbourhood, city, region, nation and globe, for instance – and this terminology can help extend our understanding of home. Certainly, for many, house and home are conflated, so that a sense of home is coterminous with a physical dwelling structure (e.g. Dupuis and Thorns). For others, however, home is signified by intimate familial or community relationships which extend beyond the residence and stretch across a neighbourhood (e.g. Moss). And moreover, without contradiction, we can speak of hometowns and homelands, so that home can be felt at the scale of the town, city, region or nation (e.g. Blunt, Domicile and Diaspora). For others – international migrants and refugees, global workers, communities of mixed descent – home can be stretched into transnational belongings (e.g. Blunt, “Cultural Geographies of Home”). But this notion of home as a multi-scalar spatial imaginary is yet more complicated. While the above arenas (house, neighbourhood, nation, globe, etc.) are often simply posited as discrete territories, they also intersect and interact in complex ways (Massey; Marston). Extending this perspective, we can grasp the possibility of personal and collective homemaking processes operating across multiple scales simultaneously. For instance, making a house into a home invariably involves generating a sense of home and familiarity in a wider neighbourhood or nation-state. Indeed, Greg Noble points out that homemaking at the scale of the dwelling can be inflected by broader social and national values which are reflected materially in the house, in “the furniture of everyday life” (“Comfortable and Relaxed”, 55) – landscape paintings and national flags and ornaments, for example. He demonstrates that “homes articulate domestic spaces to national experience” (54). For others – those moving internationally between nation-states – domestic practices in dwelling structures are informed by cultural values and social ideals which extend well beyond the nation of settlement. Everyday domestic practices from one’s ‘land of origin’ are integral for ‘making home’ in a new house, neighbourhood and country at the same time (Hage). Many of the papers in this issue reflect upon the multi-scalarity of homemaking processes, showing how home must be generated across the multiple intersecting arenas of everyday life simultaneously. Indeed, given this prominence across the papers, we have chosen to use the scale of home as our organising principle for this issue. We begin with the links between the body – the geography closest to our skin (McDowell) – the home, and other scales, and then wind our way out through evocations of home at the intersecting scales of the house, the neighbourhood, the city, the nation and the diasporic. The rhetoric of home and belonging not only suggests which types of places can be posited as home (e.g. houses, neighbourhoods, nations), but also valorises some social relations and embodied identities as homely and others as unhomely (Blunt and Dowling; Gorman-Murray). The dominant ideology of home in the Anglophonic West revolves around the imaginary ‘ideal’ of white, middle-class, heterosexual nuclear family households in suburban dwellings (Blunt and Dowling). In our lead paper, Melissa Gregg explores how the ongoing normalisation of this particular conception of home in Australian politico-cultural discourse affects two marginalised social groups – sexual minorities and indigenous Australians. Her analysis is timely, responding to recent political attention to the domestic lives of both groups. Scrutinising the disciplinary power of ‘normal homes’, Gregg explores how unhomely (queer and indigenous) subjects and relationships unsettle the links between homely bodies, ideal household forms and national belonging in politico-cultural rhetoric. Importantly, she draws attention to the common experiences of these marginalised groups, urging “queer and black activists to join forces against wider tendencies that affect both communities”. Our first few papers then continue to investigate intersections between bodies, houses and neighbourhoods. Moving to the American context – but quite recognisable in Australia – Lisa Roney examines the connection between bodies and houses on the US lifestyle program, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, in which families with disabled members are over-represented as subjects in need of home renovations. Like Gregg, Roney demonstrates that the rhetoric of home is haunted by the issue of ‘normalisation’ – in this case, EMHE ‘corrects’ and normalises disabled bodies through providing ‘ideal’ houses. In doing so, there is often a disjuncture between the homely ideal and what would be most helpful for the everyday domestic lives of these subjects. From an architectural perspective, Marian Macken also considers the disjuncture between bodily practices, inhabitation and ideal houses. While traditional documentation of house designs in working drawings capture “the house at an ideal moment in time”, Macken argues for post factum documentation of the house, a more dynamic form of architectural recording produced ‘after-the-event’ which interprets ‘the existing’ rather than the ideal. This type of documentation responds to the needs of the body in the inhabited space of domestic architecture, representing the flurry of occupancy, “the changes and traces the inhabitants make upon” the space of the house. Gilbert Caluya also explores the links between bodies and ideal houses, but from a different viewpoint – that of the perceived need for heightened home security in contemporary suburban Australia. With the rise of electronic home security systems, our houses have become extensions of our bodies – ‘architectural nervous systems’ which extend our eyes, ears and senses through modern security technologies. The desire for home security is predicated on controlling the interplay between the house and wider scales – the need to create a private and secure defensible space in hostile suburbia. But at the same time, heightened home security measures ironically connect the mediated home into a global network of electronic grids and military technologies. Thus, new forms of electronic home security stretch home from the body to the globe. Irmi Karl also considers the connections between technologies and subjectivities in domestic space. Her UK-based ethnographic analysis of lesbians’ techo-practices at home also considers, like Gregg, tactics of resistance to the normalisation of the heterosexual nuclear family home. Karl focuses on the TV set as a ‘straightening device’ – both through its presence as a key marker of ‘family homes’ and through the heteronormative content of programming – while at the same time investigating how her lesbian respondents renegotiated the domestic through practices which resisted the hetero-regulation of the TV – through watching certain videos, for instance, or even hiding the TV set away. Susan Thompson employs a similar ethnographic approach to understanding domestic practices which challenge normative meanings of home, but her subject is quite different. In an Australian-based study, Thompson explores meanings of home in the wake of relationship breakdown of heterosexual couples. For her respondents, their houses embodied their relationships in profoundly symbolic and physical ways. The deterioration and end of their relationships was mirrored in the material state of the house. The end of a relationship also affected homely, familiar connections to the wider neighbourhood. But there was also hope: new houses became sources of empowerment for former partners, and new meanings of home were created in the transition to a new life. Brett Mills also explores meanings of home at different scales – the house, neighbourhood and city – but returns to the focus on television and media technologies. His is a personal, but scholarly, response to seeing his own home on the television program Torchwood, filmed in Cardiff, UK. Mills thus puts a new twist on autobiographical narratives of home and identity: he uses this approach to examine the link between home and media portrayals, and how personal reactions to “seeing your home on television” change everyday perceptions of home at the scales of the house, neighbourhood and city. His reflection on “what happens when your home is on television” is solidly but unobtrusively interwoven with scholarly work on home and media, and speaks to the productive tension of home as material and imaginative. As the above suggests, especially with Mills’s paper, we have begun to move from the homely connections between bodies and houses to focus on those between houses, neighbourhoods and beyond. The next few papers extend these wider connections. Peter Pugsley provides a critical analysis of the meaning of domestic settings in three highly-successful Singaporean sitcoms. He argues that the domestic setting in these sitcoms has a crucial function in the Singaporean nation-state, linking the domestic home and national homeland: it is “a valuable site for national identities to be played out” in terms of the dominant modes of culture and language. Thus, in these domestic spaces, national values are normalised and disseminated – including the valorisation of multiculturalism, the dominance of Chinese cultural norms, benign patriarchy, and ‘proper’ educated English. Donna Lee Brien, Leonie Rutherford and Rosemary Williamson also demonstrate the interplay between ‘private’ and ‘public’ spaces and values in their case studies of the domestic sphere in cyberspace, examining three online communities which revolve around normatively domestic activities – pet-keeping, crafting and cooking. Their compelling case studies provide new ways to understand the space of the home. Home can be ‘stretched’ across public and private, virtual and physical spaces, so that “online communities can be seen to be domesticated, but, equally … the activities and relationships that have traditionally defined the home are not limited to the physical space of the house”. Furthermore, as they contend in their conclusion, these extra-domestic networks “can significantly modify practices and routines in the physical home”. Jennifer Gamble also considers the interplay of the virtual and the physical, and how home is not confined to the physical house. Indeed, the domestic is almost completely absent from the new configurations of home she offers: she conceptualises home as a ‘holding environment’ which services our needs and provides care, support and ontological security. Gamble speculates on the possibility of a holding environment which spans the real and virtual worlds, encompassing email, chatrooms and digital social networks. Importantly, she also considers what happens when there are ruptures and breaks in the holding environment, and how physical or virtual dimensions can compensate for these instances. Also rescaling home beyond the domestic, Alexandra Ludewig investigates concepts of home at the scale of the nation-state or ‘homeland’. She focuses on the example of Germany since World War II, and especially since re-unification, and provides an engaging discussion of the articulation between home and the German concept of ‘Heimat’. She shows how Heimat is ambivalent – it is hard to grasp the sense of longing for homeland until it is gone. Thus, Heimat is something that must be constantly reconfigured and maintained. Taken up in a critical manner, it also attains positive values, and Ludewig suggests how Heimat can be employed to address the Australian context of homeland (in)security and questions of indigenous belonging in the contemporary nation-state. Indeed, the next couple of papers focus on the vexed issue of building a sense home and belonging at the scale of the nation-state for non-indigenous Australians. Lisa Slater’s powerful autobiographical reflection considers how non-indigenous Australians might find a sense of home and belonging while recognising prior indigenous ownership of the land. She critically reflects upon “how non-indigenous subjects are positioned in relation to the original owners not through migrancy but through possession”. Slater urges us to “know our place” – we need not despair, but use such remorse in a productive manner to remake our sense of home in Australia – a sense of home sensitive to and respectful of indigenous rights. Nahid Kabir also provides an evocative and powerful autobiographical narrative about finding a sense of home and belonging in Australia for another group ‘beyond the pale’ – Muslim Australians. Hers is a first-hand account of learning to ‘feel at home’ in Australia. She asks some tough questions of both Muslim and non-Muslim Australians about how to accommodate difference in this country. Moreover, her account shows the homing processes of diasporic subjects – transnational homemaking practices which span several countries, and which enable individuals and social groups to generate senses of belonging which cross multiple borders simultaneously. Our final paper also contemplates the homing desires of diasporic subjects and the call of homelands – at the same time bringing our attention back to home at the scales of the house, neighbourhood, city and nation. As such, Wendy Varney’s paper brings us full circle, lucidly invoking home as a multi-scalar spatial imaginary by exploring the diverse and complex themes of home in popular music. Given the prevalence of yearnings about home in music, it is surprising so little work has explored the powerful conceptions of home disseminated in and through this widespread and highly mobile media form. Varney’s analysis thus makes an important contribution to our understandings of home presented in media discourses in the contemporary world, and its multi-scalar range is a fitting way to bring this issue to a close. Finally, we want to draw attention to the cover art by Rohan Tate that opens our issue. A Sydney-based photographer, Tate is interested in the design of house, home and the domestic form, both in terms of exteriors and interiors. This image from suburban Sydney captures the shifting styles of home in suburban Australia, giving us a crisp juxtaposition between modern and (re-valued) traditional housing forms. Bringing this issue together has been quite a task. We received 60 high quality submissions, and selecting the final 14 papers was a difficult process. Due to limits on the size of the issue, several good papers were left out. We thank the reviewers for taking the time to provide such thorough and useful reports, and encourage those authors who did not make it into this issue to keep seeking outlets for their work. The number of excellent submissions shows that home continues to be a growing and engaging theme in social and cultural inquiry. As editors, we hope that this issue of M/C Journal will make a vital contribution to this important range of scholarship, bringing together 14 new and innovative perspectives on the experience, location, creation and meaning of home in the contemporary world. References Blunt, Alison. “Home and Identity: Life Stories in Text and in Person.” Cultural Geography in Practice. Eds. Alison Blunt, Pyrs Gruffudd, Jon May, Miles Ogborn, and David Pinder. London: Arnold, 2003. 71-87. ———. Domicile and Diaspora: Anglo-Indian Women and the Spatial Politics of Home. Malden: Blackwell, 2005. ———. “Cultural Geographies of Home.” Progress in Human Geography 29.4 (2005): 505-515. ———, and Robyn Dowling. Home. London: Routledge, 2006. Brown, Michael. Closet Space: Geographies of Metaphor from the Body to the Globe. London: Routledge, 2000. Chapman, Tony. Gender and Domestic Life: Changing Practices in Families and Households. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004. ———, and Jenny Hockey, eds. Ideal Homes? Social Change and Domestic Life. London: Routledge, 1999. Cieraad, Irene, ed. At Home: An Anthropology of Domestic Space. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1999. Dupuis, Ann, and David Thorns. “Home, Home Ownership and the Search for Ontological Security.” The Sociological Review 46.1 (1998): 24-47. Gorman-Murray, Andrew. “Homeboys: Uses of Home by Gay Australian Men.” Social and Cultural Geography 7.1 (2006): 53-69. Hage, Ghassan. “At Home in the Entrails of the West: Multiculturalism, Ethnic Food and Migrant Home-Building.” Home/world: Space, Community and Marginality in Sydney’s West. Eds. Helen Grace, Ghassan Hage, Lesley Johnson, Julie Langsworth and Michael Symonds. Annandale: Pluto, 1997. 99-153. Mallett, Shelley. “Understanding Home: A Critical Review of the Literature.” The Sociological Review 52.1 (2004): 62-88. Marcoux, Jean-Sébastien. “The Refurbishment of Memory.” Home Possessions: Material Culture Behind Closed Doors. Ed. Daniel Miller. Oxford: Berg, 2001. 69-86. Marston, Sally. “A Long Way From Home: Domesticating the Social Production of Scale.” Scale and Geographic Inquiry: Nature, Society and Method. Eds. Eric Sheppard and Robert McMaster. Oxford: Blackwell, 2004. 170-191. Massey, Doreen. “A Place Called Home.” New Formations 17 (1992): 3-15. McDowell, Linda. Gender, Identity and Place: Understanding Feminist Geographies. Cambridge: Polity, 1999. Miller, Daniel, ed. Home Possessions: Material Culture Behind Closed Doors. Oxford: Berg, 2001. Moss, Pamela. “Negotiating Space in Home Environments: Older Women Living with Arthritis.” Social Science and Medicine 45.1 (1997): 23-33. Noble, Greg. “Comfortable and Relaxed: Furnishing the Home and Nation.” Continuum: Journal of Media and Cultural Studies 16.1 (2002): 53-66. ———. “Accumulating Being.” International Journal of Cultural Studies 7.2 (2004): 233-256. Pink, Sarah. Home Truths: Gender, Domestic Objects and Everyday Life. Oxford: Berg, 2004. Wise, J. Macgregor. “Home: Territory and Identity.” Cultural Studies 14.2 (2000): 295-310. Young, Iris Marion. “House and Home: Feminist Variations on a Theme.” On Female Body Experience: ‘Throwing Like a Girl’ and Other Essays. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005. 123-154. Citation reference for this article MLA Style Gorman-Murray, Andrew, and Robyn Dowling. "Home." M/C Journal 10.4 (2007). echo date('d M. Y'); ?> <http://journal.media-culture.org.au/0708/01-editorial.php>. APA Style Gorman-Murray, A., and R. Dowling. (Aug. 2007) "Home," M/C Journal, 10(4). Retrieved echo date('d M. Y'); ?> from <http://journal.media-culture.org.au/0708/01-editorial.php>.

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Harris, Alana. "Mobility, Modernity, and Abroad." M/C Journal 19, no.5 (October13, 2016). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.1157.

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IntroductionWhat does it mean to be abroad in the modern Australian context? Australia has developed as a country where people increasingly travel both domestically and abroad. Tourism Research Australia reports that 9.6 million resident departures are forecast for 2015-16 and that this will increase to 13.2 million in 2024–25 (Tourism Forecast). This article will identify the development of the Australian culture of travel abroad, the changes that have taken place in Australian society and the conceptual shift of what it means to travel abroad in modern Australia.The traditions of abroad stem from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries Grand Tour notion where Europeans and Britons travelled on or to the continent to expand their knowledge and experience. While travel at this time focused on history, culture and science, it was very much the domain of the upper classes (Cooper). The concept of the tourist is often credited with Thomas Cook’s first package tour in 1841, which used railways to facilitate trips for pleasure (Cooper). Other advances at the time popularised the trip abroad. Steamships, expanded rail and road networks all contributed to an age of emerging mobility which saw the development of travel to a multi-dimensional experience open to a great many more people than ever before. This article explores three main waves of influence on the Australian concept of abroad and how each has shifted the experience and meaning of what it is to travel abroad.Australians Abroad The post-war period saw significant changes to Australian society, particularly advances in transport, which shaped the way Australians travelled in the 1950s and 1960s. On the domestic front, Australia began manufacturing Holden cars with Prime Minister Ben Chifley unveiling the first Holden “FX” on 29 November 1948. Such was its success that over 500,000 Holden cars were produced by the end of the next decade (Holden). Throughout the 1950s and 1960s the government established a program to standardise railway gauges around the country, making direct travel between Melbourne and Sydney possible for the first time. Australians became more mobile and their enthusiasm for interstate travel flowed on to international transport (Lee).Also, during the 1950s, Australia experienced an influx of migrants from Southern Europe, followed by the Assisted Passage Scheme to attract Britons in the late 1950s and through the 1960s (“The Changing Face of Modern Australia”). With large numbers of new Australians arriving in Australia by ship, these ships could be filled for their return journey to Britain and Europe with Australian tourists. Travel by ship, usually to the “mother country,” took up to two months time, and communication with those “back home” was limited. By the 1960s travelling by ship started to give way to travel by air. The 1950s saw Qantas operate Royal flights for Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh for their Australian tour, and in 1956 the airline fleet of 34 propeller drive aircraft carried a record number of passengers to the Melbourne Olympics. On 14 January 1958 Qantas launched the first world service from Melbourne flying the Kangaroo Route (via India) and the Southern Cross Route (via the United States) and before long, there were eight such services operating weekly (Qantas). This developing network of international air services connected Australia to the world in a way it had not been previously (Lee).Such developments in Australian aviation were significant on two fronts. Firstly, air travel was a much faster, easier, and more glamorous means of travel (Bednarek) despite the cost, comfort, safety, and capacity issues. The increase in air travel resulted in a steady decline of international travel by boat. Secondly, air travel abroad offered Australians from all walks of life the opportunity to experience other cultures, ideas, fashions, and fads from abroad. These ideas were fed into a transforming Australian society more quickly than they had been in the past.Social change during the late 1950s and into the 1960s connected Australia more closely to the world. The Royal Tour attracted the attention of the British Empire, and the Melbourne Olympics drew international attention. It was the start of television in Australia (1956) which gave Australians connectivity in a way not experienced previously. Concurrent with these advances, Australian society enjoyed rising standards of living, increased incomes, a rise in private motorcar ownership, along with greater leisure time. Three weeks paid holiday was introduced in NSW in 1958 and long service leave soon followed (Piesse). The confluence of these factors resulted in increased domestic travel and arguably altered the allure of abroad. Australians had the resources to travel in a way that they had not before.The social desire for travel abroad extended to the policy level with the Australian government’s 1975 introduction of the Working Holiday Programme (WHP). With a particular focus on young people, its aim was to foster closer ties and cultural exchange between Australia and partner countries (Department of Immigration and Boarder Protection). With cost and time commitments lessened in the 1960s and bilateral arrangements for the WHP in the 1970s, travel abroad became much more widespread and, at least in part, reduced the tyranny of distance. It is against the backdrop of increasingly connected transport networks, modernised communication, and rapid social change that the foundation for a culture of mobility among Australians was further cemented.Social Interactions AbroadDistance significantly shapes the experience of abroad. Proximity has a long association with the volume and frequency of communication exchange. Libai et al. observed that the geographic, temporal, and social distance may be much more important than individual characteristics in communication exchange. Close proximity fosters interpersonal interaction where discussion of experiences can lead to decision-making and social arrangements whilst travelling. Social interaction abroad has been grounded in similarity, social niceties, a desire to belong to a social group of particular travellers, and the need for information (Harris and Prideaux). At the same time, these interactions also contribute to the individual’s abroad experience. White and White noted, “the role of social interaction in the active construction of self as tourist and the tourist experience draws attention to how tourists self-identify social worlds in which they participate while touring” (43). Similarly, Holloway observed of social interaction that it is “a process of meaning making where individuals and groups shape understandings and attitudes through shared talk within their own communities of critique” (237).The unique combination of social interaction and place forms the experiences one has abroad. Cresswell observed that the geographical location and travellers’ sense of place combine to produce a destination in the tourism context. It is against this backdrop of material and immaterial, mobile and immobile, fixed and fluid intersections where social relations between travellers take place. These points of social meeting, connectivity and interaction are linked by way of networks within the destination or during travel (Mavric and Urry) and contribute to its production of unique experiences abroad.Communicating Abroad Communication whilst abroad, has changed significantly since the turn of the century. The merging of the corporeal and technological domains during travel has impacted the entire experience of travel. Those who travelled to faraway lands by ship in the 1950s were limited to letter writing and the use of telegrams for urgent or special communication. In the space of less than 60 years, the communication landscape could not look more different.Mobile phones, tablets, and laptops are all carried alongside the passport as the necessities of travel. Further, Wi-Fi connectivity at airports, on transport, at accommodation and in public spaces allows the traveller to continue “living” at home—at least in the technological sense—whilst physically being abroad. This is not just true of Australians. Global Internet use has grown by 826.9% from 361 million users in 2000 to 3.3 billion users in 2015. In addition, there were 7.1 billion global SIM connections and 243 million machine-to-machine connections by the end of 2014 (GSMA Intelligence). The World Bank also reported a global growth in mobile telephone subscriptions, per 100 people, from 33.9 in 2005 to 96.3 in 2014. This also means that travellers can be socially present while physically away, which changes the way we see the world.This adoption of modern communication has changed the discourse of “abroad” in a number of ways. The 24-hour nature of the Internet allows constant connectivity. Channels that are always open means that information about a travel experience can be communicated as it is occurring. Real time communication means that ideas can be expressed synchronously on a one-to-one or one-to-many basis (Litvin et al.) through hits, clicks, messages, on-line ratings, comments and the like. Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, WhatsApp, Viber, Twitter, TripAdvisor, blogs, e-mails and a growing number of channels allow for multifaceted, real time communication during travel.Tied to this, the content of communicating the travel experience has also diversified from the traditional written word. The adage that “a picture tells a thousand words” is poignantly relevant here. The imagery contributes to the message and brings with it a degree of tone and perspective and, at the same time, adds to the volume being communicated. Beyond the written word and connected with images, modern communication allows for maps and tracking during the trip. How a traveller might be feeling can be captured with emojis, what they think of an experience can be assessed and rated and, importantly, this can be “liked” or commented on from those “at home.”Technologically-enhanced communication has changed the traveller’s experience in terms of time, interaction with place, and with people. Prior to modern communication, the traveller would reflect and reconstruct travel tales to be recounted upon their return. Stories of adventure and travels could be malleable, tailored to audience, and embellished—an individual’s recount of their individual abroad experience. However, this has shifted so that the modern traveller can capture the aspects of the experience abroad on screen, upload, share and receive immediate feedback in real time, during travel. It raises the question of whether a traveller is actually experiencing or simply recording events. This could be seen as a need for validation from those at home during travel as each interaction and experience is recorded, shared and held up for scrutiny by others. It also raises the question of motivation. Is the traveller travelling for self or for others?With maps, photos and images at each point, comments back and forth, preferences, ratings, records of social interactions with newfound friends “friended” or “tagged” on Facebook, it could be argued that the travel is simply a chronological series of events influenced from afar; shaped by those who are geographically distanced.Liquid Modernity and Abroad Cresswell considered tourist places as systems of mobile and material objects, technologies, and social relations that are produced, imagined, recalled, and anticipated. Increasingly, developments in communication and closeness of electronic proximity have closed the gap of being away. There is now an unbroken link to home during travel abroad, as there is a constant and real time exchange of events and experiences, where those who are travelling and those who are at home are overlapping rather than discrete networks. Sociologists refer to this as “mobility” and it provides a paradigm that underpins the modern concept of abroad. Mobility thinking accepts the movement of individuals and the resulting dynamism of social groups and argues that actual, virtual, and imagined mobility is critical to all aspects of modern life. Premised on “liquid modernity,” it asserts that people, objects, images, and information are all moving and that there is an interdependence between these movements. The paradigm asserts a network approach of the mobile (travellers, stories, experiences) and the fixed (infrastructure, accommodation, devices). Furthermore, it asserts that there is not a single network but complex intersections of flow, moving at different speed, scale and viscosity (Sheller and Urry). This is a useful way of viewing the modern concept of abroad as it accepts a level of maintained connectivity during travel. The technological interconnectivity within these networks, along with the mobile and material objects, contributes to overlapping experiences of home and abroad.ConclusionFrom the Australian perspective, the development of a transport network, social change and the advent of technology have all impacted the experience abroad. What once was the realm of a select few and a trip to the mother country, has expanded to a “golden age” of glamour and excitement (Bednarek). Travel abroad has become part of the norm for individuals and for businesses in an increasingly global society.Over time, the experience of “abroad” has also changed. Travel and non-travel now overlap. The modern traveller can be both at home and abroad. Modernity and mobility have influenced the practice of the overseas where the traveller’s experience can be influenced by home and vice-versa simultaneously. Revisiting the modern version of the “grand tour” could mean standing in a crowded gallery space of The Louvre with a mobile phone recording and sharing the Mona Lisa experience with friends and family at home. It could mean exploring the finest detail and intricacies of the work from home using Google Art Project (Ambroise).While the lure of the unique and different provides an impetus for travel, it is undeniable that the meaning of abroad has changed. In some respects it could be argued that abroad is only physical distance. Conversely overseas travel has now melded into Australian social life in such a way that it cannot be easily unpicked from other aspects. The traditions that have seen Australians travel and experience abroad have, in any case, provided a tradition of travel which has impacted modern, social and cultural life and will continue to do so.ReferencesAustralian Government. Austrade. Tourism Forecasts 2016. Tourism Research Australia, Canberra. Forest ACT: Australian Government July 2016. Australian Government Department of Immigration and Border Protection. Working Holiday Maker Visa Programme Report. Forest, ACT: Australian Government. 30 June 2015. Australian Government. “The changing Face of Modern Australia – 1950s to 1970s.” Australian Stories, 25 Sep 2016 <http://www.australia.gov.au/about-australia/australian-story/changing-face-of-modern-australia-1950s-to-1970s>. Bednarek, Janet. "Longing for the ‘Holden Age’ of Air Travel? Be Careful What You Wish For." The Conversation 25 Nov. 2014.Cooper, Chris. Essentials of Tourism. Sydney: Pearson Higher Education, 2013.Cresswell, Tim. On the Move: Mobility in the Modern Western World. New York: Taylor & Francis, 2006.Dubois, Ambroise. Mona Lisa, XVI century, Château du Clos Lucé. 1 Oct. 2016 <http://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/beta/asset/mona-lisa-by-ambroise-dubois/fAEaTV3ZVjY_vw?hl=en>.GSMA Intelligence. The Mobile Economy 2015. London: GSMA (Groupe Spécial Mobile Association), 2015.Harris, Alana, and Bruce Prideaux. “The Potential for eWOM to Affect Consumer Behaviour in Tourism.” Handbook of Consumer Behaviour in Tourism. Melbourne: Routledge, in press.Holden. "Holden's Heritage & History with Australia.” Australia, n.d.Holloway, Donell, Lelia Green, and David Holloway. "The Intratourist Gaze: Grey Nomads and ‘Other Tourists’." Tourist Studies 11.3 (2011): 235-252.Lee, Robert. “Linking a Nation: Australia’s Transport and Communications 1788-1970.” Australian Heritage Council, 2003. 29 Sep. 2016 <https://www.environment.gov.au/heritage/ahc/publications/linking-a-nation/contents>.Libai, Barak, et al. "Customer-to-Customer Interactions: Broadening the Scope of Word of Mouth Research." Journal of Service Research 13.3 (2010): 267-282.Litvin, Stephen W., Ronald E. Goldsmith, and Bing Pan. "Electronic Word-of-Mouth in Hospitality and Tourism Management." Tourism Management 29.3 (2008): 458-468.Mavric, Misela, and John Urry. Tourism Studies and the New Mobilities Paradigm. London: Sage Publications, 2009.Piesse, R.D. “Travel & Tourism.” Year Book Australia. Australian Bureau of Statistics, 1966.Qantas. "Constellations." The Qantas Story. 1 Aug. 2016 <http://www.qantas.com/travel/airlines/history-constellations/global/enWeb>.Sheller, Mimi, and John Urry. "The New Mobilities Paradigm." Environment and Planning 38.2 (2006): 207-226.White, Naomi Rosh, and Peter B. White. "Travel as Interaction: Encountering Place and Others." Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Management 15.1 (2008): 42-48.

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Lorenzetti,DianeL., Bonnie Lashewicz, and Tanya Beran. "Mentorship in the 21st Century: Celebrating Uptake or Lamenting Lost Meaning?" M/C Journal 19, no.2 (May4, 2016). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.1079.

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BackgroundIn the centuries since Odysseus entrusted his son Telemachus to Athena, biographical, literary, and historical accounts have cemented the concept of mentorship into our collective consciousness. Early foundational research characterised mentors as individuals who help us transition through different phases of our lives. Chief among these phases is the progression from adolescence to adulthood, during which we “imagine exciting possibilities for [our lives] and [struggle] to attain the ‘I am’ feeling in this dreamed-of self and world” (Levinson 93). Previous research suggests that mentoring can positively impact a range of developmental outcomes including emotional/behavioural resiliency, academic attainment, career advancement, and organisational productivity (DuBois et al. 57-91; Eby et al. 441-76; Merriam 161-73). The growth of formal mentoring programs, such as Big Brothers-Big Sisters, has further strengthened our belief in the value of mentoring in personal, academic and career contexts (Eby et al. 441-76).In recent years, claims of mentorship uptake have become widespread, even ubiquitous, ranging from codified components of organisational mandates to casual bragging rights in coffee shop conversations (Eby et al. 441-76). Is this a sign that mentorship has become indispensable to personal and professional development, or is mentorship simply in vogue? In this paper, we examine uses of, and corresponding meanings attached to, mentorship. Specifically, we compare popular news portrayals of mentoring with meanings ascribed to mentoring relationships by academics who are part of formal mentoring programs.MethodsWe searched for articles published in the New York Times between July and December 2015. Search terms used included: mentor, mentors, mentoring or mentorship. This U.S. national newspaper was chosen for its broad focus, and large online readership. It is among the most widely read online newspapers worldwide (World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers). Our search generated 536 articles. We conducted a qualitative thematic contentan alysis to explore the nature, scope, and importance of mentorship, as depicted in these media accounts. We compared media themes identified through this analysis with those generated through in-depth interviews previously conducted with 23 academic faculty in mentoring programs at the University of Calgary (Canada). Data were extracted by two authors, and discrepancies in interpretation were resolved through discussion with a third author.The Many Faces of MentorshipIn both interviews and New York Times (NYT) accounts, mentorship is portrayed as part of the “fabric” of contemporary culture, and is often viewed as essential to career advancement. As one academic we interviewed commented: “You know the worst feeling in the world [as a new employee] is...to feel like you’re floundering and you don’t know where to turn.” In 322 NYT articles, mentorship was linked to professional successes across a variety of disciplines, with CEOs, and popular culture icons, such as rap artists and sports figures, citing mentorship as central to their achievements. Mentorship had a particularly strong presence in the arts (109 articles), sports (62 articles) business (57 articles), politics (36 articles), medicine (26 articles), and law (21 articles).In the NYT, mentorship was also a factor in student achievement and social justice issues including psychosocial and career support for refugees and youth from low socioeconomic backgrounds; counteracting youth radicalisation; and addressing gender inequality in the workplace. In short, mentorship appears to have been taken up as a panacea for a variety of social and economic ills.Mentor Identities and RolesWhile mentors in academia were supervisors or colleagues, NYT articles portrayed mentors more broadly, as family members, employers, friends and peers. Mentoring relationships typically begin with a connection which often manifests as shared experiences or goals (Merriam). One academic interviewee described mentorship in these terms: “There’s something there that you both really respect and value.” In many NYT accounts, the connection between mentors and mentees was similarly emphasized. As a professional athlete noted: “To me, it's not about collecting [mentors]...It's if the person means something to me...played some type of role in my life” (Shpigel SP.1).While most mentoring relationships develop organically, others are created through formal programs. In the NYT, 33 articles described formal programs to support career/skills development in the arts, business, and sports, and behaviour change in at-risk youth. Although many such programs relied on volunteers, we noted instances in professional sports and business where individuals were hired to provide mentorship. We also saw evidence to suggest that formal programs may be viewed as a quick fix, or palatable alternative, to more costly, or long-term organisational or societal change. For instance, one article on operational challenges at a law firm noted: “The firm's leadership...didn't want to be told that they needed to overhaul their entire organizational philosophy.... They wanted to be told that the firm's problem was work-family conflict for women, a narrative that would allow them to adopt a set of policies specifically aimed at helping women work part time, or be mentored” (Slaughter SR.1).Mutuality of the RelationshipEffective mentoring occurs when both mentors and mentees value these relationships. As one academic interviewee noted: “[My mentor] asked me for advice on certain things about where they’re going right career wise... I think that’s allowed us to have a stronger sort of mentoring relationship”. Some NYT portrayals of mentorship also suggested rich, reciprocal relationships. A dancer with a ballet company described her mentor:She doesn't talk at you. She talks with you. I've never thought about dancing as much as I've thought about it working with her. I feel like as a ballerina, you smile and nod and you take the beating. This is more collaborative. In school, I was always waiting to find a professor that I would bond with and who would mentor me. All I had to do was walk over to Barnard, get into the studio, and there she was. I found Twyla. Or she found me. (Kourlas AR.7)The mutuality of the mentorship evident in this dancer’s recollection is echoed in a NYT account of the role of fashion models in mentoring colleagues: “They were...mentors and connectors and facilitators, motivated...by the joy of discovering talent and creating beauty” (Trebay D.8). Yet in other media accounts, mentorship appeared unidirectional, almost one-dimensional: “Judge Forrest noted in court that he had been seen as a mentor for young people” (Moynihan A.21). Here, the focus seemed to be on the benefits, or status, accrued by the mentor. Importance of the RelationshipAcademic interviewees viewed mentors as sources of knowledge, guidance, feedback, and sponsorship. They believed mentorship had profoundly impacted their careers and that “finding a mentor can be one of the most important things” anyone could do. In the NYT portrayals, mentors were also recognized for the significant, often lasting, impact they had on the lives of their mentees. A choreographer said “the lessons she learned from her former mentor still inspire her — ‘he sits on my shoulder’” (Gold CT 11). A successful CEO of a software firm recollected how mentors enabled him to develop professional confidence: “They would have me facilitate meetings with clients early on in my career. It helped build up this reservoir of confidence” (Bryant, Candid Questions BU.2).Other accounts in academic interviews and NYT highlighted how defining moments in even short-term mentoring relationships can provoke fundamental and lasting changes in attitudes and behaviours. One interviewee who recently experienced a career change said she derived comfort from connecting with a mentor who had experienced a similar transition: “oh there’s somebody [who] talks my language...there is a place for me.” As a CEO in the NYT recalled: “An early mentor of mine said something to me when I was going to a new job: ‘Don't worry. It's just another dog and pony show.’ That really stayed with me” (Bryant, Devil’s Advocate BU.2). A writer quoted in a NYT article also recounted how a chance encounter with a mentor changed the course of his career: “She said... that my problem was not having career direction. ‘You should become a teacher,’ she said. It was an unusual thing to hear, since that subject had never come up in our conversations. But I was truly desperate, ready to hear something different...In an indirect way, my life had changed because of that drink (DeMarco ST.6).Mentorship was also celebrated in the NYT in the form of 116 obituary notices as a means of honouring and immortalising a life well lived. The mentoring role individuals had played in life was highlighted alongside those of child, parent, grandparent and spouse.Metaphor and ArchetypeMetaphors imbue language with imagery that evokes emotions, sensations, and memories in ways that other forms of speech or writing cannot, thus enabling us communicate complex ideas or beliefs. Academic interviewees invoked various metaphors to illustrate mentorship experiences. One interviewee spoke of the “blossoming” relationship while another commented on the power of the mentoring experience to “lift your world”. In the NYT we identified only one instance of the use of metaphor. A CEO of a non-profit organisation explained her mentoring philosophy as follows: “One of my mentors early on talked about the need for a leader to be a ‘certain trumpet’. It comes from Corinthians, and it's a very good visualization -- if the trumpet isn't clear, who's going to follow you?” (Bryant, Zigzag BU.2).By comparison, we noted numerous instances in the NYT wherein mentors were present as characters, or archetypes, in film, performing arts, and television. Archetypes exhibit attributes, or convey meanings, that are instinctively understood by those who share common cultural, societal, or racial experiences (Lane 232) For example, a NYT film review of The Assassin states that “the title character [is] trained in her deadly vocation by a fierce, soft-spoken mentor” (Scott C.4). Such characterisations rely on audiences’ understanding of the inherentfunction of the mentor role, and, like metaphors, can help to convey that which is compelling or complex.Intentionality and TrustIn interviews, academics spoke of the time and trust required to develop mentoring relationships. One noted “It may take a bit of an effort... You don’t get to know a person very well just meeting three times during the year”. Another spoke of trust and comfort as defining these relationships: “You just open up. You feel immediately comfortable”. We also found evidence of trust and intentionality in NYT accounts of these relationships. Mentees were often portrayed as seeking out and relying on mentorship. A junior teacher stated that “she would lean on mentors at her new school. You are not on that island all alone” (Rich A1). In contrast, there were few explicit accounts of intentionality and reflection on the part of a mentor. In one instance, a police officer who participated in a mentorship program for street kids mused “it's not about the talent. It was just about the interaction”. In another, an actor described her mentoring experiences as follows: “You have to know when to give advice and when to just be quiet and listen...no matter how much you tell someone how it goes, no one really wants to listen. Their dreams are much bigger than whatever fear or whatever obstacle you say may be in their path” (Syme C.5).Many NYT articles present career mentoring as a role that can be assumed by anyone with requisite knowledge or experience. Indeed, some accounts of mentorship arguably more closely resembled role model relationships, wherein individuals are admired, typically from afar, and emulated by those who aspire to similar accomplishments. Here, there was little, if any, apparent awareness of the complexity or potential impact of these relationships. Rather, we observed a casualness, an almost striking superficiality, in some NYT accounts of mentoring relationships. Examples ranged from references to “sartorial mentors” (Pappu D1) to a professional coach who shared: “After being told by a mentor that her scowl was ‘setting her back’ at work, [she] began taking pictures of her face so she could try to look more cheerful” (Bennett ST.1).Trust, an essential component of mentorship, can wither when mentors occupy dual roles, such as that of mentor and supervisor, or engage in mentoring as a means of furthering their own interests. While some academic interviewees were mentored by past and current supervisors, none reported any instance of role conflict. However in the NYT, we identified multiple instances where mentorship programs intentionally, or unintentionally, inspired divided loyalties. At one academic institution, peer mentors were “encouraged to befriend and offer mentorship to the students on their floors, yet were designated ‘mandatory reporters’ of any incident that may violate the school policy” (Rosman ST.1). In another media story, government employees in a phased-retirement program received monetary incentives to mentor colleagues: “Federal workers who take phased retirement work 20 hours a week and agree to mentor other workers. During that time, they receive half their pay and half their retirement annuity payout. When workers retire completely, their annuities will include an increase to account for the part-time service” (Hannon B.1). More extreme depictions of conflict of interest were evident in other NYT reports of mentors and mentees competing for job promotions, and mentees accusing mentors of sexual harassment and rape; such examples underscore potential for abuse of trust in these relationships.Discussion/ConclusionsOur exploration of mentorship in the NYT suggests mentorship is embedded in our culture, and is a means by which we develop competencies required to integrate into, and function within, society. Whereas, traditionally, mentorship was an informal relationship that developed over time, we now see a wider array of mentorship models, including formal career and youth programs aimed at increasing access to mentorship, and mentor-for-hire arrangements in business and professional sports. Such formal programs can offer redress to those who lack informal mentorship opportunities, and increased initiatives of this sort are welcome.Although standards of reporting in news media surely account for some of the lack of detail in many NYT reports of mentorship, such brevity may also suggest that, while mentoring continues to grow in popularity, we may have compromised substance for availability. Considerations of the training, time, attention, and trust required of these relationships may have been short-changed, and the tendency we observed in the NYT to conflate role modeling and mentorship may contribute to depictions of mentorship as a quick fix, or ‘mentorship light’. Although mentorship continues to be lauded as a means of promoting personal and professional development, not all mentoring may be of similar quality, and not everyone has comparable access to these relationships. While we continue to honour the promise of mentorship, as with all things worth having, effective mentorship requires effort. This effort comes in the form of preparation, commitment or intentionality, and the development of bonds of trust within these relationships. In short, overuse of, over-reference to, and misapplication of the mentorship label may serve to dilute the significance and meaning of these relationships. Further, we acknowledge a darker side to mentorship, with the potential for abuses of power.Although we have reservations regarding some trends towards the casual usage of the mentorship term, we are also heartened by the apparent scope and reach of these relationships. Numerous individuals continue to draw comfort from advice, sponsorship, motivation, support and validation that mentors provide. Indeed, for many, mentorship may represent an essential lifeline to navigating life’s many challenges. We, thus, conclude that mentorship, in its many forms, is here to stay.ReferencesBennett, Jessica. "Cursed with a Death Stare." New York Times (East Coast) 2 Aug. 2015, late ed.: ST.1.Bryant, Adam. "Designate a Devil's Advocate." New York Times (East Coast) 9 Aug. 2015, late ed.: BU.2.Bryant, Adam. "The Power of Candid Questions." New York Times (East Coast) 16 Aug. 2015, late ed.: BU. 2.Bryant, Adam. "Zigzag Your Way to the Top." New York Times (East Coast) 13 Sept. 2015, late ed.: BU.2.DeMarco, Peter. "One Life, Shaken and Stirred." New York Times (East Coast) 23 Aug. 2015, late ed.: ST.6.DuBois, David L., Nelson Portillo, Jean E. Rhodes, Nadia Silverhorn and Jeffery C. Valentine. "How Effective Are Mentoring Programs for Youth? A Systematic Assessment of the Evidence." Psychological Science in the Public Interest 12.2 (2011): 57-91.Eby, Lillian T., Tammy D. Allen, Brian J. Hoffman, Lisa E. Baranik, …, and Sarah C. Evans. "An Interdisciplinary Meta-analysis of the Potential Antecedents, Correlates, and Consequences of Protégé Perceptions of Mentoring." Psychological Bulletin 139.2 (2013): 441-76.Gold, Sarah. "Preserving a Master's Vision of Sugar Plums." New York Times (East Coast) 6 Dec. 2015, late ed.: CT 11.Hannon, Kerry. "Retiring, But Not All at Once." New York Times (East Coast) 22 Aug. 2015, late ed.: B.1.Kourlas, Gia. "Marathon of a Milestone Tour." New York Times Late Edition (East Coast) 6 Sept. 2015: AR.7.Lane, Lauriat. "The Literary Archetype: Some Reconsiderations." The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 13.2 (1954): 226-32.Levinson, Daniel. J. The Seasons of a Man's Life. New York: Ballantine, 1978.Merriam, Sharan. "Mentors and Protégés: A Critical Review of the Literature." Adult Education Quarterly 33.3 (1983): 161-73.Moynihan, Colin. "Man's Cooperation in Terrorist Cases Spares Him from Serving More Time in Prison." New York Times (East Coast) 24 Oct. 2015, late ed.: A.21.Pappu, Sridhar. "Tailored to the Spotlight." New York Times (East Coast) 27 Aug. 2015, late ed.: D1.Rich, Motoko. "Across Country, a Scramble Is On to Find Teachers." New York Times (East Coast) 10 Aug. 2015, late ed.: A1.Rosman, Katherine. "On the Campus Front Line." New York Times (East Coast) 27 Sept. 2015, late ed.: ST.1.Scott, AO. "The Delights to Be Found in a Deadly Vocation." New York Times (East Coast) 16 Oct. 2015, late ed.: C.4.Shpigel, Ben. "An Exchange of Respect in the Swapping of Jerseys." New York Times (East Coast) 18 Oct. 2015, late ed.: SP.1.Slaughter, Ann-Marie. "A Toxic Work World." New York Times (East Coast) 20 Sept. 2015, late ed.: SR.1.Syme, Rachel. "In TV, Finding a Creative Space with No Limitations." New York Times (East Coast) 26 Aug. 2015, late ed.: C.5.Trebay, Guy. "Remembering a Time When Fashion Shows Were Fun." New York Times (East Coast) 10 Sept. 2015, late ed.: D.8.World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers. World Press Trends Report. Paris: WAN-IFRA, 2015.

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Polain, Marcella Kathleen. "Writing with an Ear to the Ground: The Armenian Genocide's "Stubborn Murmur"." M/C Journal 16, no.1 (March19, 2013). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.591.

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1909–22: Turkey exterminated over 1.5 million of its ethnically Armenian, and hundreds of thousands of its ethnically Greek and Assyrian, citizens. Most died in 1915. This period of decimation in now widely called the Armenian Genocide (Balakian 179-80).1910: Siamanto first published his poem, The Dance: “The corpses were piled as trees, / and from the springs, from the streams and the road, / the blood was a stubborn murmur.” When springs run red, when the dead are stacked tree-high, when “everything that could happen has already happened,” then time is nothing: “there is no future [and] the language of civilised humanity is not our language” (Nichanian 142).2007: In my novel The Edge of the World a ceramic bowl, luminous blue, recurs as motif. Imagine you are tiny: the bowl is broken but you don’t remember breaking it. You’re awash with tears. You sit on the floor, gather shards but, no matter how you try, you can’t fix it. Imagine, now, that the bowl is the sky, huge and upturned above your head. You have always known, through every wash of your blood, that life is shockingly precarious. Silence—between heartbeats, between the words your parents speak—tells you: something inside you is terribly wrong; home is not home but there is no other home; you “can never be fully grounded in a community which does not share or empathise with the experience of persecution” (Wajnryb 130). This is the stubborn murmur of your body.Because time is nothing, this essay is fragmented, non-linear. Its main characters: my mother, grandmother (Hovsanna), grandfather (Benyamin), some of my mother’s older siblings (Krikor, Maree, Hovsep, Arusiak), and Mustafa Kemal Ataturk (Ottoman military officer, Young Turk leader, first president of Turkey). 1915–2013: Turkey invests much energy in genocide denial, minimisation and deflection of responsibility. 24 April 2012: Barack Obama refers to the Medz Yeghern (Great Calamity). The use of this term is decried as appeasem*nt, privileging political alliance with Turkey over human rights. 2003: Between Genocide and Catastrophe, letters between Armenian-American theorist David Kazanjian and Armenian-French theorist Marc Nichanian, contest the naming of the “event” (126). Nichanian says those who call it the Genocide are:repeating every day, everywhere, in all places, the original denial of the Catastrophe. But this is part of the catastrophic structure of the survivor. By using the word “Genocide”, we survivors are only repeating […] the denial of the loss. We probably cannot help it. We are doing what the executioner wanted us to do […] we claim all over the world that we have been “genocided;” we relentlessly need to prove our own death. We are still in the claws of the executioner. We still belong to the logic of the executioner. (127)1992: In Revolution and Genocide, historian Robert Melson identifies the Armenian Genocide as “total” because it was public policy intended to exterminate a large fraction of Armenian society, “including the families of its members, and the destruction of its social and cultural identity in most or all aspects” (26).1986: Boyajian and Grigorian assert that the Genocide “is still operative” because, without full acknowledgement, “the ghosts won’t go away” (qtd. in Hovannisian 183). They rise up from earth, silence, water, dreams: Armenian literature, Armenian homes haunted by them. 2013: My heart pounds: Medz Yeghern, Aksor (Exile), Anashmaneli (Indefinable), Darakrutiun (Deportation), Chart (Massacre), Brnagaght (Forced migration), Aghed (Catastrophe), Genocide. I am awash. Time is nothing.1909–15: Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was both a serving Ottoman officer and a leader of the revolutionary Young Turks. He led Ottoman troops in the repulsion of the Allied invasion before dawn on 25 April at Gallipoli and other sites. Many troops died in a series of battles that eventually saw the Ottomans triumph. Out of this was born one of Australia’s founding myths: Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZACs), courageous in the face of certain defeat. They are commemorated yearly on 25 April, ANZAC Day. To question this myth is to risk being labelled traitor.1919–23: Ataturk began a nationalist revolution against the occupying Allies, the nascent neighbouring Republic of Armenia, and others. The Allies withdrew two years later. Ataturk was installed as unofficial leader, becoming President in 1923. 1920–1922: The last waves of the Genocide. 2007: Robert Manne published A Turkish Tale: Gallipoli and the Armenian Genocide, calling for a recontextualisation of the cultural view of the Gallipoli landings in light of the concurrence of the Armenian Genocide, which had taken place just over the rise, had been witnessed by many military personnel and widely reported by international media at the time. Armenian networks across Australia were abuzz. There were media discussions. I listened, stared out of my office window at the horizon, imagined Armenian communities in Sydney and Melbourne. Did they feel like me—like they were holding their breath?Then it all went quiet. Manne wrote: “It is a wonderful thing when, at the end of warfare, hatred dies. But I struggle to understand why Gallipoli and the Armenian Genocide continue to exist for Australians in parallel moral universes.” 1992: I bought an old house to make a home for me and my two small children. The rooms were large, the ceilings high, and behind it was a jacaranda with a sturdy tree house built high up in its fork. One of my mother’s Armenian friends kindly offered to help with repairs. He and my mother would spend Saturdays with us, working, looking after the kids. Mum would stay the night; her friend would go home. But one night he took a sleeping bag up the ladder to the tree house, saying it reminded him of growing up in Lebanon. The following morning he was subdued; I suspect there were not as many mosquitoes in Lebanon as we had in our garden. But at dinner the previous night he had been in high spirits. The conversation had turned, as always, to politics. He and my mother had argued about Turkey and Russia, Britain’s role in the development of the Middle East conflict, the USA’s roughshod foreign policy and its effect on the world—and, of course, the Armenian Genocide, and the killingof Turkish governmental representatives by Armenians, in Australia and across the world, during the 1980s. He had intimated he knew the attackers and had materially supported them. But surely it was the beer talking. Later, when I asked my mother, she looked at me with round eyes and shrugged, uncharacteristically silent. 2002: Greek-American diva Diamanda Galas performed Dexifiones: Will and Testament at the Perth Concert Hall, her operatic work for “the forgotten victims of the Armenian and Anatolian Greek Genocide” (Galas).Her voice is so powerful it alters me.1925: My grandmother, Hovsanna, and my grandfather, Benyamin, had twice been separated in the Genocide (1915 and 1922) and twice reunited. But in early 1925, she had buried him, once a prosperous businessman, in a swamp. Armenians were not permitted burial in cemeteries. Once they had lived together in a big house with their dozen children; now there were only three with her. Maree, half-mad and 18 years old, and quiet Hovsep, aged seven,walked. Then five-year-old aunt, Arusiak—small, hungry, tired—had been carried by Hovsanna for months. They were walking from Cilicia to Jerusalem and its Armenian Quarter. Someone had said they had seen Krikor, her eldest son, there. Hovsanna was pregnant for the last time. Together the four reached Aleppo in Syria, found a Christian orphanage for girls, and Hovsanna, her pregnancy near its end, could carry Arusiak no further. She left her, promising to return. Hovsanna’s pains began in Beirut’s busy streets. She found privacy in the only place she could, under a house, crawled in. Whenever my mother spoke of her birth she described it like this: I was born under a stranger’s house like a dog.1975: My friend and I travelled to Albany by bus. After six hours we were looking down York Street, between Mount Clarence and Mount Melville, and beyond to Princess Royal Harbour, sapphire blue, and against which the town’s prosperous life—its shopfronts, hotels, cars, tourists, historic buildings—played out. It took away my breath: the deep harbour, whaling history, fishing boats. Rain and sun and scudding cloud; cliffs and swells; rocky points and the white curves of bays. It was from Albany that young Western Australian men, volunteers for World War I, embarked on ships for the Middle East, Gallipoli, sailing out of Princess Royal Harbour.1985: The Australian Government announced that Turkey had agreed to have the site of the 1915 Gallipoli landings renamed Anzac Cove. Commentators and politicians acknowledged it as historic praised Turkey for her generosity, expressed satisfaction that, 70 years on, former foes were able to embrace the shared human experience of war. We were justifiably proud of ourselves.2005: Turkey made her own requests. The entrance to Albany’s Princess Royal Harbour was renamed Ataturk Channel. A large bronze statue of Ataturk was erected on the headland overlooking the Harbour entrance. 24 April 1915: In the town of Hasan Beyli, in Cilicia, southwest Turkey, my great grandfather, a successful and respected businessman in his 50s, was asleep in his bed beside his wife. He had been born in that house, as had his father, grandfather, and all his children. His brother, my great uncle, had bought the house next door as a young man, brought his bride home to it, lived there ever since; between the two households there had been one child after another. All the cousins grew up together. My great grandfather and great uncle had gone to work that morning, despite their wives’ concerns, but had returned home early. The women had been relieved to see them. They made coffee, talked. Everyone had heard the rumours. Enemy ships were massing off the coast. 1978: The second time in Albany was my honeymoon. We had driven into the Goldfields then headed south. Such distance, such beautiful strangeness: red earth, red rocks; scant forests of low trees, thin arms outstretched; the dry, pale, flat land of Norseman. Shimmering heat. Then the big, wild coast.On our second morning—a cool, overcast day—we took our handline to a jetty. The ocean was mercury; a line of cormorants settled and bobbed. Suddenly fish bit; we reeled them in. I leaned over the jetty’s side, looked down into the deep. The water was clear and undisturbed save the twirling of a pike that looked like it had reversed gravity and was shooting straight up to me. Its scales flashed silver as itbroke the surface.1982: How could I concentrate on splicing a film with this story in my head? Besides the desk, the only other furniture in the editing suite was a whiteboard. I took a marker and divided the board into three columns for the three generations: my grandparents, Hovsanna and Benyamin; my mother; someone like me. There was a lot in the first column, some in the second, nothing in the third. I stared at the blankness of my then-young life.A teacher came in to check my editing. I tried to explain what I had been doing. “I think,” he said, stony-faced, “that should be your third film, not your first.”When he had gone I stared at the reels of film, the white board blankness, the wall. It took 25 years to find the form, the words to say it: a novel not a film, prose not pictures.2007: Ten minutes before the launch of The Edge of the World, the venue was empty. I made myself busy, told myself: what do you expect? Your research has shown, over and over, this is a story about which few know or very much care, an inconvenient, unfashionable story; it is perfectly in keeping that no-one will come. When I stepped onto the rostrum to speak, there were so many people that they crowded the doorway, spilled onto the pavement. “I want to thank my mother,” I said, “who, pretending to do her homework, listened instead to the story her mother told other Armenian survivor-women, kept that story for 50 years, and then passed it on to me.” 2013: There is a section of The Edge of the World I needed to find because it had really happened and, when it happened, I knew, there in my living room, that Boyajian and Grigorian (183) were right about the Armenian Genocide being “still operative.” But I knew even more than that: I knew that the Diaspora triggered by genocide is both rescue and weapon, the new life in this host nation both sanctuary and betrayal. I picked up a copy, paced, flicked, followed my nose, found it:On 25 April, the day after Genocide memorial-day, I am watching television. The Prime Minister stands at the ANZAC memorial in western Turkey and delivers a poetic and moving speech. My eyes fill with tears, and I moan a little and cover them. In his speech he talks about the heroism of the Turkish soldiers in their defence of their homeland, about the extent of their losses – sixty thousand men. I glance at my son. He raises his eyebrows at me. I lose count of how many times Kemal Ataturk is mentioned as the Father of Modern Turkey. I think of my grandmother and grandfather, and all my baby aunts and uncles […] I curl over like a mollusc; the ache in my chest draws me in. I feel small and very tired; I feel like I need to wash.Is it true that if we repeat something often enough and loud enough it becomes the truth? The Prime Minister quotes Kemal Ataturk: the ANZACS who died and are buried on that western coast are deemed ‘sons of Turkey’. My son turns my grandfather’s, my mother’s, my eyes to me and says, It is amazing they can be so friendly after we attacked them.I draw up my knees to my chest, lay my head and arms down. My limbs feel weak and useless. My throat hurts. I look at my Australian son with his Armenian face (325-6).24 April 1915 cont: There had been trouble all my great grandfather’s life: pogrom here, massacre there. But this land was accustomed to colonisers: the Mongols, the Persians, latterly the Ottomans. They invade, conquer, rise, fall; Armenians stay. This had been Armenian homeland for thousands of years.No-one masses ships off a coast unless planning an invasion. So be it. These Europeans could not be worse than the Ottomans. That night, were my great grandfather and great uncle awoken by the pounding at each door, or by the horses and gendarmes’ boots? They were seized, each family herded at gunpoint into its garden, and made to watch. Hanging is slow. There could be no mistakes. The gendarmes used the stoutest branches, stayed until they were sure the men weredead. This happened to hundreds of prominent Armenian men all over Turkey that night.Before dawn, the Allies made landfall.Each year those lost in the Genocide are remembered on 24 April, the day before ANZAC Day.1969: I asked my mother if she had any brothers and sisters. She froze, her hands in the sink. I stared at her, then slipped from the room.1915: The Ottoman government decreed: all Armenians were to surrender their documents and report to authorities. Able-bodied men were taken away, my grandfather among them. Women and children, the elderly and disabled, were told to prepare to walk to a safe camp where they would stay for the duration of the war. They would be accompanied by armed soldiers for their protection. They were permitted to take with them what they could carry (Bryce 1916).It began immediately, pretty young women and children first. There are so many ways to kill. Months later, a few dazed, starved survivors stumbled into the Syrian desert, were driven into lakes, or herded into churches and set alight.Most husbands and fathers were never seen again. 2003: I arrived early at my son’s school, parked in the shade, opened The Silence: How Tragedy Shapes Talk, and began to read. Soon I was annotating furiously. Ruth Wajnryb writes of “growing up among innocent peers in an innocent landscape” and also that the notion of “freedom of speech” in Australia “seems often, to derive from that innocent landscape where reside people who have no personal scars or who have little relevant historical knowledge” (141).1984: I travelled to Vancouver, Canada, and knocked on Arusiak’s door. Afraid she would not agree to meet me, I hadn’t told her I was coming. She was welcoming and gracious. This was my first experience of extended family and I felt loved in a new and important way, a way I had read about, had observed in my friends, had longed for. One afternoon she said, “You know our mother left me in an orphanage…When I saw her again, it was too late. I didn’t know who they were, what a family was. I felt nothing.” “Yes, I know,” I replied, my heart full and hurting. The next morning, over breakfast, she quietly asked me to leave. 1926: When my mother was a baby, her 18 year-old sister, Maree, tried to drown her in the sea. My mother clearly recalled Maree’s face had been disfigured by a sword. Hovsanna, would ask my mother to forgive Maree’s constant abuse and bad behaviour, saying, “She is only half a person.”1930: Someone gave Hovsanna the money to travel to Aleppo and reclaim Arusiak, by then 10 years old. My mother was intrigued by the appearance of this sister but Arusiak was watchful and withdrawn. When she finally did speak to my then five-year-old mother, she hissed: “Why did she leave me behind and keep you?”Soon after Arusiak appeared, Maree, “only half a person,” disappeared. My mother was happy about that.1935: At 15, Arusiak found a live-in job and left. My mother was 10 years old; her brother Hovsep, who cared for her before and after school every day while their mother worked, and always had, was seventeen. She adored him. He had just finished high school and was going to study medicine. One day he fell ill. He died within a week.1980: My mother told me she never saw her mother laugh or, once Hovsep died, in anything other than black. Two or three times before Hovsep died, she saw her smile a little, and twice she heard her singing when she thought she was alone: “A very sad song,” my mother would say, “that made me cry.”1942: At seventeen, my mother had been working as a live-in nanny for three years. Every week on her only half-day off she had caught the bus home. But now Hovsanna was in hospital, so my mother had been visiting her there. One day her employer told her she must go to the hospital immediately. She ran. Hovsanna was lying alone and very still. Something wasn’t right. My mother searched the hospital corridors but found no-one. She picked up a phone. When someone answered she told them to send help. Then she ran all the way home, grabbed Arusiak’s photograph and ran all the way back. She laid it on her mother’s chest, said, “It’s all right, Mama, Arusiak’s here.”1976: My mother said she didn’t like my boyfriend; I was not to go out with him. She said she never disobeyed her own mother because she really loved her mother. I went out with my boyfriend. When I came home, my belongings were on the front porch. The door was bolted. I was seventeen.2003: I read Wajnryb who identifies violent eruptions of anger and frozen silences as some of the behaviours consistent in families with a genocidal history (126). 1970: My father had been dead over a year. My brothers and I were, all under 12, made too much noise. My mother picked up the phone: she can’t stand us, she screamed; she will call an orphanage to take us away. We begged.I fled to my room. I couldn’t sit down. I couldn’t keep still. I paced, pressed my face into a corner; shook and cried, knowing (because she had always told us so) that she didn’t make idle threats, knowing that this was what I had sometimes glimpsed on her face when she looked at us.2012: The Internet reveals images of Ataturk’s bronze statue overlooking Princess Royal Harbour. Of course, it’s outsized, imposing. The inscription on its plinth reads: "Peace at Home/ Peace in the World." He wears a suit, looks like a scholar, is moving towards us, a scroll in his hand. The look in his eyes is all intensity. Something distant has arrested him – a receding or re-emerging vision. Perhaps a murmur that builds, subsides, builds again. (Medz Yeghern, Aksor, Aghed, Genocide). And what is written on that scroll?2013: My partner suggested we go to Albany, escape Perth’s brutal summer. I tried to explain why it’s impossible. There is no memorial in Albany, or anywhere else in Western Australia, to the 1.5 million victims of the Armenian Genocide. ReferencesAkcam, Taner. “The Politics of Genocide.” Online Video Clip. YouTube. YouTube, 11 Dec. 2011. 6 Mar. 2013 ‹http://www.youtube.com/watchv=OxAJaaw81eU&noredirect=1genocide›.Balakian, Peter. The Burning Tigress: The Armenian Genocide. London: William Heinemann, 2004.BBC. “Kemal Ataturk (1881–1938).” BBC History. 2013. 6 Mar. 2013 ‹http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/ataturk_kemal.shtml›.Boyajian, Levon, and Haigaz Grigorian. “Psychological Sequelae of the Armenian Genocide.”The Armenian Genocide in Perspective. Ed. Richard Hovannisian. New Brunswick: Transaction, 1987. 177–85.Bryce, Viscount. The Treatment of the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1916.Galas, Diamanda. Program Notes. Dexifiones: Will and Testament. Perth Concert Hall, Perth, Australia. 2001.———.“Dexifiones: Will and Testament FULL Live Lisboa 2001 Part 1.” Online Video Clip. YouTube, 5 Nov. 2011. Web. 6 Mar. 2013 ‹http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mvVnYbxWArM›.Kazanjian, David, and Marc Nichanian. “Between Genocide and Catastrophe.” Loss. Eds. David Eng and David Kazanjian. Los Angeles: U of California P, 2003. 125–47.Manne, Robert. “A Turkish Tale: Gallipoli and the Armenian Genocide.” The Monthly Feb. 2007. 6 Mar. 2013 ‹http://www.themonthly.com.au/turkish-tale-gallipoli-and-armenian-genocide-robert-manne-459›.Matiossian, Vartan. “When Dictionaries Are Left Unopened: How ‘Medz Yeghern’ Turned into a Terminology of Denial.” The Armenian Weekly 27 Nov. 2012. 6 Mar. 2013 ‹http://www.armenianweekly.com/2012/11/27/when-dictionaries-are-left-unopened-how-medz-yeghern-turned-into-terminology-of-denial/›.Melson, Robert. Revolution and Genocide. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1996.Nicholson, Brendan. “ASIO Detected Bomb Plot by Armenian Terrorists.” The Australian 2 Jan. 2012. 6 Mar. 2013 ‹http://www.theaustralian.com.au/in-depth/cabinet-papers/asio-detected-bomb-plot-by-armenian-terrorists/story-fnbkqb54-1226234411154›.“President Obama Issues Statement on Armenian Remembrance Day.” The Armenian Weekly 24 Apr. 2012. 5 Mar. 2013 ‹http://www.armenianweekly.com/2012/04/24/president-obama-issues-statement-on-armenian-remembrance-day/›.Polain, Marcella. The Edge of the World. Fremantle: Fremantle Press, 2007.Siamanto. “The Dance.” Trans. Peter Balakian and Nervart Yaghlian. Adonias Dalgas Memorial Page 5 Mar. 2013 ‹http://www.terezakis.com/dalgas.html›.Stockings, Craig. “Let’s Have a Truce in the Battle of the Anzac Myth.” The Australian 25 Apr. 2012. 6 Mar. 2013 ‹http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/opinion/lets-have-a-truce-in-the-battle-of-the-anzac-myth/story-e6frgd0x-1226337486382›.Wajnryb, Ruth. The Silence: How Tragedy Shapes Talk. Crows Nest: Allen and Unwin, 2001.

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Green, Lelia. "Being a Bad Vegan." M/C Journal 22, no.2 (April24, 2019). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.1512.

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According to The Betoota Advocate (Parker), a CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) paper has recently established that “it takes roughly seven minutes on average for a vegan to tell you that they’re vegan” (qtd. in Harrington et al. 135). For such a statement to have currency as a joke means that it is grounded in a shared experience of being vegan on the one hand, and of encountering vegans on the other. Why should vegans feel such a need to justify themselves? I recognise the observation as being true of me, and this article is one way to explore this perspective: writing to find out what I currently only intuit. As Richardson notes (516), writing is “a way of ‘knowing’—a method of discovery and analysis. By writing in different ways, we discover new aspects of our topic and our relationship to it. Form and content are inseparable” (qtd. in Wall 151).Autoethnography, the qualitative research methodology used for this article, is etymologically derived from Greek to indicate a process for exploring the self (autos) and the cultural (“ethno” from ethnos—nation, tribe, people, class) using a shared, understood, approach (“graphy” from graphia, writing). It relies upon critical engagement with and synthesising of the personal. In Wall’s words, this methodological analysis of human experience “says that what I know matters” (148). The autoethnographic investigation (Riggins; Sparkes) reported here interrogates the experience of “being judged” as a vegan: firstly, by myself; secondly, by other vegans; and ultimately by the wider society. As Ellis notes, autoethnography is “research, writing, story and method that connect the autobiographical and personal to the cultural, social and political. Autoethnographic forms feature concrete action, emotion, embodiment, self-consciousness, and introspection” (xix).Introspection is important because researchers’ stories of their observations are interwoven with self-reflexive critique and analysis: “illustrative materials are meant to give a sense of what the observed world is really like, while the researcher’s interpretations are meant to represent a more detached conceptualization of that reality” (Strauss and Corbin 22). Leaving aside Gans’s view that this form of enquiry represents the “climax of the preoccupation with self […] an autobiography written by sociologists” (542), an autoethnography generally has the added advantage of protecting against Glendon and Stanton’s concern that interpretive studies “are often of too short a duration to be able to provide sufficiently large samples of behaviour” (209). In my case, I have twelve years of experience of identifying as a vegan to draw upon.My experience is that being vegan is a contested activity with a significant range of variation that partly reflects the different initial motivations for adopting this increasingly mainstream identity. Greenebaum notes that “ethical vegans differentiate between those who ‘eat’ vegan (health vegans) and those who ‘live’ vegan (ethical vegans)”, going on to suggest that these differences create “hierarchies and boundaries between vegans” (131). As Greenebaum acknowledges, there is sometimes a need to balance competing priorities: “an environmental vegan […] may purchase leather products over polyvinyl chloride (PVC), thinking that leather is a better choice for the environment” (130). Harrington et al. similarly critique vegan motivations as encompassing “a selfless pursuit for those who cared for other beings (animals)” to “a concern about impacts that affect all humans (environment), and an interest mostly in the self (individual health …)” (144). Wright identifies a fourth group of vegans: those searching for a means of dietary inclusivity (2). I have known Orthodox Jewish households that have adopted veganism because it is compatible with keeping Kosher, while many strict Hindus are vegan and some observant Muslims may also follow suit, to avoid meat that is not Halal certified.The Challenge of the EverydayAlthough my initial vegan promptings were firmly at the selfish end of an altruism spectrum, my experience is that motivation is not static. Being a vegan for any reason increasingly primes awareness of more altruistic motivations “at the intersection of a diversity of concerns [… promoting] a spread and expansion of meaning to view food choices holistically” (Harrington et al. 144). Even so, everyday life offers a range of temptations and challenges that require constant juggling and, sometimes, a string of justifications: to oneself, and to others. I identify as a bit of a bad vegan, and not simply because I embrace the possibility that “honey is a gray area” (Greenebaum, quoting her participant Jason, 139). I’m also flexible around wine, for example, and don’t ask too many questions about whether the wine I drink is refined using milk, or egg-shells or even (yuk!) fish bladders. The point is, there are an infinite number of acid tests as to what constitutes “a real vegan”, encouraging inter-vegan judgmentality. Some slight definitional slippage aligns with Singer and Mason’s argument, however, that vegans should avoid worrying about “trivial infractions of the ethical guidelines […] Personal purity isn’t really the issue. Not supporting animal abuse – and persuading others not to support it – is. Giving people the impression that it is virtually impossible to be vegan doesn’t help animals at all” (Singer and Mason 258–9).If I were to accept a definition of non-vegan, possibly because I have a leather handbag among other infractions, that would feel inauthentic. The term “vegan” helpfully labels my approach to food and drink. Others also find it useful as a shorthand for dietary preferences (except for the small but significant minority who muddle veganism with being gluten free). From the point of view of dietary prohibitions I’m a particularly strict vegan, apart from honey. I know people who make exceptions for line-caught fish, or the eggs from garden-roaming happy chooks, but I don’t. I increasingly understand the perspectives of those who have a more radical conception of veganism than I do, however: whose vision and understanding is that “behind every meal of meat is an absence: the death of the animal whose place the meat takes. The ‘absent referent’ is that which separates the meat eater from the animal and the animal from the end product [… keeping] something from being seen as having been someone” (Adams 14). The concept of the global suffering of animals inherent in the figures: “31.1 billion each year, 85.2 million each day, 3.5 million each hour, 59,170 each minute” (Adams dedication) is appalling; as well as being an under-representation of the current situation since the globe has had almost two further decades of population growth and rising “living standards”.Whatever the motivations, it’s easy to imagine that the different branches of veganism have more in common than divides them. Being a vegan of any kind helps someone identify with other variations upon the theme. For example, even though my views on animal rights did not motivate my choice to become vegan, once I stopped seeing other sentient creatures as a handy food source I began to construct them differently. I gradually realised that, as a species, we were committing the most extraordinary atrocities on a global scale in treating animals as disposable commodities without rights or feelings. The large-scale production of what we like to term “meat and poultry” is almost unadulterated animal suffering, whereas the by-catch (“waste products”) of commercial fishing represents an extraordinary disregard of the rights to life of other creatures and, as Cole and Morgan note, “The number of aquatic animals slaughtered is not recorded, their individual deaths being subsumed by aggregate weight statistics” (135). Even if we did accept that humans have the right to consume some animals some of the time, should the netting of a given weight of edible fish really entail the death of many, many time more weight of living creatures that will be “wasted”: the so-called by-catch? Such wanton destruction has increasingly visible impacts upon complex food chains, and the ecosystems that sustain us all.The Vegan Threat to the Status QuoExamining the evidence for the broader community being biased against vegetarians and vegans, MacInnis and Hodson identify that these groups are “clear targets of relatively more negative attitudes” (727) towards them than other minority groups. Indeed, “only drug addicts were evaluated more negatively than vegetarians and vegans” (726). While “vegans were evaluated more negatively than vegetarians” (732), there was a hierarchy in negative evaluations according to the underlying motivation for someone adopting veganism or vegetarianism. People motivated by personal health received the least negative evaluations from the general population followed by those who were motivated by the environment. The greatest opprobrium was reserved for vegans who were motivated by animal rights (732). MacInnis and Hodson reason that this antipathy is because “vegetarians and vegans represent strong threats to the status quo, given that prevailing cultural norms favour meat-eating” (722). Also implied here is that fact that eating meat is itself a cultural norm associated with masculinity (Rothgerber).Adams’s work links the unthinking, normative exploitation of animals to the unthinking, normative exploitation of women, a situation so aligned that it is often expressed through the use of a common metaphor: “‘meat’ becomes a term to express women’s oppression, used equally by patriarchy and feminists, who say that women are ‘pieces of meat’” (2002, 59). Rothberger further interrogates the relationship between masculinity and meat by exploring gender in relation to strategies for “meat eating justification”, reflecting a 1992 United States study that showed, of all people reporting that they were vegetarian, 68% were women and 32% men (Smart, 1995). Rothberger’s argument is that:Following a vegetarian diet or deliberately reducing meat intake violates the spirit of Western hegemonic masculinity, with its socially prescribed norms of stoicism, practicality, seeking dominance, and being powerful, strong, tough, robust and invulnerable […] Such individuals have basically cast aside a relatively hidden male privilege—the freedom and ability to eat without criticism and scrutiny, something that studies have shown women lack. (371)Noting that “to raise concerns about the injustices of factory farming and to feel compelled by them would seem emotional, weak and sensitive—feminine characteristics” (366), Rothberger sets the scene for me to note two items of popular culture which achieved cut-through in my personal life. The evidence for this is, in terms of all the pro-vegan materials I encounter, these were two of a small number that I shared on social media. In line with Rothberger’s observations, both are oppositional to hegemonic masculinity:one represents a feminised, mother and child exchange that captures the moment when a child realises the “absent referent” of the dead animal in the octopus on his plate—https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SrU03da2arE;while the other is a sentimentalised and sympathetic recording of cattle luxuriating in their first taste of pastureland after a long period of confinement—https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=huT5__BqY_U.Seeing cows behaving like pets does call attention to the artificial distinction between “companion animals” and other animals. As Cole and Stewart note, “the naming of other animals is useful for human beings, while it is dangerous, and frequently lethal, for other animals. This is because the words we use to name other animals are saturated with common sense knowledge claims about those animals that legitimate their habitual use for humans” (13). Thus a cat, in Western culture, has a very different life trajectory to a cow. Adams notes the contrary case where the companion animal is used as a referent for a threatened human:Child sexual abusers often use threats and/or violence against companion animals to achieve compliance from their victims. Batterers harm or kill a companion animal as a warning to their partner that she could be next; as a way of further separating her from meaningful relationships; to demonstrate his power and her powerlessness. (Adams 57)For children who are still at a stage where animals are creatures of fascination and potential friends, who may be growing up with Charlotte’s Web (White) or Peter Rabbit (Potter), the mental gymnastics of suspending identification with these fellow creatures are harder because empathy and imagination are more active and the ingrained habit of eating without thinking has not had so long to develop. Indeed, children often understand domestic animals as “members of the family”, as illustrated by an interview with Kani, a 10-year old participant in one of my research projects. “In the absence of her extended family overseas, Kani adds her pets to [the list of] those with whom she shares her family life: ‘And my mum and my uncle and then our cat Dobby. I named it [for Harry Potter’s house elf] ...and the goldfish. The goldfish are Twinkle, Glitter, Glow and Bobby’” (Green and Stevenson). Such perceptions may well filter through to children having a different understanding of animals-as-food, even though Cole and Stewart note that “children enter into an adult culture habituated to [the] banal conceptualization of other animals according to their (dis)utilities” (21).Evidence-Based VeganismThose M/C Journal readers who know me personally will understand that one reason why I embrace the “bad vegan” label, is that I’m no more obviously a pin-up for healthy veganism than I am for ethical or environmental veganism. In particular, my BMI (Body Mass Index) is significantly outside the “healthy” range. Even so, I attribute a dramatic change in my capacity for stamina-based activity to my embrace of veganism. A high-speed recap of the evidence would include: in 2009 I embarked on a week-long 500km Great Vic bike ride; in 2012 I successfully completed a Machu Picchu trek at high altitude; by 2013 I was ready for my first half marathon (reprised in 2014, and 2017); in 2014 I cycled from Surfers’ Paradise to Noosa—somewhat less successfully than in my 2009 venture, but even so; in 2016 I completed the Oxfam 50km in 24 hours (plus a half hour, if I’m honest); and in 2017 I completed the 227km Portuguese Camino; in 2018 I jogged an average of over 3km per day, every day, up until 20 September... Apart from indicating that I live an extremely fortunate life, these activities seem to me to demonstrate that becoming vegan in 2007 has conferred a huge health benefit. In particular, I cannot identify similar metamorphoses in the lives of my 50-to-60-something year-old empty-nester friends. My most notable physical feat pre-veganism was the irregular completion of Perth’s annual 12km City-to-Surf fun run.Although I’m a vegan for health reasons, I didn’t suddenly wake up one day and decide that this was now my future: I had to be coaxed and cajoled into looking at my food preferences very differently. This process entailed my enrolling in a night school-type evening course, the Coronary Health Improvement Program: 16 x 3 hour sessions over eight weeks. Its sibling course is now available online as the Complete Health Improvement Program. The first lesson of the eight weeks convincingly demonstrated that what is good for coronary health is also good for health in general, which I found persuasive and reassuring given the propensity to cancer evident in my family tree. In the generation above me, my parents each had three siblings so I have a sample of eight immediate family to draw upon. Six of these either have cancer at the moment, or have died from cancer, with the cancers concerned including breast (1), prostate (2), lung (1), pancreas (1) and brain (1). A seventh close relative passed away before her health service could deliver a diagnosis for her extraordinarily elevated eosinophil levels (100x normal rates of that particular kind of white blood cell: potentially a blood cancer, I think). The eighth relative in that generation is my “bad vegan” uncle who has been mainly plant-based in his dietary choices since 2004. At 73, he is still working three days per week as a dentist and planning a 240 km trek in Italy as his main 2019 holiday. That’s the kind of future I’m hoping for too, when I grow up.And yet, one can read volumes of health literature without stumbling upon Professor T. Colin Campbell’s early research findings via his work on rodents and rodent cells that: “nutrition [was] far more important in controlling cancer promotion than the dose of the initiating carcinogen” and that “nutrients from animal-based foods increased tumor development while nutrients from plant-based foods decreased tumor development” (66, italics in original). Plant was already an eminent scientist at the point where she developed breast cancer, but she noted her amazement at learning “precisely how much has been discovered already [that] has not filtered through to the public” (18). The reason for the lack of visible research in this area is not so much its absence, but more likely its political sensitivity in an era of Big Food. As Harrington et al.’s respondent Samantha noted, “I think the meat lobby’s much bigger than the vegetable lobby” (147). These arguments are addressed in greater depth in Green et al.My initiating research question—Why do I feel the need to justify being vegan?—can clearly be answered in a wide variety of ways. Veganism disrupts the status quo: it questions both the appropriateness of humanity’s systematic torturing of other species for food, and the risks that those animal-based foods pose for the long-term health of human populations. It offends many vested interests from Big Food to accepted notions of animal welfare to the conventional teachings of the health industry. Identifying as a vegan represents an outcome of one or more of a wide range of motivations, some of which are more clearly self-serving (read “bad”); while others are more easily identified as altruistic (read “good”). After a decade or more of personal experimentation in this space, I’m proud to identify as a “bad vegan”. It’s been a great choice personally and, I hope, for some other creatures whose planet I share.ReferencesAdams, Carol. The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory. New York: Continuum, 1990.Campbell, T. Colin, and Thomas M. Cambell. The China Study: Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-Term Health. Dallas: BenBella Books, 2005.Cole, Matthew, and Karen Morgan. “Vegaphobia: Derogatory Discourses of Veganism and the Reproduction of Speciesism in UK National Newspaper.” British Journal of Sociology 62 (2011): 134–53.———, and Kate Stewart. Our Children and Other Animals: The Cultural Construction of Human-Animal Relations in Childhood. Farnham: Ashgate, 2014.Ellis, Carolyn. The Ethnographic I: A Methodological Novel about Autoethnography. Oxford: Altamira Press, 2004.Gans, Herbert J. “Participant Observation in the Era of ‘Ethnography’.” Journal of Contemporary Ethnography 28.5 (1999): 540–48.Glendon, A. Ian, and Neville Stanton. “Perspectives on Safety Culture.” Safety Science 34.1-3 (2000): 193–214.Green, Lelia, Leesa Costello, and Julie Dare. “Veganism, Health Expectancy, and the Communication of Sustainability.” Australian Journal of Communication 37.3 (2010): 87–102.———, and Kylie Stevenson. “A Ten-Year-Old’s Use of Creative Content to Construct an Alternative Future for Herself.” M/C Journal 20.1 (2017). 13 Apr. 2019 <http://journal.media-culture.org.au/index.php/mcjournal/article/view/1211>.Greenebaum, Jessica. (2012). “Veganism, Identity and the Quest for Authenticity.” Food, Culture and Society 15.1 (2012): 129–44.Harrington, Stephen, Christie Collis, and OzgurDedehayir. “It’s Not (Just) about the F-ckin’ Animals: Why Veganism Is Changing, and Why That Matters.” Alternative Food Politics: From the Margins to the Mainstream. Eds. Michelle Phillipov and Katherine Kirkwood. New York: Routledge, 2019. 135–50.MacInnes, Cara. C., and Gordon Hodson. “It Ain’t Easy Eating Greens: Evidence of Bias Toward Vegetarians and Vegans from Both Source and Target.” Group Processes and Intergroup Relations 20.6 (2015): 721–44.Parker, Errol. “Study Finds the Easiest Way to Tell If Someone Is Vegan Is to Wait until They Inevitably Tell You.” The Betoota Advocate 2017. 10 Apr. 2019 <https://www.betootaadvocate.com/humans-of-betoota/study-finds-easiest-way-tell-someone-vegan-wait-inevitably-tell/>.Plant, Jane A. Your Life in Your Hands: Understand, Prevent and Overcome Breast Cancer and Ovarian Cancer. 4th ed. London: Virgin Books, 2007.Potter, Beatrix. The Tale of Peter Rabbit. London: Frederick Warne and Co, 1902.Richardson, Laurel. “Writing: A Method of Inquiry.” Handbook of Qualitative Research. Eds. Norman K. Denzon and Yvonne S. Lincoln. Thousand Oaks: Sage, 1994. 516–29.Riggins, Stephen Harold. “Fieldwork in the Living Room: An Autoethnographic Essay.” The Socialness of Things: Essays on the Socio-Semiotics of Objects. Ed. Stephen Harold Riggins. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 1994. 101–50.Rothgerber, Hank. “Real Men Don’t Eat (Vegetable) Quiche: Masculinity and the Justification of Meat Consumption.” Psychology of Men and Masculinity 14 (1994): 363–75.Singer, Peter, and Jim Mason. The Ethics of What We Eat. Melbourne: Text Publishing Company.Smart, Joanne. “The Gender Gap.” Vegetarian Times 210 (1995): 74–81.Sparkes, Andrew C. “Autoethnography: ‘Self-Indulgence or Something More?’” Ethnographically Speaking: Auto-Ethnography, Literature and Aesthetics. Eds. Arthur P. Bochner and Carolyn C. Ellis. Oxford: Altamira Press, 2002. 209–32.Strauss, Anselm, and Juliet Corbin. Basics of Qualitative Research: Grounded Theory Procedures and Techniques. London: Sage, 1990.Wall, Sarah. “An Autoethnography on Learning about Autoethnography.” International Journal of Qualitative Methods 5 (2006): 146–60.White, Elwyn B. Charlotte’s Web. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1952.Wright, Laura. The Vegan Studies Project: Food, Animals and Gender in the Age of Terror. Athens: U of Georgia Press, 2015.

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Wark, McKenzie. "Toywars." M/C Journal 6, no.3 (June1, 2003). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.2179.

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Abstract:

I first came across etoy in Linz, Austria in 1995. They turned up at Ars Electronica with their shaved heads, in their matching orange bomber jackets. They were not invited. The next year they would not have to crash the party. In 1996 they were awarded Arts Electronica’s prestigious Golden Nica for web art, and were on their way to fame and bitterness – the just rewards for their art of self-regard. As founding member Agent.ZAI says: “All of us were extremely greedy – for excitement, for drugs, for success.” (Wishart & Boschler: 16) The etoy story starts on the fringes of the squatters’ movement in Zurich. Disenchanted with the hard left rhetorics that permeate the movement in the 1980s, a small group look for another way of existing within a commodified world, without the fantasy of an ‘outside’ from which to critique it. What Antonio Negri and friends call the ‘real subsumption’ of life under the rule of commodification is something etoy grasps intuitively. The group would draw on a number of sources: David Bowie, the Sex Pistols, the Manchester rave scene, European Amiga art, rumors of the historic avant gardes from Dada to Fluxus. They came together in 1994, at a meeting in the Swiss resort town of Weggis on Lake Lucerne. While the staging of the founding meeting looks like a rerun of the origins of the Situationist International, the wording of the invitation might suggest the founding of a pop music boy band: “fun, money and the new world?” One of the – many – stories about the origins of the name Dada has it being chosen at random from a bilingual dictionary. The name etoy, in an update on that procedure, was spat out by a computer program designed to make four letter words at random. Ironically, both Dada and etoy, so casually chosen, would inspire furious struggles over the ownership of these chancey 4-bit words. The group decided to make money by servicing the growing rave scene. Being based in Vienna and Zurich, the group needed a way to communicate, and chose to use the internet. This was a far from obvious thing to do in 1994. Connections were slow and unreliable. Sometimes it was easier to tape a hard drive full of clubland graphics to the underside of a seat on the express train from Zurich to Vienna and simply email instructions to meet the train and retrieve it. The web was a primitive instrument in 1995 when etoy built its first website. They launched it with a party called etoy.FASTLANE, an optimistic title when the web was anything but. Coco, a transsexual model and tabloid sensation, sang a Japanese song while suspended in the air. She brought media interest, and was anointed etoy’s lifestyle angel. As Wishart and Bochsler write, “it was as if the Seven Dwarfs had discovered their Snow White.” (Wishart & Boschler: 33) The launch didn’t lead to much in the way of a music deal or television exposure. The old media were not so keen to validate the etoy dream of lifting themselves into fame and fortune by their bootstraps. And so etoy decided to be stars of the new media. The slogan was suitably revised: “etoy: the pop star is the pilot is the coder is the designer is the architect is the manager is the system is etoy.” (Wishart & Boschler: 34) The etoy boys were more than net.artists, they were artists of the brand. The brand was achieving a new prominence in the mid-90s. (Klein: 35) This was a time when capitalism was hollowing itself out in the overdeveloped world, shedding parts of its manufacturing base. Control of the circuits of commodification would rest less on the ownership of the means of production and more on maintaining a monopoly on the flows of information. The leading edge of the ruling class was becoming self-consciously vectoral. It controlled the flow of information about what to produce – the details of design, the underlying patents. It controlled the flows of information about what is produced – the brands and logos, the slogans and images. The capitalist class is supplanted by a vectoral class, controlling the commodity circuit through the vectors of information. (Wark) The genius of etoy was to grasp the aesthetic dimension of this new stage of commodification. The etoy boys styled themselves not so much as a parody of corporate branding and management groupthink, but as logical extension of it. They adopted matching uniforms and called themselves agents. In the dada-punk-hiphop tradition, they launched themselves on the world as brand new, self-created, self-named subjects: Agents Zai, Brainhard, Gramazio, Kubli, Esposto, Udatny and Goldstein. The etoy.com website was registered in 1995 with Network Solutions for a $100 fee. The homepage for this etoy.TANKSYSTEM was designed like a flow chart. As Gramazio says: “We wanted to create an environment with surreal content, to build a parallel world and put the content of this world into tanks.” (Wishart & Boschler: 51) One tank was a cybermotel, with Coco the first guest. Another tank showed you your IP number, with a big-brother eye looking on. A supermarket tank offered sunglasses and laughing gas for sale, but which may or may not be delivered. The underground tank included hardcore photos of a sensationalist kind. A picture of the Federal Building in Oklamoma City after the bombing was captioned in deadpan post-situ style “such work needs a lot of training.” (Wishart & Boschler: 52) The etoy agents were by now thoroughly invested in the etoy brand and the constellation of images they had built around it, on their website. Their slogan became “etoy: leaving reality behind.” (Wishart & Boschler: 53) They were not the first artists fascinated by commodification. It was Warhol who said “good art is good business.”(Warhol ) But etoy reversed the equation: good business is good art. And good business, in this vectoral age, is in its most desirable form an essentially conceptual matter of creating a brand at the center of a constellation of signifiers. Late in 1995, etoy held another group meeting, at the Zurich youth center Dynamo. The problem was that while they had build a hardcore website, nobody was visiting it. Agents Gooldstein and Udatny thought that there might be a way of using the new search engines to steer visitors to the site. Zai and Brainhard helped secure a place at the Vienna Academy of Applied Arts where Udatny could use the computer lab to implement this idea. Udatny’s first step was to create a program that would go out and gather email addresses from the web. These addresses would form the lists for the early examples of art-spam that etoy would perpetrate. Udatny’s second idea was a bit more interesting. He worked out how to get the etoy.TANKSYSTEM page listed in search engines. Most search engines ranked pages by the frequency of the search term in the pages it had indexed, so etoy.TANKSYSTEM would contain pages of selected keywords. p*rn sites were also discovering this method of creating free publicity. The difference was that etoy chose a very carefully curated list of 350 search terms, including: art, bondage, cyberspace, Doom, Elvis, Fidel, genx, heroin, internet, jungle and Kant. Users of search engines who searched for these terms would find dummy pages listed prominently in their search results that directed them, unsuspectingly, to etoy.com. They called this project Digital Hijack. To give the project a slightly political aura, the pages the user was directed to contained an appeal for the release of convicted hacker Kevin Mitnick. This was the project that won them a Golden Nica statuette at Ars Electronica in 1996, which Gramazio allegedly lost the same night playing roulette. It would also, briefly, require that they explain themselves to the police. Digital Hijack also led to the first splits in the group, under the intense pressure of organizing it on a notionally collective basis, but with the zealous Agent Zai acting as de facto leader. When Udatny was expelled, Zai and Brainhard even repossessed his Toshiba laptop, bought with etoy funds. As Udatny recalls, “It was the lowest point in my life ever. There was nothing left; I could not rely on etoy any more. I did not even have clothes, apart from the etoy uniform.” (Wishart & Boschler: 104) Here the etoy story repeats a common theme from the history of the avant gardes as forms of collective subjectivity. After Digital Hijack, etoy went into a bit of a slump. It’s something of a problem for a group so dependent on recognition from the other of the media, that without a buzz around them, etoy would tend to collapse in on itself like a fading supernova. Zai spend the early part of 1997 working up a series of management documents, in which he appeared as the group’s managing director. Zai employed the current management theory rhetoric of employee ‘empowerment’ while centralizing control. Like any other corporate-Trotskyite, his line was that “We have to get used to reworking the company structure constantly.” (Wishart & Boschler: 132) The plan was for each member of etoy to register the etoy trademark in a different territory, linking identity to information via ownership. As Zai wrote “If another company uses our name in a grand way, I’ll probably shoot myself. And that would not be cool.” (Wishart & Boschler:: 132) As it turned out, another company was interested – the company that would become eToys.com. Zai received an email offering “a reasonable sum” for the etoy.com domain name. Zai was not amused. “Damned Americans, they think they can take our hunting grounds for a handful of glass pearls….”. (Wishart & Boschler: 133) On an invitation from Suzy Meszoly of C3, the etoy boys traveled to Budapest to work on “protected by etoy”, a work exploring internet security. They spent most of their time – and C3’s grant money – producing a glossy corporate brochure. The folder sported a blurb from Bjork: “etoy: immature priests from another world” – which was of course completely fabricated. When Artothek, the official art collection of the Austrian Chancellor, approached etoy wanting to buy work, the group had to confront the problem of how to actually turn their brand into a product. The idea was always that the brand was the product, but this doesn’t quite resolve the question of how to produce the kind of unique artifacts that the art world requires. Certainly the old Conceptual Art strategy of selling ‘documentation’ would not do. The solution was as brilliant as it was simple – to sell etoy shares. The ‘works’ would be ‘share certificates’ – unique objects, whose only value, on the face of it, would be that they referred back to the value of the brand. The inspiration, according to Wishart & Boschsler, was David Bowie, ‘the man who sold the world’, who had announced the first rock and roll bond on the London financial markets, backed by future earnings of his back catalogue and publishing rights. Gramazio would end up presenting Chancellor Viktor Klima with the first ‘shares’ at a press conference. “It was a great start for the project”, he said, “A real hack.” (Wishart & Boschler: 142) For this vectoral age, etoy would create the perfect vectoral art. Zai and Brainhard took off next for Pasadena, where they got the idea of reverse-engineering the online etoy.TANKSYSTEM by building an actual tank in an orange shipping container, which would become etoy.TANK 17. This premiered at the San Francisco gallery Blasthaus in June 1998. Instant stars in the small world of San Francisco art, the group began once again to disintegrate. Brainhard and Esposito resigned. Back in Europe in late 1998, Zai was preparing to graduate from the Vienna Academy of Applied Arts. His final project would recapitulate the life and death of etoy. It would exist from here on only as an online archive, a digital mausoleum. As Kubli says “there was no possibility to earn our living with etoy.” (Wishart & Boschler: 192) Zai emailed eToys.com and asked them if them if they would like to place a banner ad on etoy.com, to redirect any errant web traffic. Lawyers for eToys.com offered etoy $30,000 for the etoy.com domain name, which the remaining members of etoy – Zai, Gramazio, Kubli – refused. The offer went up to $100,000, which they also refused. Through their lawyer Peter Wild they demanded $750,000. In September 1999, while etoy were making a business presentation as their contribution to Ars Electronica, eToys.com lodged a complaint against etoy in the Los Angeles Superior Court. The company hired Bruce Wessel, of the heavyweight LA law firm Irell & Manella, who specialized in trademark, copyright and other intellectual property litigation. The complaint Wessel drafted alleged that etoy had infringed and diluted the eToys trademark, were practicing unfair competition and had committed “intentional interference with prospective economic damage.” (Wishart & Boschler: 199) Wessel demanded an injunction that would oblige etoy to cease using its trademark and take down its etoy.com website. The complaint also sought to prevent etoy from selling shares, and demanded punitive damages. Displaying the aggressive lawyering for which he was so handsomely paid, Wessel invoked the California Unfair Competition Act, which was meant to protect citizens from fraudulent business scams. Meant as a piece of consumer protection legislation, its sweeping scope made it available for inventive suits such as Wessel’s against etoy. Wessel was able to use pretty much everything from the archive etoy built against it. As Wishart and Bochsler write, “The court papers were like a delicately curated catalogue of its practices.” (Wishart & Boschler: 199) And indeed, legal documents in copyright and trademark cases may be the most perfect literature of the vectoral age. The Unfair Competition claim was probably aimed at getting the suit heard in a Californian rather than a Federal court in which intellectual property issues were less frequently litigated. The central aim of the eToys suit was the trademark infringement, but on that head their claims were not all that strong. According to the 1946 Lanham Act, similar trademarks do not infringe upon each other if there they are for different kinds of business or in different geographical areas. The Act also says that the right to own a trademark depends on its use. So while etoy had not registered their trademark and eToys had, etoy were actually up and running before eToys, and could base their trademark claim on this fact. The eToys case rested on a somewhat selective reading of the facts. Wessel claimed that etoy was not using its trademark in the US when eToys was registered in 1997. Wessel did not dispute the fact that etoy existed in Europe prior to that time. He asserted that owning the etoy.com domain name was not sufficient to establish a right to the trademark. If the intention of the suit was to bully etoy into giving in, it had quite the opposite effect. It pissed them off. “They felt again like the teenage punks they had once been”, as Wishart & Bochsler put it. Their art imploded in on itself for lack of attention, but called upon by another, it flourished. Wessel and eToys.com unintentionally triggered a dialectic that worked in quite the opposite way to what they intended. The more pressure they put on etoy, the more valued – and valuable – they felt etoy to be. Conceptual business, like conceptual art, is about nothing but the management of signs within the constraints of given institutional forms of market. That this conflict was about nothing made it a conflict about everything. It was a perfectly vectoral struggle. Zai and Gramazio flew to the US to fire up enthusiasm for their cause. They asked Wolfgang Staehle of The Thing to register the domain toywar.com, as a space for anti-eToys activities at some remove from etoy.com, and as a safe haven should eToys prevail with their injunction in having etoy.com taken down. The etoy defense was handled by Marcia Ballard in New York and Robert Freimuth in Los Angeles. In their defense, they argued that etoy had existed since 1994, had registered its globally accessible domain in 1995, and won an international art prize in 1996. To counter a claim by eToys that they had a prior trademark claim because they had bought a trademark from another company that went back to 1990, Ballard and Freimuth argued that this particular trademark only applied to the importation of toys from the previous owner’s New York base and thus had no relevance. They capped their argument by charging that eToys had not shown that its customers were really confused by the existence of etoy. With Christmas looming, eToys wanted a quick settlement, so they offered Zurich-based etoy lawyer Peter Wild $160,000 in shares and cash for the etoy domain. Kubli was prepared to negotiate, but Zai and Gramazio wanted to gamble – and raise the stakes. As Zai recalls: “We did not want to be just the victims; that would have been cheap. We wanted to be giants too.” (Wishart & Boschler: 207) They refused the offer. The case was heard in November 1999 before Judge Rafeedie in the Federal Court. Freimuth, for etoy, argued that federal Court was the right place for what was essentially a trademark matter. Robert Kleiger, for eToys, countered that it should stay where it was because of the claims under the California Unfair Competition act. Judge Rafeedie took little time in agreeing with the eToys lawyer. Wessel’s strategy paid off and eToys won the first skirmish. The first round of a quite different kind of conflict opened when etoy sent out their first ‘toywar’ mass mailing, drawing the attention of the net.art, activism and theory crowd to these events. This drew a report from Felix Stalder in Telepolis: “Fences are going up everywhere, molding what once seemed infinite space into an overcrowded and tightly controlled strip mall.” (Stalder ) The positive feedback from the net only emboldened etoy. For the Los Angeles court, lawyers for etoy filed papers arguing that the sale of ‘shares’ in etoy was not really a stock offering. “The etoy.com website is not about commerce per se, it is about artist and social protest”, they argued. (Wishart & Boschler: 209) They were obliged, in other words, to assert a difference that the art itself had intended to blur in order to escape eToy’s claims under the Unfair Competition Act. Moreover, etoy argued that there was no evidence of a victim. Nobody was claiming to have been fooled by etoy into buying something under false pretences. Ironically enough, art would turn out in hindsight to be a more straightforward transaction here, involving less simulation or dissimulation, than investing in a dot.com. Perhaps we have reached the age when art makes more, not less, claim than business to the rhetorical figure of ‘reality’. Having defended what appeared to be the vulnerable point under the Unfair Competition law, etoy went on the attack. It was the failure of eToys to do a proper search for other trademarks that created the problem in the first place. Meanwhile, in Federal Court, lawyers for etoy launched a counter-suit that reversed the claims against them made by eToys on the trademark question. While the suits and counter suits flew, eToys.com upped their offer to settle to a package of cash and shares worth $400,000. This rather puzzled the etoy lawyers. Those choosing to sue don’t usually try at the same time to settle. Lawyer Peter Wild advised his clients to take the money, but the parallel tactics of eToys.com only encouraged them to dig in their heels. “We felt that this was a tremendous final project for etoy”, says Gramazio. As Zai says, “eToys was our ideal enemy – we were its worst enemy.” (Wishart & Boschler: 210) Zai reported the offer to the net in another mass mail. Most people advised them to take the money, including Doug Rushkoff and Heath Bunting. Paul Garrin counseled fighting on. The etoy agents offered to settle for $750,000. The case came to court in late November 1999 before Judge Shook. The Judge accepted the plausibility of the eToys version of the facts on the trademark issue, which included the purchase of a registered trademark from another company that went back to 1990. He issued an injunction on their behalf, and added in his statement that he was worried about “the great danger of children being exposed to profane and hardcore p*rnographic issues on the computer.” (Wishart & Boschler: 222) The injunction was all eToys needed to get Network Solutions to shut down the etoy.com domain. Zai sent out a press release in early December, which percolated through Slashdot, rhizome, nettime (Staehle) and many other networks, and catalyzed the net community into action. A debate of sorts started on investor websites such as fool.com. The eToys stock price started to slide, and etoy ‘warriors’ felt free to take the credit for it. The story made the New York Times on 9th December, Washington Post on the 10th, Wired News on the 11th. Network Solutions finally removed the etoy.com domain on the 10th December. Zai responded with a press release: “this is robbery of digital territory, American imperialism, corporate destruction and bulldozing in the way of the 19th century.” (Wishart & Boschler: 237) RTMark set up a campaign fund for toywar, managed by Survival Research Laboratories’ Mark Pauline. The RTMark press release promised a “new internet ‘game’ designed to destroy eToys.com.” (Wishart & Boschler: 239) The RTMark press release grabbed the attention of the Associated Press newswire. The eToys.com share price actually rose on December 13th. Goldman Sachs’ e-commerce analyst Anthony Noto argued that the previous declines in the Etoys share price made it a good buy. Goldman Sachs was the lead underwriter of the eToys IPO. Noto’s writings may have been nothing more than the usual ‘IPOetry’ of the time, but the crash of the internet bubble was some months away yet. The RTMark campaign was called ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’. It used the Floodnet technique that Ricardo Dominguez used in support of the Zapatistas. As Dominguez said, “this hysterical power-play perfectly demonstrates the intensions of the new net elite; to turn the World Wide Web into their own private home-shopping network.” (Wishart & Boschler: 242) The Floodnet attack may have slowed the eToys.com server down a bit, but it was robust and didn’t crash. Ironically, it ran on open source software. Dominguez claims that the ‘Twelve Days’ campaign, which relied on individuals manually launching Floodnet from their own computers, was not designed to destroy the eToys site, but to make a protest felt. “We had a single-bullet script that could have taken down eToys – a tactical nuke, if you will. But we felt this script did not represent the presence of a global group of people gathered to bear witness to a wrong.” (Wishart & Boschler: 245) While the eToys engineers did what they could to keep the site going, eToys also approached universities and businesses whose systems were being used to host Floodnet attacks. The Thing, which hosted Dominguez’s eToys Floodnet site was taken offline by The Thing’s ISP, Verio. After taking down the Floodnet scripts, The Thing was back up, restoring service to the 200 odd websites that The Thing hosted besides the offending Floodnet site. About 200 people gathered on December 20th at a demonstration against eToys outside the Museum of Modern Art. Among the crowd were Santas bearing signs that said ‘Coal for eToys’. The rally, inside the Museum, was led by the Reverend Billy of the Church of Stop Shopping: “We are drowning in a sea of identical details”, he said. (Wishart & Boschler: 249-250) Meanwhile etoy worked on the Toywar Platform, an online agitpop theater spectacle, in which participants could act as soldiers in the toywar. This would take some time to complete – ironically the dispute threatened to end before this last etoy artwork was ready, giving etoy further incentives to keep the dispute alive. The etoy agents had a new lawyer, Chris Truax, who was attracted to the case by the publicity it was generating. Through Truax, etoy offered to sell the etoy domain and trademark for $3.7 million. This may sound like an insane sum, but to put it in perspective, the business.com site changed hands for $7.5 million around this time. On December 29th, Wessel signaled that eToys was prepared to compromise. The problem was, the Toywar Platform was not quite ready, so etoy did what it could to drag out the negotiations. The site went live just before the scheduled court hearings, January 10th 2000. “TOYWAR.com is a place where all servers and all involved people melt and build a living system. In our eyes it is the best way to express and document what’s going on at the moment: people start to about new ways to fight for their ideas, their lifestyle, contemporary culture and power relations.” (Wishart & Boschler: 263) Meanwhile, in a California courtroom, Truax demanded that Network Solutions restore the etoy domain, that eToys pay the etoy legal expenses, and that the case be dropped without prejudice. No settlement was reached. Negotiations dragged on for another two weeks, with the etoy agents’ attention somewhat divided between two horizons – art and law. The dispute was settled on 25th January. Both parties dismissed their complaints without prejudice. The eToys company would pay the etoy artists $40,000 for legal costs, and contact Network Solutions to reinstate the etoy domain. “It was a pleasure doing business with one of the biggest e-commerce giants in the world” ran the etoy press release. (Wishart & Boschler: 265) That would make a charming end to the story. But what goes around comes around. Brainhard, still pissed off with Zai after leaving the group in San Francisco, filed for the etoy trademark in Austria. After that the internal etoy wranglings just gets boring. But it was fun while it lasted. What etoy grasped intuitively was the nexus between the internet as a cultural space and the transformation of the commodity economy in a yet-more abstract direction – its becoming-vectoral. They zeroed in on the heart of the new era of conceptual business – the brand. As Wittgenstein says of language, what gives words meaning is other words, so too for brands. What gives brands meaning is other brands. There is a syntax for brands as there is for words. What etoy discovered is how to insert a new brand into that syntax. The place of eToys as a brand depended on their business competition with other brands – with Toys ‘R’ Us, for example. For etoy, the syntax they discovered for relating their brand to another one was a legal opposition. What made etoy interesting was their lack of moral posturing. Their abandonment of leftist rhetorics opened them up to exploring the territory where media and business meet, but it also made them vulnerable to being consumed by the very dialectic that created the possibility of staging etoy in the first place. By abandoning obsolete political strategies, they discovered a media tactic, which collapsed for want of a new strategy, for the new vectoral terrain on which we find ourselves. Works Cited Negri, Antonio. Time for Revolution. Continuum, London, 2003. Warhol, Andy. From A to B and Back Again. Picador, New York, 1984. Stalder, Felix. ‘Fences in Cyberspace: Recent events in the battle over domain names’. 19 Jun 2003. <http://felix.openflows.org/html/fences.php>. Wark, McKenzie. ‘A Hacker Manifesto [version 4.0]’ 19 Jun 2003. http://subsol.c3.hu/subsol_2/contributors0/warktext.html. Klein, Naomi. No Logo. Harper Collins, London, 2000. Wishart, Adam & Regula Bochsler. Leaving Reality Behind: etoy vs eToys.com & Other Battles to Control Cyberspace Ecco Books, 2003. Staehle, Wolfgang. ‘<nettime> etoy.com shut down by US court.’ 19 Jun 2003. http://amsterdam.nettime.org/Lists-Archives/nettime-l-9912/msg00005.html Links http://amsterdam.nettime.org/Lists-Archives/nettime-l-9912/msg00005.htm http://felix.openflows.org/html/fences.html http://subsol.c3.hu/subsol_2/contributors0/warktext.html Citation reference for this article Substitute your date of access for Dn Month Year etc... MLA Style Wark, McKenzie. "Toywars" M/C: A Journal of Media and Culture< http://www.media-culture.org.au/0306/02-toywars.php>. APA Style Wark, M. (2003, Jun 19). Toywars. M/C: A Journal of Media and Culture, 6,< http://www.media-culture.org.au/0306/02-toywars.php>

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Roney, Lisa. "The Extreme Connection Between Bodies and Houses." M/C Journal 10, no.4 (August1, 2007). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.2684.

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Abstract:

Perhaps nothing in media culture today makes clearer the connection between people’s bodies and their homes than the Emmy-winning reality TV program Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Home Edition is a spin-off from the original Extreme Makeover, and that fact provides in fundamental form the strong connection that the show demonstrates between bodies and houses. The first EM, initially popular for its focus on cosmetic surgery, laser skin and hair treatments, dental work, cosmetics and wardrobe for mainly middle-aged and self-described unattractive participants, lagged after two full seasons and was finally cancelled entirely, whereas EMHE has continued to accrue viewers and sponsors, as well as accolades (Paulsen, Poniewozik, EMHE Website, Wilhelm). That viewers and the ABC network shifted their attention to the reconstruction of houses over the original version’s direct intervention in problematic bodies indicates that sites of personal transformation are not necessarily within our own physical or emotional beings, but in the larger surround of our environments and in our cultural ideals of home and body. One effect of this shift in the Extreme Makeover format is that a seemingly wider range of narrative problems can be solved relating to houses than to the particular bodies featured on the original show. Although Extreme Makeover featured a few people who’d had previously botched cleft palate surgeries or mastectomies, as Cressida Heyes points out, “the only kind of disability that interests the show is one that can be corrected to conform to able-bodied norms” (22). Most of the recipients were simply middle-aged folks who were ordinary or aged in appearance; many of them seemed self-obsessed and vain, and their children often seemed disturbed by the transformation (Heyes 24). However, children are happy to have a brand new TV and a toy-filled room decorated like their latest fantasy, and they thereby can be drawn into the process of identity transformation in the Home Edition version; in fact, children are required of virtually all recipients of the show’s largess. Because EMHE can do “major surgery” or simply bulldoze an old structure and start with a new building, it is also able to incorporate more variety in its stories—floods, fires, hurricanes, propane explosions, war, crime, immigration, car accidents, unscrupulous contractors, insurance problems, terrorist attacks—the list of traumas is seemingly endless. Home Edition can solve any problem, small or large. Houses are much easier things to repair or reconstruct than bodies. Perhaps partly for this reason, EMHE uses disability as one of its major tropes. Until Season 4, Episode 22, 46.9 percent of the episodes have had some content related to disability or illness of a disabling sort, and this number rises to 76.4 percent if the count includes families that have been traumatised by the (usually recent) death of a family member in childhood or the prime of life by illness, accident or violence. Considering that the percentage of people living with disabilities in the U.S. is defined at 18.1 percent (Steinmetz), EMHE obviously favours them considerably in the selection process. Even the disproportionate numbers of people with disabilities living in poverty and who therefore might be more likely to need help—20.9 percent as opposed to 7.7 percent of the able-bodied population (Steinmetz)—does not fully explain their dominance on the program. In fact, the program seeks out people with new and different physical disabilities and illnesses, sending out emails to local news stations looking for “Extraordinary Mom / Dad recently diagnosed with ALS,” “Family who has a child with PROGERIA (aka ‘little old man’s disease’)” and other particular situations (Simonian). A total of sixty-five ill or disabled people have been featured on the show over the past four years, and, even if one considers its methods maudlin or exploitive, the presence of that much disability and illness is very unusual for reality TV and for TV in general. What the show purports to do is to radically transform multiple aspects of individuals’ lives—and especially lives marred by what are perceived as physical setbacks—via the provision of a luxurious new house, albeit sometimes with the addition of automobiles, mortgage payments or college scholarships. In some ways the assumptions underpinning EMHE fit with a social constructionist body theory that posits an almost infinitely flexible physical matter, of which the definitions and capabilities are largely determined by social concepts and institutions. The social model within the disability studies field has used this theoretical perspective to emphasise the distinction between an impairment, “the physical fact of lacking an arm or a leg,” and disability, “the social process that turns an impairment into a negative by creating barriers to access” (Davis, Bending 12). Accessible housing has certainly been one emphasis of disability rights activists, and many of them have focused on how “design conceptions, in relation to floor plans and allocation of functions to specific spaces, do not conceive of impairment, disease and illness as part of domestic habitation or being” (Imrie 91). In this regard, EMHE appears as a paragon. In one of its most challenging and dramatic Season 1 episodes, the “Design Team” worked on the home of the Ziteks, whose twenty-two-year-old son had been restricted to a sub-floor of the three-level structure since a car accident had paralyzed him. The show refitted the house with an elevator, roll-in bathroom and shower, and wheelchair-accessible doors. Robert Zitek was also provided with sophisticated computer equipment that would help him produce music, a life-long interest that had been halted by his upper-vertebra paralysis. Such examples abound in the new EMHE houses, which have been constructed for families featuring situations such as both blind and deaf members, a child prone to bone breaks due to osteogenesis imperfecta, legs lost in Iraq warfare, allergies that make mold life-threatening, sun sensitivity due to melanoma or polymorphic light eruption or migraines, fragile immune systems (often due to organ transplants or chemotherapy), cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, Krabbe disease and autism. EMHE tries to set these lives right via the latest in technology and treatment—computer communication software and hardware, lock systems, wheelchair-friendly design, ventilation and air purification set-ups, the latest in care and mental health approaches for various disabilities and occasional consultations with disabled celebrities like Marlee Matlin. Even when individuals or familes are “[d]iscriminated against on a daily basis by ignorance and physical challenges,” as the program website notes, they “deserve to have a home that doesn’t discriminate against them” (EMHE website, Season 3, Episode 4). The relief that they will be able to inhabit accessible and pleasant environments is evident on the faces of many of these recipients. That physical ease, that ability to move and perform the intimate acts of domestic life, seems according to the show’s narrative to be the most basic element of home. Nonetheless, as Robert Imrie has pointed out, superficial accessibility may still veil “a static, singular conception of the body” (201) that prevents broader change in attitudes about people with disabilities, their activities and their spaces. Starting with the story of the child singing in an attempt at self-comforting from Deleuze and Guattari’s A Thousand Plateaus, J. MacGregor Wise defines home as a process of territorialisation through specific behaviours. “The markers of home … are not simply inanimate objects (a place with stuff),” he notes, “but the presence, habits, and effects of spouses, children, parents, and companions” (299). While Ty Pennington, EMHE’s boisterous host, implies changes for these families along the lines of access to higher education, creative possibilities provided by musical instruments and disability-appropriate art materials, help with home businesses in the way of equipment and licenses and so on, the families’ identity-producing habits are just as likely to be significantly changed by the structural and decorative arrangements made for them by the Design Team. The homes that are created for these families are highly conventional in their structure, layout, decoration, and expectations of use. More specifically, certain behavioural patterns are encouraged and others discouraged by the Design Team’s assumptions. Several themes run through the show’s episodes: Large dining rooms provide for the most common of Pennington’s comments: “You can finally sit down and eat meals together as a family.” A nostalgic value in an era where most families have schedules full of conflicts that prevent such Ozzie-and-Harriet scenarios, it nonetheless predominates. Large kitchens allow for cooking and eating at home, though featured food is usually frozen and instant. In addition, kitchens are not designed for the families’ disabled members; for wheelchair users, for instance, counters need to be lower than usual with open space underneath, so that a wheelchair can roll underneath the counter. Thus, all the wheelchair inhabitants depicted will still be dependent on family members, primarily mothers, to prepare food and clean up after them. (See Imrie, 95-96, for examples of adapted kitchens.) Pets, perhaps because they are inherently “dirty,” are downplayed or absent, even when the family has them when EMHE arrives (except one family that is featured for their animal rescue efforts); interestingly, there are no service dogs, which might obviate the need for some of the high-tech solutions for the disabled offered by the show. The previous example is one element of an emphasis on clutter-free cleanliness and tastefulness combined with a rampant consumerism. While “cultural” elements may be salvaged from exotic immigrant families, most of the houses are very similar and assume a certain kind of commodified style based on new furniture (not humble family hand-me-downs), appliances, toys and expensive, prefab yard gear. Sears is a sponsor of the program, and shopping trips for furniture and appliances form a regular part of the program. Most or all of the houses have large garages, and the families are often given large vehicles by Ford, maintaining a positive take on a reliance on private transportation and gas-guzzling vehicles, but rarely handicap-adapted vans. Living spaces are open, with high ceilings and arches rather than doorways, so that family members will have visual and aural contact. Bedrooms are by contrast presented as private domains of retreat, especially for parents who have demanding (often ill or disabled) children, from which they are considered to need an occasional break. All living and bedrooms are dominated by TVs and other electronica, sometimes presented as an aid to the disabled, but also dominating to the point of excluding other ways of being and interacting. As already mentioned, childless couples and elderly people without children are completely absent. Friends buying houses together and gay couples are also not represented. The ideal of the heterosexual nuclear family is thus perpetuated, even though some of the show’s craftspeople are gay. Likewise, even though “independence” is mentioned frequently in the context of families with disabled members, there are no recipients who are disabled adults living on their own without family caretakers. “Independence” is spoken of mostly in terms of bathing, dressing, using the bathroom and other bodily aspects of life, not in terms of work, friendship, community or self-concept. Perhaps most salient, the EMHE houses are usually created as though nothing about the family will ever again change. While a few of the projects have featured terminally ill parents seeking to leave their children secure after their death, for the most part the families are considered oddly in stasis. Single mothers will stay single mothers, even children with conditions with severe prognoses will continue to live, the five-year-old will sleep forever in a fire-truck bed or dollhouse room, the occasional grandparent installed in his or her own suite will never pass away, and teenagers and young adults (especially the disabled) will never grow up, marry, discover their hom*osexuality, have a falling out with their parents or leave home. A kind of timeless nostalgia, hearkening back to Gaston Bachelard’s The Poetics of Space, pervades the show. Like the body-modifying Extreme Makeover, the Home Edition version is haunted by the issue of normalisation. The word ‘normal’, in fact, floats through the program’s dialogue frequently, and it is made clear that the goal of the show is to restore, as much as possible, a somewhat glamourised, but status quo existence. The website, in describing the work of one deserving couple notes that “Camp Barnabas is a non-profit organisation that caters to the needs of critically and chronically ill children and gives them the opportunity to be ‘normal’ for one week” (EMHE website, Season 3, Episode 7). Someone at the network is sophisticated enough to put ‘normal’ in quotation marks, and the show demonstrates a relatively inclusive concept of ‘normal’, but the word dominates the show itself, and the concept remains largely unquestioned (See Canguilhem; Davis, Enforcing Normalcy; and Snyder and Mitchell, Narrative, for critiques of the process of normalization in regard to disability). In EMHE there is no sense that disability or illness ever produces anything positive, even though the show also notes repeatedly the inspirational attitudes that people have developed through their disability and illness experiences. Similarly, there is no sense that a little messiness can be creatively productive or even necessary. Wise makes a distinction between “home and the home, home and house, home and domus,” the latter of each pair being normative concepts, whereas the former “is a space of comfort (a never-ending process)” antithetical to oppressive norms, such as the association of the home with the enforced domesticity of women. In cases where the house or domus becomes a place of violence and discomfort, home becomes the process of coping with or resisting the negative aspects of the place (300). Certainly the disabled have experienced this in inaccessible homes, but they may also come to experience a different version in a new EMHE house. For, as Wise puts it, “home can also mean a process of rationalization or submission, a break with the reality of the situation, self-delusion, or falling under the delusion of others” (300). The show’s assumption that the construction of these new houses will to a great extent solve these families’ problems (and that disability itself is the problem, not the failure of our culture to accommodate its many forms) may in fact be a delusional spell under which the recipient families fall. In fact, the show demonstrates a triumphalist narrative prevalent today, in which individual happenstance and extreme circ*mstances are given responsibility for social ills. In this regard, EMHE acts out an ancient morality play, where the recipients of the show’s largesse are assessed and judged based on what they “deserve,” and the opening of each show, when the Design Team reviews the application video tape of the family, strongly emphasises what good people these are (they work with charities, they love each other, they help out their neighbours) and how their situation is caused by natural disaster, act of God or undeserved tragedy, not their own bad behaviour. Disabilities are viewed as terrible tragedies that befall the young and innocent—there is no lung cancer or emphysema from a former smoking habit, and the recipients paralyzed by gunshots have received them in drive-by shootings or in the line of duty as police officers and soldiers. In addition, one of the functions of large families is that the children veil any selfish motivation the adults may have—they are always seeking the show’s assistance on behalf of the children, not themselves. While the Design Team always notes that there are “so many other deserving people out there,” the implication is that some people’s poverty and need may be their own fault. (See Snyder and Mitchell, Locations 41-67; Blunt and Dowling 116-25; and Holliday.) In addition, the structure of the show—with the opening view of the family’s undeserved problems, their joyous greeting at the arrival of the Team, their departure for the first vacation they may ever have had and then the final exuberance when they return to the new house—creates a sense of complete, almost religious salvation. Such narratives fail to point out social support systems that fail large numbers of people who live in poverty and who struggle with issues of accessibility in terms of not only domestic spaces, but public buildings, educational opportunities and social acceptance. In this way, it echoes elements of the medical model, long criticised in disability studies, where each and every disabled body is conceptualised as a site of individual aberration in need of correction, not as something disabled by an ableist society. In fact, “the house does not shelter us from cosmic forces; at most it filters and selects them” (Deleuze and Guattari, What Is Philosophy?, qtd. in Frichot 61), and those outside forces will still apply to all these families. The normative assumptions inherent in the houses may also become oppressive in spite of their being accessible in a technical sense (a thing necessary but perhaps not sufficient for a sense of home). As Tobin Siebers points out, “[t]he debate in architecture has so far focused more on the fundamental problem of whether buildings and landscapes should be universally accessible than on the aesthetic symbolism by which the built environment mirrors its potential inhabitants” (“Culture” 183). Siebers argues that the Jamesonian “political unconscious” is a “social imaginary” based on a concept of perfection (186) that “enforces a mutual identification between forms of appearance, whether organic, aesthetic, or architectural, and ideal images of the body politic” (185). Able-bodied people are fearful of the disabled’s incurability and refusal of normalisation, and do not accept the statistical fact that, at least through the process of aging, most people will end up dependent, ill and/or disabled at some point in life. Mainstream society “prefers to think of people with disabilities as a small population, a stable population, that nevertheless makes enormous claims on the resources of everyone else” (“Theory” 742). Siebers notes that the use of euphemism and strategies of covering eventually harm efforts to create a society that is home to able-bodied and disabled alike (“Theory” 747) and calls for an exploration of “new modes of beauty that attack aesthetic and political standards that insist on uniformity, balance, hygiene, and formal integrity” (Culture 210). What such an architecture, particularly of an actually livable domestic nature, might look like is an open question, though there are already some examples of people trying to reframe many of the assumptions about housing design. For instance, cohousing, where families and individuals share communal space, yet have private accommodations, too, makes available a larger social group than the nuclear family for social and caretaking activities (Blunt and Dowling, 262-65). But how does one define a beauty-less aesthetic or a pleasant home that is not hygienic? Post-structuralist architects, working on different grounds and usually in a highly theoretical, imaginary framework, however, may offer another clue, as they have also tried to ‘liberate’ architecture from the nostalgic dictates of the aesthetic. Ironically, one of the most famous of these, Peter Eisenman, is well known for producing, in a strange reversal, buildings that render the able-bodied uncomfortable and even sometimes ill (see, in particular, Frank and Eisenman). Of several house designs he produced over the years, Eisenman notes that his intention was to dislocate the house from that comforting metaphysic and symbolism of shelter in order to initiate a search for those possibilities of dwelling that may have been repressed by that metaphysic. The house may once have been a true locus and symbol of nurturing shelter, but in a world of irresolvable anxiety, the meaning and form of shelter must be different. (Eisenman 172) Although Eisenman’s starting point is very different from that of Siebers, it nonetheless resonates with the latter’s desire for an aesthetic that incorporates the “ragged edge” of disabled bodies. Yet few would want to live in a home made less attractive or less comfortable, and the “illusion” of permanence is one of the things that provide rest within our homes. Could there be an architecture, or an aesthetic, of home that could create a new and different kind of comfort and beauty, one that is neither based on a denial of the importance of bodily comfort and pleasure nor based on an oppressively narrow and commercialised set of aesthetic values that implicitly value some people over others? For one thing, instead of viewing home as a place of (false) stasis and permanence, we might see it as a place of continual change and renewal, which any home always becomes in practice anyway. As architect Hélène Frichot suggests, “we must look toward the immanent conditions of architecture, the processes it employs, the serial deformations of its built forms, together with our quotidian spatio-temporal practices” (63) instead of settling into a deadening nostalgia like that seen on EMHE. If we define home as a process of continual territorialisation, if we understand that “[t]here is no fixed self, only the process of looking for one,” and likewise that “there is no home, only the process of forming one” (Wise 303), perhaps we can begin to imagine a different, yet lovely conception of “house” and its relation to the experience of “home.” Extreme Makeover: Home Edition should be lauded for its attempts to include families of a wide variety of ethnic and racial backgrounds, various religions, from different regions around the U.S., both rural and suburban, even occasionally urban, and especially for its bringing to the fore how, indeed, structures can be as disabling as any individual impairment. That it shows designers and builders working with the families of the disabled to create accessible homes may help to change wider attitudes and break down resistance to the building of inclusive housing. However, it so far has missed the opportunity to help viewers think about the ways that our ideal homes may conflict with our constantly evolving social needs and bodily realities. References Bachelard, Gaston. The Poetics of Space. Tr. Maria Jolas. Boston: Beacon Press, 1969. Blunt, Alison, and Robyn Dowling. Home. London and New York: Routledge, 2006. Canguilhem, Georges. The Normal and the Pathological. New York: Zone Books, 1991. Davis, Lennard. Bending Over Backwards: Disability, Dismodernism & Other Difficult Positions. New York: NYUP, 2002. ———. Enforcing Normalcy: Disability, Deafness, and the Body. New York: Verso, 1995. Deleuze, Gilles, and Felix Guattari. A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Tr. B. Massumi. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1987. ———. What Is Philosophy? Tr. G. Burchell and H. Tomlinson. London and New York: Verso, 1994. Eisenman, Peter Eisenman. “Misreading” in House of Cards. New York: Oxford University Press, 1987. 21 Aug. 2007 http://prelectur.stanford.edu/lecturers/eisenman/biblio.html#cards>. Peter Eisenman Texts Anthology at the Stanford Presidential Lectures and Symposia in the Humanities and Arts site. 5 June 2007 http://prelectur.stanford.edu/lecturers/eisenman/texts.html#misread>. “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” Website. 18 May 2007 http://abc.go.com/primetime/xtremehome/index.html>; http://abc.go.com/primetime/xtremehome/show.html>; http://abc.go.com/primetime/xtremehome/bios/101.html>; http://abc.go.com/primetime/xtremehome/bios/301.html>; and http://abc.go.com/primetime/xtremehome/bios/401.html>. Frank, Suzanne Sulof, and Peter Eisenman. House VI: The Client’s Response. New York: Watson-Guptill, 1994. Frichot, Hélène. “Stealing into Gilles Deleuze’s Baroque House.” In Deleuze and Space, eds. Ian Buchanan and Gregg Lambert. Deleuze Connections Series. Toronto: University of Toronto P, 2005. 61-79. Heyes, Cressida J. “Cosmetic Surgery and the Televisual Makeover: A Foucauldian feminist reading.” Feminist Media Studies 7.1 (2007): 17-32. Holliday, Ruth. “Home Truths?” In Ordinary Lifestyles: Popular Media, Consumption and Taste. Ed. David Bell and Joanne Hollows. Maidenhead, Berkshire, England: Open UP, 2005. 65-81. Imrie, Rob. Accessible Housing: Quality, Disability and Design. London and New York: Routledge, 2006. Paulsen, Wade. “‘Extreme Makeover: Home Edition’ surges in ratings and adds Ford as auto partner.” Reality TV World. 14 October 2004. 27 March 2005 http://www.realitytvworld.com/index/articles/story.php?s=2981>. Poniewozik, James, with Jeanne McDowell. “Charity Begins at Home: Extreme Makeover: Home Edition renovates its way into the Top 10 one heart-wrenching story at a time.” Time 20 Dec. 2004: i25 p159. Siebers, Tobin. “Disability in Theory: From Social Constructionism to the New Realism of the Body.” American Literary History 13.4 (2001): 737-754. ———. “What Can Disability Studies Learn from the Culture Wars?” Cultural Critique 55 (2003): 182-216. Simonian, Charisse. Email to network affiliates, 10 March 2006. 18 May 2007 http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/0327062extreme1.html>. Snyder, Sharon L., and David T. Mitchell. Cultural Locations of Disability. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2006. ———. Narrative Prosthesis: Disability and the Dependencies of Discourse. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2000. Steinmetz, Erika. Americans with Disabilities: 2002. U.S. Department of Commerce, Economics, and Statistics Administration, U.S. Census Bureau, 2006. 15 May 2007 http://www.census.gov/prod/2006pubs/p70-107.pdf>. Wilhelm, Ian. “The Rise of Charity TV (Reality Television Shows).” Chronicle of Philanthropy 19.8 (8 Feb. 2007): n.p. Wise, J. Macgregor. “Home: Territory and Identity.” Cultural Studies 14.2 (2000): 295-310. Citation reference for this article MLA Style Roney, Lisa. "The Extreme Connection Between Bodies and Houses." M/C Journal 10.4 (2007). echo date('d M. Y'); ?> <http://journal.media-culture.org.au/0708/03-roney.php>. APA Style Roney, L. (Aug. 2007) "The Extreme Connection Between Bodies and Houses," M/C Journal, 10(4). Retrieved echo date('d M. Y'); ?> from <http://journal.media-culture.org.au/0708/03-roney.php>.

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Guarini, Beaux Fen. "Beyond Braille on Toilet Doors: Museum Curators and Audiences with Vision Impairment." M/C Journal 18, no.4 (August7, 2015). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.1002.

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Abstract:

The debate on the social role of museums trundles along in an age where complex associations between community, collections, and cultural norms are highly contested (Silverman 3–4; Sandell, Inequality 3–23). This article questions whether, in the case of community groups whose aspirations often go unrecognised (in this case people with either blindness or low vision), there is a need to discuss and debate institutionalised approaches that often reinforce social exclusion and impede cultural access. If “access is [indeed] an entry point to experience” (Papalia), then the privileging of visual encounters in museums is clearly a barrier for people who experience sight loss or low vision (Levent and Pursley). In contrast, a multisensory aesthetic to exhibition display respects the gamut of human sensory experience (Dudley 161–63; Drobnick 268–69; Feld 184; James 136; McGlone 41–60) as do discursive gateways including “lectures, symposia, workshops, educational programs, audio guides, and websites” (Cachia). Independent access to information extends beyond Braille on toilet doors.Underpinning this article is an ongoing qualitative case study undertaken by the author involving participant observation, workshops, and interviews with eight adults who experience vision impairment. The primary research site has been the National Museum of Australia. Reflecting on the role of curators as storytellers and the historical development of museums and their practitioners as agents for social development, the article explores the opportunities latent in museum collections as they relate to community members with vision impairment. The outcomes of this investigation offer insights into emerging issues as they relate to the International Council of Museums (ICOM) definitions of the museum program. Curators as Storytellers“The ways in which objects are selected, put together, and written or spoken about have political effects” (Eilean Hooper-Greenhill qtd. in Sandell, Inequality 8). Curators can therefore open or close doors to discrete communities of people. The traditional role of curators has been to collect, care for, research, and interpret collections (Desvallées and Mairesse 68): they are characterised as information specialists with a penchant for research (Belcher 78). While commonly possessing an intimate knowledge of their institution’s collection, their mode of knowledge production results from a culturally mediated process which ensures that resulting products, such as cultural significance assessments and provenance determinations (Russell and Winkworth), privilege the knowing systems of dominant social groups (Fleming 213). Such ways of seeing can obstruct the access prospects of underserved audiences.When it comes to exhibition display—arguably the most public of work by museums—curators conventionally collaborate within a constellation of other practitioners (Belcher 78–79). Curators liaise with museum directors, converse with conservators, negotiate with exhibition designers, consult with graphics designers, confer with marketing boffins, seek advice from security, chat with editors, and engage with external contractors. I question the extent that curators engage with community groups who may harbour aspirations to participate in the exhibition experience—a sticking point soon to be addressed. Despite the team based ethos of exhibition design, it is nonetheless the content knowledge of curators on public display. The art of curatorial interpretation sets out not to instruct audiences but, in part, to provoke a response with narratives designed to reveal meanings and relationships (Freeman Tilden qtd. in Alexander and Alexander 258). Recognised within the institution as experts (Sandell, Inclusion 53), curators have agency—they decide upon the stories told. In a recent television campaign by the National Museum of Australia, a voiceover announces: a storyteller holds incredible power to connect and to heal, because stories bring us together (emphasis added). (National Museum of Australia 2015)Storytelling in the space of the museum often shares the histories, perspectives, and experiences of people past as well as living cultures—and these stories are situated in space and time. If that physical space is not fit-for-purpose—that is, it does not accommodate an individual’s physical, intellectual, psychiatric, sensory, or neurological needs (Disability Discrimination Act 1992, Cwlth)—then the story reaches only long-established patrons. The museum’s opportunity to contribute to social development, and thus the curator’s as the primary storyteller, will have been missed. A Latin-American PerspectiveICOM’s commitment to social development could be interpreted merely as a pledge to make use of collections to benefit the public through scholarship, learning, and pleasure (ICOM 15). If this interpretation is accepted, however, then any museum’s contribution to social development is somewhat paltry. To accept such a limited and limiting role for museums is to overlook the historical efforts by advocates to change the very nature of museums. The ascendancy of the social potential of museums first blossomed during the late 1960s at a time where, globally, overlapping social movements espoused civil rights and the recognition of minority groups (Silverman 12; de Varine 3). Simultaneously but independently, neighbourhood museums arose in the United States, ecomuseums in France and Quebec, and the integral museum in Latin America, notably in Mexico (Hauenschild; Silverman 12–13). The Latin-American commitment to the ideals of the integral museum developed out of the 1972 round table of Santiago, Chile, sponsored by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Giménez-Cassina 25–26). The Latin-American signatories urged the local and regional museums of their respective countries to collaborate with their communities to resolve issues of social inequality (Round Table Santiago 13–21). The influence of Brazilian educator Paulo Freire should be acknowledged. In 1970, Freire ushered in the concept of conscientization, defined by Catherine Campbell and Sandra Jovchelovitch as:the process whereby critical thinking develops … [and results in a] … thinker [who] feels empowered to think and to act on the conditions that shape her living. (259–260)This model for empowerment lent inspiration to the ideals of the Santiago signatories in realising their sociopolitical goal of the integral museum (Assunção dos Santos 20). Reframing the museum as an institution in the service of society, the champions of the integral museum sought to redefine the thinking and practices of museums and their practitioners (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization 37–39). The signatories successfully lobbied ICOM to introduce an explicitly social purpose to the work of museums (Assunção dos Santos 6). In 1974, in the wake of the Santiago round table, ICOM modified their definition of a museum to “a permanent non-profit institution, open to the public, in the service of society and its development” (emphasis added) (Hauenschild). Museums had been transformed into “problem solvers” (Judite Primo qtd. in Giménez-Cassina 26). With that spirit in mind, museum practitioners, including curators, can develop opportunities for reciprocity with the many faces of the public (Guarini). Response to Social Development InitiativesStarting in the 1970s, the “second museum revolution” (van Mensch 6–7) saw the transition away from: traditional roles of museums [of] collecting, conservation, curatorship, research and communication … [and toward the] … potential role of museums in society, in education and cultural action. (van Mensch 6–7)Arguably, this potential remains a work in progress some 50 years later. Writing in the tradition of museums as agents of social development, Mariana Lamas states:when we talk about “in the service of society and its development”, it’s quite different. It is like the drunk uncle at the Christmas party that the family pretends is not there, because if they pretend long enough, he might pass out on the couch. (Lamas 47–48)That is not to say that museums have neglected to initiate services and programs that acknowledge the aspirations of people with disabilities (refer to Cachia and Krantz as examples). Without discounting such efforts, but with the refreshing analogy of the drunken uncle still fresh in memory, Lamas answers her own rhetorical question:how can traditional museums promote community development? At first the word “development” may seem too much for the museum to do, but there are several ways a museum can promote community development. (Lamas 52) Legitimising CommunitiesThe first way that museums can foster community or social development is to:help the community to over come [sic] a problem, coming up with different solutions, putting things into a new perspective; providing confidence to the community and legitimizing it. (Lamas 52)As a response, my doctoral investigation legitimises the right of people with vision impairment to participate in the social and cultural aspects of publicly funded museums. The Australian Government upheld this right in 2008 by ratifying the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (and Optional Protocol), which enshrines the right of people with disability to participate in the cultural life of the nation (United Nations).At least 840,700 people in Australia (a minimum of four per cent of the population) experiences either blindness or low vision (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2009). For every one person in the Australian community who is blind, nearly five other people experience low vision. The medical model of disability identifies the impairment as the key feature of a person and seeks out a corrective intervention. In contrast, the social model of disability strives to remove the attitudinal, social, and physical barriers enacted by people or institutions (Landman, Fishburn, and Tonkin 14). Therein lies the opportunity and challenge for museums—modifying layouts and practices that privilege the visual. Consequently, there is scope for museums to partner with people with vision impairment to identify their aspirations rather than respond as a problem to be fixed. Common fixes in the museums for people with disabilities include physical alterations such as ramps and, less often, special tours (Cachia). I posit that curators, as co-creators and major contributors to exhibitions, can be part of a far wider discussion. In the course of doctoral research, I accompanied adults with a wide array of sight impairments into exhibitions at the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House, the Australian War Memorial, and the National Museum of Australia. Within the space of the exhibition, the most commonly identified barrier has been the omission of access opportunities to interpreted materials: that is, information about objects on display as well as the wider narratives driving exhibitions. Often, the participant has had to work backwards, from the object itself, to understand the wider topic of the exhibition. If aesthetics is “the way we communicate through the senses” (Thrift 291), then the vast majority of exhibits have been inaccessible from a sensory perspective. For people with low vision (that is, they retain some degree of functioning sight), objects’ labels have often been too small to be read or, at times, poorly contrasted or positioned. Objects have often been set too deep into display cabinets or too far behind safety barriers. If individuals must use personal magnifiers to read text or look in vain at objects, then that is an indicator that there are issues with exhibition design. For people who experience blindness (that is, they cannot see), neither the vast majority of exhibits nor their interpretations have been made accessible. There has been minimal access across all museums to accessioned objects, handling collections, or replicas to tease out exhibits and their stories. Object labels must be read by family or friends—a tiring experience. Without motivated peers, the stories told by curators are silenced by a dearth of alternative options.Rather than presume to know what works for people with disabilities, my research ethos respects the “nothing about us without us” (Charlton 2000; Werner 1997) maxim of disability advocates. To paraphrase Lamas, we have collaborated to come up with different solutions by putting things into new perspectives. In turn, “person-centred” practices based on rapport, warmth, and respect (Arigho 206–07) provide confidence to a diverse community of people by legitimising their right to participate in the museum space. Incentivising Communities Museums can also nurture social or community development by providing incentives to “the community to take action to improve its quality of life” (Lamas 52). It typically falls to (enthusiastic) public education and community outreach teams to engage underserved communities through targeted programs. This approach continues the trend of curators as advocates for the collection, and educators as advocates for the public (Kaitavouri xi). If the exhibition briefs normally written by curators (Belcher 83) reinforced the importance of access, then exhibition designers would be compelled to offer fit-for-purpose solutions. Better still, if curators (and other exhibition team members) regularly met with community based organisations (perhaps in the form of a disability reference group), then museums would be better positioned to accommodate a wider spectrum of community members. The National Standards for Australian Museums and Galleries already encourages museums to collaborate with disability organisations (40). Such initiatives offer a way forward for improving a community’s sense of itself and its quality of life. The World Health Organization defines health as a “state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. While I am not using quality of life indicators for my doctoral study, the value of facilitating social and cultural opportunities for my target audience is evident in participant statements. At the conclusion of one sensory based workshop, Mara, a female participant who experiences low vision in one eye and blindness in the other, stated:I think it was interesting in that we could talk together about what we were experiencing and that really is the social aspect of it. I mean if I was left to go to a whole lot of museums on my own, I probably wouldn’t. You know, I like going with kids or a friend visiting from interstate—that sort of thing. And so this group, in a way, replicates that experience in that you’ve got someone else to talk about your impressions with—much better than going on your own or doing this alone.Mara’s statement was in response to one of two workshops I held with the support of the Learning Services team at the National Museum of Australia in May 2015. Selected objects from the museum’s accessioned collection and handling collection were explored, as well as replicas in the form of 3D printed objects. For example, participants gazed upon and handled a tuckerbox, smelt and tasted macadamia nuts in wattle seed syrup, and listened to a genesis story about the more-ish nut recorded by the Butchulla people—the traditional owners of Fraser Island. We sat around a table while I, as the workshop mediator, sought to facilitate free-flowing discussions about their experiences and, in turn, mused on the capacity of objects to spark social connection and opportunities for cultural access. While the workshop provided the opportunity for reciprocal exchanges amongst participants as well as between participants and me, what was highly valued by most participants was the direct contact with members of the museum’s Learning Services team. I observed that participants welcomed the opportunity to talk with real museum workers. Their experience of museum practitioners, to date, had been largely confined to the welcome desk of respective institutions or through special events or tours where they were talked at. The opportunity to communicate directly with the museum allowed some participants to share their thoughts and feelings about the services that museums provide. I suggest that curators open themselves up to such exchanges on a more frequent basis—it may result in reciprocal benefits for all stakeholders. Fortifying IdentityA third way museums can contribute to social or community development is by:fortify[ing] the bonds between the members of the community and reaffirm their identities making them feel more secure about who they are; and give them a chance to tell their own version of their history to “outsiders” which empowers them. (Lamas 52)Identity informs us and others of who we are and where we belong in the world (Silverman 54). However, the process of identity marking and making can be fraught: “some communities are ours by choice … [and] … some are ours because of the ways that others see us” (Watson 4). Communities are formed by identifying who is in and who is out (Francois Dubet qtd. in Bessant and Watts 260). In other words, the construction of collective identity is reinforced through means of social inclusion and social exclusion. The participants of my study, as members or clients of the Royal Society for the Blind | Canberra Blind Society, clearly value participating in events with empathetic peers. People with vision impairment are not a hom*ogenous group, however. Reinforcing the cultural influences on the formation of identity, Fiona Candlin asserts that “to state the obvious but often ignored fact, blind people … [come] … from all social classes, all cultural, racial, religious and educational backgrounds” (101). Irrespective of whether blindness or low vision arises congenitally, adventitiously, or through unexpected illness, injury, or trauma, the end result is an assortment of individuals with differing perceptual characteristics who construct meaning in often divergent ways (De Coster and Loots 326–34). They also hold differing world views. Therefore, “participation [at the museum] is not an end in itself. It is a means for creating a better world” (Assunção dos Santos 9). According to the Australian Human Rights Commissioner, Professor Gillian Triggs, a better world is: a society for all, in which every individual has an active role to play. Such a society is based on fundamental values of equity, equality, social justice, and human rights and freedoms, as well as on the principles of tolerance and embracing diversity. (Triggs)Publicly funded museums can play a fundamental role in the cultural lives of societies. For example, the Powerhouse Museum (Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences) in Sydney partnered with Vision Australia to host an exhibition in 2010 titled Living in a Sensory World: it offered “visitors an understanding of the world of the blindness and low vision community and celebrates their achievements” (Powerhouse Museum). With similar intent, my doctoral research seeks to validate the world of my participants by inviting museums to appreciate their aspirations as a distinct but diverse community of people. ConclusionIn conclusion, the challenge for museum curators and other museum practitioners is balancing what Richard Sennett (qtd. in Bessant and Watts 265) identifies as opportunities for enhancing social cohesion and a sense of belonging while mitigating parochialism and community divisiveness. Therefore, curators, as the primary focus of this article, are indeed challenged when asked to contribute to serving the public through social development—a public which is anything but hom*ogenous. Mindful of cultural and social differences in an ever-changing world, museums are called to respect the cultural and natural heritage of the communities they serve and collaborate with (ICOM 10). It is a position I wholeheartedly support. This is not to say that museums or indeed curators are capable of solving the ills of society. However, inviting people who are frequently excluded from social and cultural events to multisensory encounters with museum collections acknowledges their cultural rights. I suggest that this would be a seismic shift from the current experiences of adults with blindness or low vision at most museums.ReferencesAlexander, Edward, and Mary Alexander. Museums in Motion: An Introduction to the History and Functions of Museums. 2nd ed. Lanham, Maryland: AltaMira Press, 2008.Arigho, Bernie. “Getting a Handle on the Past: The Use of Objects in Reminiscence Work.” Touch in Museums: Policy and Practice in Object Handling. Ed. Helen Chatterjee. Oxford: Berg, 2008. 205–12.Assunção dos Santos, Paula. Introduction. Sociomuseology 4: To Think Sociomuseologically. Eds. Paula Assunção dos Santos and Judite Primo. Lisbon: Universidade Lusófona de Humanidades e Tecnologias, 2010. 5–12.Australian Bureau of Statistics. “National Health Survey: Summary of Results (2007- 2008) (Reissue), Cat. No. 4364.0. 2009.” Australian Bureau of Statistics. 12 Feb. 2015 ‹http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/4364.0›.Belcher, Michael. Exhibitions in Museums. Leicester: Leicester UP, 1991.Bessant, Judith, and Rob Watts. Sociology Australia. 3rd ed. Crows Nest: Allen & Unwin, 2007.Cachia, Amanda. “Talking Blind: Disability, Access, and the Discursive Turn.” Disability Studies Quarterly 33.3 (2013). 23 July 2015 ‹http://dsq-sds.org/article/view/3758›.Campbell, Catherine, and Sandra Jovchelovitch. "Health, Community and Development: Towards a Social Psychology of Participation." Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology 10.4 (2000): 255–70.Candlin, Fiona. "Blindness, Art and Exclusion in Museums and Galleries." International Journal of Art & Design Education 22.1 (2003): 100–10.Charlton, James. Nothing about Us without Us: Disability Oppression and Empowerment. Berkeley: U of California P, 2000.De Coster, Karin, and Gerrit Loots. "Somewhere in between Touch and Vision: In Search of a Meaningful Art Education for Blind Individuals." International Journal of Art & Design Education 23.3 (2004): 32634.De Varine, Hugues. “Decolonising Museology.” ICOM News 58.3 (2005): 3.Desvallées, André, and François Mairesse. Key Concepts of Museology. Paris: Armand Colin, 2010. 16 Jun. 2015 ‹http://icom.museum/professional-standards/key-concepts-of-museology/›.Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cwlth). 14 June 2015 ‹https://www.comlaw.gov.au/Series/C2004A04426›.Drobnick, Jim. “Volatile Effects: Olfactory Dimensions of Art and Architecture.” Empire of the Senses: The Sensual Culture Reader. Ed. David Howes. New York: Berg, 2005. 265–80.Dudley, Sandra. “Sensory Exile in the Field.” Museums Objects: Experiencing the Properties of Things. Ed. Sandra H. Dudley. Abingdon, UK: Routledge, 2012. 161–63.Feld, Steven. “Places Sensed, Senses Placed: Toward a Sensuous Epistemology of Environments.” Empire of the Senses: The Sensual Culture Reader. Ed. David Howes. New York: Berg, 2005. 179–91.Fleming, David. “Positioning the Museum for Social Inclusion.” Museums, Society, Inequality. Ed. Richard Sandell. London: Routledge, 2002. 213–24.Giménez-Cassina, Eduardo. “Who Am I? An Identity Crisis. Identity in the New Museologies and the Role of the Museum Professional.” Sociomuseology 3: To Understand New Museology in the XXI Century. Eds. Paula Assunção dos Santos and Judite Primo. Lisbon: Universidade Lusófona de Humanidades e Tecnologias, 2010. 25–42. Guarini, Beaux. Up Close and Personal: Engaging Collections alongside Adults with Vision Impairment. 2015. 17 June 2015 ‹http://nma.gov.au/blogs/education/2015/06/17/4802/›.Hauenschild, Andrea. Claims and Reality of New Museology: Case Studies in Canada, the United States and Mexico. 1988. 21 June 2015 ‹http://museumstudies.si.edu/claims2000.htm›.Hoyt, Bridget O’Brien. “Emphasizing Observation in a Gallery Program for Blind and Low-Vision Visitors: Art beyond Sight at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.” Disability Studies Quarterly 33.3 (2013). 23 July 2015 ‹http://dsq-sds.org/article/view/3737›.International Council of Museums. ICOM Code of Ethics for Museums. Paris: International Council of Museums, 2013. 6 June 2015 ‹http://icom.museum/the-vision/code-of-ethics/›.James, Liz. “Senses and Sensibility in Byzantium.” Museums Objects: Experiencing the Properties of Things. Ed. Sandra H. Dudley. Abingdon, UK: Routledge, 2012. 134–149.Kaitavouri, Kaija. Introduction. It’s All Mediating: Outlining and Incorporating the Roles of Curating and Education in the Exhibit Context. Eds. Kaija Kaitavouri, Laura Kokkonen, and Nora Sternfeld. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013. x–xxi.Lamas, Mariana. “Lost in the Supermarket – The Traditional Museums Challenges.” Sociomuseology 3: To Understand New Museology in the XXI Century. Eds. Paula Assunção dos Santos and Judite Primo. Lisbon: Universidade Lusófona de Humanidades e Tecnologias, 2010. 42–58. Landman, Peta, Kiersten Fishburn, Lynda Kelly, and Susan Tonkin. Many Voices Making Choices: Museum Audiences with Disabilities. Sydney: Australian Museum and National Museum of Australia, 2005. Levent, Nina, and Joan Muyskens Pursley. “Sustainable Museum Acess: A Two-Way Street.” Disability Studies Quarterly 33.3 (2013). 22 July 2015 ‹http://dsq-sds.org/article/view/3742›.McGlone, Francis. “The Two Sides of Touch: Sensing and Feeling.” Touch in Museums: Policy and Practice in Object Handling. Ed. Helen Chatterjee. Oxford: Berg, 2008. 41–60.National Museum of Australia. “Stories Can Unite Us as One.” YouTube 28 May 2015. 16 Jun. 2015 ‹https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qwxj_rC57zM›.National Standards Taskforce. National Standards for Australian Museums and Galleries (Version 1.4, October 2014). Melbourne: The National Standards Taskforce, 2014. 20 June 2015 ‹http://www.mavic.asn.au/assets/NSFAMG_v1_4_2014.pdf›.Papalia, Carmen. “A New Model for Access in the Museum.” Disability Studies Quarterly 33.3 (2013). 23 July 2015 ‹http://dsq-sds.org/article/view/3757›.Powerhouse Museum. 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"Social Inclusion, the Museum and the Dynamics of Sectoral Change." Museum and Society 1.1 (2003): 45–62.Silverman, Lois. The Social Work of Museums. London: Routledge, 2010.Thrift, Nigel. “Understanding the Material Practices of Glamour.” The Affect Theory Reader. Eds. Melissa Gregg and Gregory Seigworth. Durham: Duke UP, 2010. 289–308.Triggs, Gillian. Social Inclusion and Human Rights in Australia. 2013. 6 June 2015 ‹https://www.humanrights.gov.au/news/speeches/social-inclusion-and-human-rights-australia›. United Nations. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. 2006. 16 Mar. 2015 ‹http://www.un.org/disabilities/default.asp?id=150?›.United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization. United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation Round Table on the Development and the Role of Museums in the Contemporary World - Santiago de Chile, Chile 20-31 May 1972. 1973. 18 June 2015 ‹http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0002/000236/023679EB.pdf›.Van Mensch, Peter. Towards a Methodology of Museology. Diss. U of Zagreb, 1992. 16 June 2015 ‹http://www.muzeologie.net/downloads/mat_lit/mensch_phd.pdf›.Watson, Sheila. “Museum Communities in Theory and Practice.” Museums and Their Communities. Ed. Sheila Watson. Abingdon, UK: Routledge, 2007. 1–24.Werner, David. Nothing about Us without Us: Developing Innovative Technologies for, vy, and with Disabled Persons. Palo Alto, CA: Healthwrights, 1997.World Health Organization. Mental Health: Strengthening Our Response, Fact Sheet No. 220, Updated April 2014. 2014. 2 June 2015 ‹http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs220/en/›.

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Goggin, Gerard, and Christopher Newell. "Fame and Disability." M/C Journal 7, no.5 (November1, 2004). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.2404.

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When we think of disability today in the Western world, Christopher Reeve most likely comes to mind. A film star who captured people’s imagination as Superman, Reeve was already a celebrity before he took the fall that would lead to his new position in the fame game: the role of super-crip. As a person with acquired quadriplegia, Christopher Reeve has become both the epitome of disability in Western culture — the powerful cultural myth of disability as tragedy and catastrophe — and, in an intimately related way, the icon for the high-technology quest for cure. The case of Reeve is fascinating, yet critical discussion of Christopher Reeve in terms of fame, celebrity and his performance of disability is conspicuously lacking (for a rare exception see McRuer). To some extent this reflects the comparative lack of engagement of media and cultural studies with disability (Goggin). To redress this lacuna, we draw upon theories of celebrity (Dyer; Marshall; Turner, Bonner, & Marshall; Turner) to explore the production of Reeve as celebrity, as well as bringing accounts of celebrity into dialogue with critical disability studies. Reeve is a cultural icon, not just because of the economy, industrial processes, semiotics, and contemporary consumption of celebrity, outlined in Turner’s 2004 framework. Fame and celebrity are crucial systems in the construction of disability; and the circulation of Reeve-as-celebrity only makes sense if we understand the centrality of disability to culture and media. Reeve plays an enormously important (if ambiguous) function in the social relations of disability, at the heart of the discursive underpinning of the otherness of disability and the construction of normal sexed and gendered bodies (the normate) in everyday life. What is distinctive and especially powerful about this instance of fame and disability is how authenticity plays through the body of the celebrity Reeve; how his saintly numinosity is received by fans and admirers with passion, pathos, pleasure; and how this process places people with disabilities in an oppressive social system, so making them subject(s). An Accidental Star Born September 25, 1952, Christopher Reeve became famous for his roles in the 1978 movie Superman, and the subsequent three sequels (Superman II, III, IV), as well as his role in other films such as Monsignor. As well as becoming a well-known actor, Reeve gained a profile for his activism on human rights, solidarity, environmental, and other issues. In May 1995 Reeve acquired a disability in a riding accident. In the ensuing months, Reeve’s situation attracted a great deal of international attention. He spent six months in the Kessler Rehabilitation Institute in New Jersey, and there gave a high-rating interview on US television personality Barbara Walters’ 20/20 program. In 1996, Reeve appeared at the Academy Awards, was a host at the 1996 Paralympic Games, and was invited to speak at the Democratic National Convention. In the same year Reeve narrated a film about the lives of people living with disabilities (Mierendorf). In 1998 his memoir Still Me was published, followed in 2002 by another book Nothing Is Impossible. Reeve’s active fashioning of an image and ‘new life’ (to use his phrase) stands in stark contrast with most people with disabilities, who find it difficult to enter into the industry and system of celebrity, because they are most often taken to be the opposite of glamorous or important. They are objects of pity, or freaks to be stared at (Mitchell & Synder; Thomson), rather than assuming other attributes of stars. Reeve became famous for his disability, indeed very early on he was acclaimed as the pre-eminent American with disability — as in the phrase ‘President of Disability’, an appellation he attracted. Reeve was quickly positioned in the celebrity industry, not least because his example, image, and texts were avidly consumed by viewers and readers. For millions of people — as evident in the letters compiled in the 1999 book Care Packages by his wife, Dana Reeve — Christopher Reeve is a hero, renowned for his courage in doing battle with his disability and his quest for a cure. Part of the creation of Reeve as celebrity has been a conscious fashioning of his life as an instructive fable. A number of biographies have now been published (Havill; Hughes; Oleksy; Wren). Variations on a theme, these tend to the hagiographic: Christopher Reeve: Triumph over Tragedy (Alter). Those interested in Reeve’s life and work can turn also to fan websites. Most tellingly perhaps is the number of books, fables really, aimed at children, again, on a characteristic theme: Learning about Courage from the Life of Christopher Reeve (Kosek; see also Abraham; Howard). The construction, but especially the consumption, of Reeve as disabled celebrity, is consonant with powerful cultural myths and tropes of disability. In many Western cultures, disability is predominantly understood a tragedy, something that comes from the defects and lack of our bodies, whether through accidents of birth or life. Those ‘suffering’ with disability, according to this cultural myth, need to come to terms with this bitter tragedy, and show courage in heroically overcoming their lot while they bide their time for the cure that will come. The protagonist for this this script is typically the ‘brave’ person with disability; or, as this figure is colloquially known in critical disability studies and the disability movement — the super-crip. This discourse of disability exerts a strong force today, and is known as the ‘medical’ model. It interacts with a prior, but still active charity discourse of disability (Fulcher). There is a deep cultural history of disability being seen as something that needs to be dealt with by charity. In late modernity, charity is very big business indeed, and celebrities play an important role in representing the good works bestowed on people with disabilities by rich donors. Those managing celebrities often suggest that the star finds a charity to gain favourable publicity, a routine for which people with disabilities are generally the pathetic but handy extras. Charity dinners and events do not just reinforce the tragedy of disability, but they also leave unexamined the structural nature of disability, and its associated disadvantage. Those critiquing the medical and charitable discourses of disability, and the oppressive power relations of disability that it represents, point to the social and cultural shaping of disability, most famously in the British ‘social’ model of disability — but also from a range of other perspectives (Corker and Thomas). Those formulating these critiques point to the crucial function that the trope of the super-crip plays in the policing of people with disabilities in contemporary culture and society. Indeed how the figure of the super-crip is also very much bound up with the construction of the ‘normal’ body, a general economy of representation that affects everyone. Superman Flies Again The celebrity of Christopher Reeve and what it reveals for an understanding of fame and disability can be seen with great clarity in his 2002 visit to Australia. In 2002 there had been a heated national debate on the ethics of use of embryonic stem cells for research. In an analysis of three months of the print media coverage of these debates, we have suggested that disability was repeatedly, almost obsessively, invoked in these debates (‘Uniting the Nation’). Yet the dominant representation of disability here was the cultural myth of disability as tragedy, requiring cure at all cost, and that this trope was central to the way that biotechnology was constructed as requiring an urgent, united national response. Significantly, in these debates, people with disabilities were often talked about but very rarely licensed to speak. Only one person with disability was, and remains, a central figure in these Australian stem cell and biotechnology policy conversations: Christopher Reeve. As an outspoken advocate of research on embryonic stem-cells in the quest for a cure for spinal injuries, as well as other diseases, Reeve’s support was enlisted by various protagonists. The current affairs show Sixty Minutes (modelled after its American counterpart) presented Reeve in debate with Australian critics: PRESENTER: Stem cell research is leading to perhaps the greatest medical breakthroughs of all time… Imagine a world where paraplegics could walk or the blind could see … But it’s a breakthrough some passionately oppose. A breakthrough that’s caused a fierce personal debate between those like actor Christopher Reeve, who sees this technology as a miracle, and those who regard it as murder. (‘Miracle or Murder?’) Sixty Minutes starkly portrays the debate in Manichean terms: lunatics standing in the way of technological progress versus Christopher Reeve flying again tomorrow. Christopher presents the debate in utilitarian terms: CHRISTOPHER REEVE: The purpose of government, really in a free society, is to do the greatest good for the greatest number of people. And that question should always be in the forefront of legislators’ minds. (‘Miracle or Murder?’) No criticism of Reeve’s position was offered, despite the fierce debate over the implications of such utilitarian rhetoric for minorities such as people with disabilities (including himself!). Yet this utilitarian stance on disability has been elaborated by philosopher Peter Singer, and trenchantly critiqued by the international disability rights movement. Later in 2002, the Premier of New South Wales, Bob Carr, invited Reeve to visit Australia to participate in the New South Wales Spinal Cord Forum. A journalist by training, and skilled media practitioner, Carr had been the most outspoken Australian state premier urging the Federal government to permit the use of embryonic stem cells for research. Carr’s reasons were as much as industrial as benevolent, boosting the stocks of biotechnology as a clean, green, boom industry. Carr cleverly and repeated enlisted stereotypes of disability in the service of his cause. Christopher Reeve was flown into Australia on a specially modified Boeing 747, free of charge courtesy of an Australian airline, and was paid a hefty appearance fee. Not only did Reeve’s fee hugely contrast with meagre disability support pensions many Australians with disabilities live on, he was literally the only voice and image of disability given any publicity. Consuming Celebrity, Contesting Crips As our analysis of Reeve’s antipodean career suggests, if disability were a republic, and Reeve its leader, its polity would look more plutocracy than democracy; as befits modern celebrity with its constitutive tensions between the demotic and democratic (Turner). For his part, Reeve has criticised the treatment of people with disabilities, and how they are stereotyped, not least the narrow concept of the ‘normal’ in mainstream films. This is something that has directly effected his career, which has become limited to narration or certain types of television and film work. Reeve’s reprise on his culture’s notion of disability comes with his starring role in an ironic, high-tech 1998 remake of Alfred Hitchco*ck’s Rear Window (Bleckner), a movie that in the original featured a photojournalist injured and temporarily using a wheelchair. Reeve has also been a strong advocate, lobbyist, and force in the politics of disability. His activism, however, has been far more strongly focussed on finding a cure for people with spinal injuries — rather than seeking to redress inequality and discrimination of all people with disabilities. Yet Reeve’s success in the notoriously fickle star system that allows disability to be understood and mapped in popular culture is mostly an unexplored paradox. As we note above, the construction of Reeve as celebrity, celebrating his individual resilience and resourcefulness, and his authenticity, functions precisely to sustain the ‘truth’ and the power relations of disability. Reeve’s celebrity plays an ideological role, knitting together a set of discourses: individualism; consumerism; democratic capitalism; and the primacy of the able body (Marshall; Turner). The nature of this cultural function of Reeve’s celebrity is revealed in the largely unpublicised contests over his fame. At the same time Reeve was gaining fame with his traditional approach to disability and reinforcement of the continuing catastrophe of his life, he was attracting an infamy within certain sections of the international disability rights movement. In a 1996 US debate disability scholar David T Mitchell put it this way: ‘He’s [Reeve] the good guy — the supercrip, the Superman, and those of us who can live with who we are with our disabilities, but who cannot live with, and in fact, protest and retaliate against the oppression we confront every second of our lives are the bad guys’ (Mitchell, quoted in Brown). Many feel, like Mitchell, that Reeve’s focus on a cure ignores the unmet needs of people with disabilities for daily access to support services and for the ending of their brutal, dehumanising, daily experience as other (Goggin & Newell, Disability in Australia). In her book Make Them Go Away Mary Johnson points to the conservative forces that Christopher Reeve is associated with and the way in which these forces have been working to oppose the acceptance of disability rights. Johnson documents the way in which fame can work in a variety of ways to claw back the rights of Americans with disabilities granted in the Americans with Disabilities Act, documenting the association of Reeve and, in a different fashion, Clint Eastwood as stars who have actively worked to limit the applicability of civil rights legislation to people with disabilities. Like other successful celebrities, Reeve has been assiduous in managing his image, through the use of celebrity professionals including public relations professionals. In his Australian encounters, for example, Reeve gave a variety of media interviews to Australian journalists and yet the editor of the Australian disability rights magazine Link was unable to obtain an interview. Despite this, critiques of the super-crip celebrity function of Reeve by people with disabilities did circulate at the margins of mainstream media during his Australian visit, not least in disability media and the Internet (Leipoldt, Newell, and Corcoran, 2003). Infamous Disability Like the lives of saints, it is deeply offensive to many to criticise Christopher Reeve. So deeply engrained are the cultural myths of the catastrophe of disability and the creation of Reeve as icon that any critique runs the risk of being received as sacrilege, as one rare iconoclastic website provocatively prefigures (Maddox). In this highly charged context, we wish to acknowledge his contribution in highlighting some aspects of contemporary disability, and emphasise our desire not to play Reeve the person — rather to explore the cultural and media dimensions of fame and disability. In Christopher Reeve we find a remarkable exception as someone with disability who is celebrated in our culture. We welcome a wider debate over what is at stake in this celebrity and how Reeve’s renown differs from other disabled stars, as, for example, in Robert McRuer reflection that: ... at the beginning of the last century the most famous person with disabilities in the world, despite her participation in an ‘overcoming’ narrative, was a socialist who understood that disability disproportionately impacted workers and the power[less]; Helen Keller knew that blindness and deafness, for instance, often resulted from industrial accidents. At the beginning of this century, the most famous person with disabilities in the world is allowing his image to be used in commercials … (McRuer 230) For our part, we think Reeve’s celebrity plays an important contemporary role because it binds together a constellation of economic, political, and social institutions and discourses — namely science, biotechnology, and national competitiveness. In the second half of 2004, the stem cell debate is once again prominent in American debates as a presidential election issue. Reeve figures disability in national culture in his own country and internationally, as the case of the currency of his celebrity in Australia demonstrates. In this light, we have only just begun to register, let alone explore and debate, what is entailed for us all in the production of this disabled fame and infamy. Epilogue to “Fame and Disability” Christopher Reeve died on Sunday 10 October 2004, shortly after this article was accepted for publication. His death occasioned an outpouring of condolences, mourning, and reflection. We share that sense of loss. How Reeve will be remembered is still unfolding. The early weeks of public mourning have emphasised his celebrity as the very embodiment and exemplar of disabled identity: ‘The death of Christopher Reeve leaves embryonic-stem-cell activism without one of its star generals’ (Newsweek); ‘He Never Gave Up: What actor and activist Christopher Reeve taught scientists about the treatment of spinal-cord injury’ (Time); ‘Incredible Journey: Facing tragedy, Christopher Reeve inspired the world with hope and a lesson in courage’ (People); ‘Superman’s Legacy’ (The Express); ‘Reeve, the Real Superman’ (Hindustani Times). In his tribute New South Wales Premier Bob Carr called Reeve the ‘most impressive person I have ever met’, and lamented ‘Humankind has lost an advocate and friend’ (Carr). The figure of Reeve remains central to how disability is represented. In our culture, death is often closely entwined with disability (as in the saying ‘better dead than disabled’), something Reeve reflected upon himself often. How Reeve’s ‘global mourning’ partakes and shapes in this dense knots of associations, and how it transforms his celebrity, is something that requires further work (Ang et. al.). The political and analytical engagement with Reeve’s celebrity and mourning at this time serves to underscore our exploration of fame and disability in this article. Already there is his posthumous enlistment in the United States Presidential elections, where disability is both central and yet marginal, people with disability talked about rather than listened to. The ethics of stem cell research was an election issue before Reeve’s untimely passing, with Democratic presidential contender John Kerry sharply marking his difference on this issue with President Bush. After Reeve’s death his widow Dana joined the podium on the Kerry campaign in Columbus, Ohio, to put the case herself; for his part, Kerry compared Bush’s opposition to stem cell research as akin to favouring the candle lobby over electricity. As we write, the US polls are a week away, but the cultural representation of disability — and the intensely political role celebrity plays in it — appears even more palpably implicated in the government of society itself. References Abraham, Philip. Christopher Reeve. New York: Children’s Press, 2002. Alter, Judy. Christopher Reeve: Triumph over Tragedy. Danbury, Conn.: Franklin Watts, 2000. Ang, Ien, Ruth Barcan, Helen Grace, Elaine Lally, Justine Lloyd, and Zoe Sofoulis (eds.) Planet Diana: Cultural Studies and Global Mourning. Sydney: Research Centre in Intercommunal Studies, University of Western Sydney, Nepean, 1997. Bleckner, Jeff, dir. Rear Window. 1998. Brown, Steven E. “Super Duper? The (Unfortunate) Ascendancy of Christopher Reeve.” Mainstream: Magazine of the Able-Disabled, October 1996. Repr. 10 Aug. 2004 http://www.independentliving.org/docs3/brown96c.html>. Carr, Bob. “A Class Act of Grace and Courage.” Sydney Morning Herald. 12 Oct. 2004: 14. Corker, Mairian and Carol Thomas. “A Journey around the Social Model.” Disability/Postmodernity: Embodying Disability Theory. Ed. Mairian Corker and Tom Shakespeare. London and New York: Continuum, 2000. Donner, Richard, dir. Superman. 1978. Dyer, Richard. Heavenly Bodies: Film Stars and Society. London: BFI Macmillan, 1986. Fulcher, Gillian. Disabling Policies? London: Falmer Press, 1989. Furie, Sidney J., dir. Superman IV: The Quest for Peace. 1987. Finn, Margaret L. Christopher Reeve. Philadelphia: Chelsea House Publishers, 1997. Gilmer, Tim. “The Missionary Reeve.” New Mobility. November 2002. 13 Aug. 2004 http://www.newmobility.com/>. Goggin, Gerard. “Media Studies’ Disability.” Media International Australia 108 (Aug. 2003): 157-68. Goggin, Gerard, and Christopher Newell. Disability in Australia: Exposing a Social Apartheid. Sydney: UNSW Press, 2005. —. “Uniting the Nation?: Disability, Stem Cells, and the Australian Media.” Disability & Society 19 (2004): 47-60. Havill, Adrian. Man of Steel: The Career and Courage of Christopher Reeve. New York, N.Y.: Signet, 1996. Howard, Megan. Christopher Reeve. Minneapolis: Lerner Publications, 1999. Hughes, Libby. Christopher Reeve. Parsippany, NJ.: Dillon Press, 1998. Johnson, Mary. Make Them Go Away: Clint Eastwood, Christopher Reeve and the Case Against Disability Rights. Louisville : Advocado Press, 2003. Kosek, Jane Kelly. Learning about Courage from the Life of Christopher Reeve. 1st ed. New York : PowerKids Press, 1999. Leipoldt, Erik, Christopher Newell, and Maurice Corcoran. “Christopher Reeve and Bob Carr Dehumanise Disability — Stem Cell Research Not the Best Solution.” Online Opinion 27 Jan. 2003. http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=510>. Lester, Richard (dir.) Superman II. 1980. —. Superman III. 1983. Maddox. “Christopher Reeve Is an Asshole.” 12 Aug. 2004 http://maddox.xmission.com/c.cgi?u=creeve>. Marshall, P. David. Celebrity and Power: Fame in Contemporary Culture. Minneapolis and London: U of Minnesota P, 1997. Mierendorf, Michael, dir. Without Pity: A Film about Abilities. Narr. Christopher Reeve. 1996. “Miracle or Murder?” Sixty Minutes. Channel 9, Australia. March 17, 2002. 15 June 2002 http://news.ninemsn.com.au/sixtyminutes/stories/2002_03_17/story_532.asp>. Mitchell, David, and Synder, Sharon, eds. The Body and Physical Difference. Ann Arbor, U of Michigan, 1997. McRuer, Robert. “Critical Investments: AIDS, Christopher Reeve, and Queer/Disability Studies.” Journal of Medical Humanities 23 (2002): 221-37. Oleksy, Walter G. Christopher Reeve. San Diego, CA: Lucent, 2000. Reeve, Christopher. Nothing Is Impossible: Reflections on a New Life. 1st ed. New York: Random House, 2002. —. Still Me. 1st ed. New York: Random House, 1998. Reeve, Dana, comp. Care Packages: Letters to Christopher Reeve from Strangers and Other Friends. 1st ed. New York: Random House, 1999. Reeve, Matthew (dir.) Christopher Reeve: Courageous Steps. Television documentary, 2002. Thomson, Rosemary Garland, ed. Freakery: Cultural Spectacles of the Extraordinary Body. New York: New York UP, 1996. Turner, Graeme. Understanding Celebrity. Thousands Oak, CA: Sage, 2004. Turner, Graeme, Frances Bonner, and David P Marshall. Fame Games: The Production of Celebrity in Australia. Melbourne: Cambridge UP, 2000. Wren, Laura Lee. Christopher Reeve: Hollywood’s Man of Courage. Berkeley Heights, NJ : Enslow, 1999. Younis, Steve. “Christopher Reeve Homepage.” 12 Aug. 2004 http://www.fortunecity.com/lavender/greatsleep/1023/main.html>. Citation reference for this article MLA Style Goggin, Gerard & Newell, Christopher. "Fame and Disability: Christopher Reeve, Super Crips, and Infamous Celebrity." M/C Journal 7.5 (2004). echo date('d M. Y'); ?> <http://journal.media-culture.org.au/0411/02-goggin.php>. APA Style Goggin, G. & Newell, C. (Nov. 2004) "Fame and Disability: Christopher Reeve, Super Crips, and Infamous Celebrity," M/C Journal, 7(5). Retrieved echo date('d M. Y'); ?> from <http://journal.media-culture.org.au/0411/02-goggin.php>.

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Currie, Susan, and Donna Lee Brien. "Mythbusting Publishing: Questioning the ‘Runaway Popularity’ of Published Biography and Other Life Writing." M/C Journal 11, no.4 (July1, 2008). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.43.

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Introduction: Our current obsession with the lives of others “Biography—that is to say, our creative and non-fictional output devoted to recording and interpreting real lives—has enjoyed an extraordinary renaissance in recent years,” writes Nigel Hamilton in Biography: A Brief History (1). Ian Donaldson agrees that biography is back in fashion: “Once neglected within the academy and relegated to the dustier recesses of public bookstores, biography has made a notable return over recent years, emerging, somewhat surprisingly, as a new cultural phenomenon, and a new academic adventure” (23). For over a decade now, commentators having been making similar observations about our obsession with the intimacies of individual people’s lives. In a lecture in 1994, Justin Kaplan asserted the West was “a culture of biography” (qtd. in Salwak 1) and more recent research findings by John Feather and Hazel Woodbridge affirm that “the undiminished human curiosity about other peoples lives is clearly reflected in the popularity of autobiographies and biographies” (218). At least in relation to television, this assertion seems valid. In Australia, as in the USA and the UK, reality and other biographically based television shows have taken over from drama in both the numbers of shows produced and the viewers these shows attract, and these forms are also popular in Canada (see, for instance, Morreale on The Osbournes). In 2007, the program Biography celebrated its twentieth anniversary season to become one of the longest running documentary series on American television; so successful that in 1999 it was spun off into its own eponymous channel (Rak; Dempsey). Premiered in May 1996, Australian Story—which aims to utilise a “personal approach” to biographical storytelling—has won a significant viewership, critical acclaim and professional recognition (ABC). It can also be posited that the real home movies viewers submit to such programs as Australia’s Favourite Home Videos, and “chat” or “confessional” television are further reflections of a general mania for biographical detail (see Douglas), no matter how fragmented, sensationalized, or even inane and cruel. A recent example of the latter, the USA-produced The Moment of Truth, has contestants answering personal questions under polygraph examination and then again in front of an audience including close relatives and friends—the more “truthful” their answers (and often, the more humiliated and/or distressed contestants are willing to be), the more money they can win. Away from television, but offering further evidence of this interest are the growing readerships for personally oriented weblogs and networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook (Grossman), individual profiles and interviews in periodical publications, and the recently widely revived newspaper obituary column (Starck). Adult and community education organisations run short courses on researching and writing auto/biographical forms and, across Western countries, the family history/genealogy sections of many local, state, and national libraries have been upgraded to meet the increasing demand for these services. Academically, journals and e-mail discussion lists have been established on the topics of biography and autobiography, and North American, British, and Australian universities offer undergraduate and postgraduate courses in life writing. The commonly aired wisdom is that published life writing in its many text-based forms (biography, autobiography, memoir, diaries, and collections of personal letters) is enjoying unprecedented popularity. It is our purpose to examine this proposition. Methodological problems There are a number of problems involved in investigating genre popularity, growth, and decline in publishing. Firstly, it is not easy to gain access to detailed statistics, which are usually only available within the industry. Secondly, it is difficult to ascertain how publishing statistics are gathered and what they report (Eliot). There is the question of whether bestselling booklists reflect actual book sales or are manipulated marketing tools (Miller), although the move from surveys of booksellers to electronic reporting at point of sale in new publishing lists such as BookScan will hopefully obviate this problem. Thirdly, some publishing lists categorise by subject and form, some by subject only, and some do not categorise at all. This means that in any analysis of these statistics, a decision has to be made whether to use the publishing list’s system or impose a different mode. If the publishing list is taken at face value, the question arises of whether to use categorisation by form or by subject. Fourthly, there is the bedeviling issue of terminology. Traditionally, there reigned a simple dualism in the terminology applied to forms of telling the true story of an actual life: biography and autobiography. Publishing lists that categorise their books, such as BookScan, have retained it. But with postmodern recognition of the presence of the biographer in a biography and of the presence of other subjects in an autobiography, the dichotomy proves false. There is the further problem of how to categorise memoirs, diaries, and letters. In the academic arena, the term “life writing” has emerged to describe the field as a whole. Within the genre of life writing, there are, however, still recognised sub-genres. Academic definitions vary, but generally a biography is understood to be a scholarly study of a subject who is not the writer; an autobiography is the story of a entire life written by its subject; while a memoir is a segment or particular focus of that life told, again, by its own subject. These terms are, however, often used interchangeably even by significant institutions such the USA Library of Congress, which utilises the term “biography” for all. Different commentators also use differing definitions. Hamilton uses the term “biography” to include all forms of life writing. Donaldson discusses how the term has been co-opted to include biographies of place such as Peter Ackroyd’s London: The Biography (2000) and of things such as Lizzie Collingham’s Curry: A Biography (2005). This reflects, of course, a writing/publishing world in which non-fiction stories of places, creatures, and even foodstuffs are called biographies, presumably in the belief that this will make them more saleable. The situation is further complicated by the emergence of hybrid publishing forms such as, for instance, the “memoir-with-recipes” or “food memoir” (Brien, Rutherford and Williamson). Are such books to be classified as autobiography or put in the “cookery/food & drink” category? We mention in passing the further confusion caused by novels with a subtitle of The Biography such as Virginia Woolf’s Orlando. The fifth methodological problem that needs to be mentioned is the increasing globalisation of the publishing industry, which raises questions about the validity of the majority of studies available (including those cited herein) which are nationally based. Whether book sales reflect what is actually read (and by whom), raises of course another set of questions altogether. Methodology In our exploration, we were fundamentally concerned with two questions. Is life writing as popular as claimed? And, if it is, is this a new phenomenon? To answer these questions, we examined a range of available sources. We began with the non-fiction bestseller lists in Publishers Weekly (a respected American trade magazine aimed at publishers, librarians, booksellers, and literary agents that claims to be international in scope) from their inception in 1912 to the present time. We hoped that this data could provide a longitudinal perspective. The term bestseller was coined by Publishers Weekly when it began publishing its lists in 1912; although the first list of popular American books actually appeared in The Bookman (New York) in 1895, based itself on lists appearing in London’s The Bookman since 1891 (Bassett and Walter 206). The Publishers Weekly lists are the best source of longitudinal information as the currently widely cited New York Times listings did not appear till 1942, with the Wall Street Journal a late entry into the field in 1994. We then examined a number of sources of more recent statistics. We looked at the bestseller lists from the USA-based Amazon.com online bookseller; recent research on bestsellers in Britain; and lists from Nielsen BookScan Australia, which claims to tally some 85% or more of books sold in Australia, wherever they are published. In addition to the reservations expressed above, caveats must be aired in relation to these sources. While Publishers Weekly claims to be an international publication, it largely reflects the North American publishing scene and especially that of the USA. Although available internationally, Amazon.com also has its own national sites—such as Amazon.co.uk—not considered here. It also caters to a “specific computer-literate, credit-able clientele” (Gutjahr: 219) and has an unashamedly commercial focus, within which all the information generated must be considered. In our analysis of the material studied, we will use “life writing” as a genre term. When it comes to analysis of the lists, we have broken down the genre of life writing into biography and autobiography, incorporating memoir, letters, and diaries under autobiography. This is consistent with the use of the terminology in BookScan. Although we have broken down the genre in this way, it is the overall picture with regard to life writing that is our concern. It is beyond the scope of this paper to offer a detailed analysis of whether, within life writing, further distinctions should be drawn. Publishers Weekly: 1912 to 2006 1912 saw the first list of the 10 bestselling non-fiction titles in Publishers Weekly. It featured two life writing texts, being headed by an autobiography, The Promised Land by Russian Jewish immigrant Mary Antin, and concluding with Albert Bigelow Paine’s six-volume biography, Mark Twain. The Publishers Weekly lists do not categorise non-fiction titles by either form or subject, so the classifications below are our own with memoir classified as autobiography. In a decade-by-decade tally of these listings, there were 3 biographies and 20 autobiographies in the lists between 1912 and 1919; 24 biographies and 21 autobiographies in the 1920s; 13 biographies and 40 autobiographies in the 1930s; 8 biographies and 46 biographies in the 1940s; 4 biographies and 14 autobiographies in the 1950s; 11 biographies and 13 autobiographies in the 1960s; 6 biographies and 11 autobiographies in the 1970s; 3 biographies and 19 autobiographies in the 1980s; 5 biographies and 17 autobiographies in the 1990s; and 2 biographies and 7 autobiographies from 2000 up until the end of 2006. See Appendix 1 for the relevant titles and authors. Breaking down the most recent figures for 1990–2006, we find a not radically different range of figures and trends across years in the contemporary environment. The validity of looking only at the top ten books sold in any year is, of course, questionable, as are all the issues regarding sources discussed above. But one thing is certain in terms of our inquiry. There is no upwards curve obvious here. If anything, the decade break-down suggests that sales are trending downwards. This is in keeping with the findings of Michael Korda, in his history of twentieth-century bestsellers. He suggests a consistent longitudinal picture across all genres: In every decade, from 1900 to the end of the twentieth century, people have been reliably attracted to the same kind of books […] Certain kinds of popular fiction always do well, as do diet books […] self-help books, celebrity memoirs, sensationalist scientific or religious speculation, stories about pets, medical advice (particularly on the subjects of sex, longevity, and child rearing), folksy wisdom and/or humour, and the American Civil War (xvii). Amazon.com since 2000 The USA-based Amazon.com online bookselling site provides listings of its own top 50 bestsellers since 2000, although only the top 14 bestsellers are recorded for 2001. As fiction and non-fiction are not separated out on these lists and no genre categories are specified, we have again made our own decisions about what books fall into the category of life writing. Generally, we erred on the side of inclusion. (See Appendix 2.) However, when it came to books dealing with political events, we excluded books dealing with specific aspects of political practice/policy. This meant excluding books on, for instance, George Bush’s so-called ‘war on terror,’ of which there were a number of bestsellers listed. In summary, these listings reveal that of the top 364 books sold by Amazon from 2000 to 2007, 46 (or some 12.6%) were, according to our judgment, either biographical or autobiographical texts. This is not far from the 10% of the 1912 Publishers Weekly listing, although, as above, the proportion of bestsellers that can be classified as life writing varied dramatically from year to year, with no discernible pattern of peaks and troughs. This proportion tallied to 4% auto/biographies in 2000, 14% in 2001, 10% in 2002, 18% in 2003 and 2004, 4% in 2005, 14% in 2006 and 20% in 2007. This could suggest a rising trend, although it does not offer any consistent trend data to suggest sales figures may either continue to grow, or fall again, in 2008 or afterwards. Looking at the particular texts in these lists (see Appendix 2) also suggests that there is no general trend in the popularity of life writing in relation to other genres. For instance, in these listings in Amazon.com, life writing texts only rarely figure in the top 10 books sold in any year. So rarely indeed, that from 2001 there were only five in this category. In 2001, John Adams by David McCullough was the best selling book of the year; in 2003, Hillary Clinton’s autobiographical Living History was 7th; in 2004, My Life by Bill Clinton reached number 1; in 2006, Nora Ephron’s I Feel Bad About My Neck: and Other Thoughts on Being a Woman was 9th; and in 2007, Ishmael Beah’s discredited A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier came in at 8th. Apart from McCulloch’s biography of Adams, all the above are autobiographical texts, while the focus on leading political figures is notable. Britain: Feather and Woodbridge With regard to the British situation, we did not have actual lists and relied on recent analysis. John Feather and Hazel Woodbridge find considerably higher levels for life writing in Britain than above with, from 1998 to 2005, 28% of British published non-fiction comprising autobiography, while 8% of hardback and 5% of paperback non-fiction was biography (2007). Furthermore, although Feather and Woodbridge agree with commentators that life writing is currently popular, they do not agree that this is a growth state, finding the popularity of life writing “essentially unchanged” since their previous study, which covered 1979 to the early 1990s (Feather and Reid). Australia: Nielsen BookScan 2006 and 2007 In the Australian publishing industry, where producing books remains an ‘expensive, risky endeavour which is increasingly market driven’ (Galligan 36) and ‘an inherently complex activity’ (Carter and Galligan 4), the most recent Australian Bureau of Statistics figures reveal that the total numbers of books sold in Australia has remained relatively static over the past decade (130.6 million in the financial year 1995–96 and 128.8 million in 2003–04) (ABS). During this time, however, sales volumes of non-fiction publications have grown markedly, with a trend towards “non-fiction, mass market and predictable” books (Corporall 41) resulting in general non-fiction sales in 2003–2004 outselling general fiction by factors as high as ten depending on the format—hard- or paperback, and trade or mass market paperback (ABS 2005). However, while non-fiction has increased in popularity in Australia, the same does not seem to hold true for life writing. Here, in utilising data for the top 5,000 selling non-fiction books in both 2006 and 2007, we are relying on Nielsen BookScan’s categorisation of texts as either biography or autobiography. In 2006, no works of life writing made the top 10 books sold in Australia. In looking at the top 100 books sold for 2006, in some cases the subjects of these works vary markedly from those extracted from the Amazon.com listings. In Australia in 2006, life writing makes its first appearance at number 14 with convicted drug smuggler Schapelle Corby’s My Story. This is followed by another My Story at 25, this time by retired Australian army chief, Peter Cosgrove. Jonestown: The Power and Myth of Alan Jones comes in at 34 for the Australian broadcaster’s biographer Chris Masters; the biography, The Innocent Man by John Grisham at 38 and Li Cunxin’s autobiographical Mao’s Last Dancer at 45. Australian Susan Duncan’s memoir of coping with personal loss, Salvation Creek: An Unexpected Life makes 50; bestselling USA travel writer Bill Bryson’s autobiographical memoir of his childhood The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid 69; Mandela: The Authorised Portrait by Rosalind Coward, 79; and Joanne Lees’s memoir of dealing with her kidnapping, the murder of her partner and the justice system in Australia’s Northern Territory, No Turning Back, 89. These books reveal a market preference for autobiographical writing, and an almost even split between Australian and overseas subjects in 2006. 2007 similarly saw no life writing in the top 10. The books in the top 100 sales reveal a downward trend, with fewer titles making this band overall. In 2007, Terri Irwin’s memoir of life with her famous husband, wildlife warrior Steve Irwin, My Steve, came in at number 26; musician Andrew Johns’s memoir of mental illness, The Two of Me, at 37; Ayaan Hirst Ali’s autobiography Infidel at 39; John Grogan’s biography/memoir, Marley and Me: Life and Love with the World’s Worst Dog, at 42; Sally Collings’s biography of the inspirational young survivor Sophie Delezio, Sophie’s Journey, at 51; and Elizabeth Gilbert’s hybrid food, self-help and travel memoir, Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything at 82. Mao’s Last Dancer, published the year before, remained in the top 100 in 2007 at 87. When moving to a consideration of the top 5,000 books sold in Australia in 2006, BookScan reveals only 62 books categorised as life writing in the top 1,000, and only 222 in the top 5,000 (with 34 titles between 1,000 and 1,999, 45 between 2,000 and 2,999, 48 between 3,000 and 3,999, and 33 between 4,000 and 5,000). 2007 shows a similar total of 235 life writing texts in the top 5,000 bestselling books (75 titles in the first 1,000, 27 between 1,000 and 1,999, 51 between 2,000 and 2,999, 39 between 3,000 and 3,999, and 43 between 4,000 and 5,000). In both years, 2006 and 2007, life writing thus not only constituted only some 4% of the bestselling 5,000 titles in Australia, it also showed only minimal change between these years and, therefore, no significant growth. Conclusions Our investigation using various instruments that claim to reflect levels of book sales reveals that Western readers’ willingness to purchase published life writing has not changed significantly over the past century. We find no evidence of either a short, or longer, term growth or boom in sales in such books. Instead, it appears that what has been widely heralded as a new golden age of life writing may well be more the result of an expanded understanding of what is included in the genre than an increased interest in it by either book readers or publishers. What recent years do appear to have seen, however, is a significantly increased interest by public commentators, critics, and academics in this genre of writing. We have also discovered that the issue of our current obsession with the lives of others tends to be discussed in academic as well as popular fora as if what applies to one sub-genre or production form applies to another: if biography is popular, then autobiography will also be, and vice versa. If reality television programming is attracting viewers, then readers will be flocking to life writing as well. Our investigation reveals that such propositions are questionable, and that there is significant research to be completed in mapping such audiences against each other. This work has also highlighted the difficulty of separating out the categories of written texts in publishing studies, firstly in terms of determining what falls within the category of life writing as distinct from other forms of non-fiction (the hybrid problem) and, secondly, in terms of separating out the categories within life writing. Although we have continued to use the terms biography and autobiography as sub-genres, we are aware that they are less useful as descriptors than they are often assumed to be. In order to obtain a more complete and accurate picture, publishing categories may need to be agreed upon, redefined and utilised across the publishing industry and within academia. This is of particular importance in the light of the suggestions (from total sales volumes) that the audiences for books are limited, and therefore the rise of one sub-genre may be directly responsible for the fall of another. Bair argues, for example, that in the 1980s and 1990s, the popularity of what she categorises as memoir had direct repercussions on the numbers of birth-to-death biographies that were commissioned, contracted, and published as “sales and marketing staffs conclude[d] that readers don’t want a full-scale life any more” (17). Finally, although we have highlighted the difficulty of using publishing statistics when there is no common understanding as to what such data is reporting, we hope this study shows that the utilisation of such material does add a depth to such enquiries, especially in interrogating the anecdotal evidence that is often quoted as data in publishing and other studies. Appendix 1 Publishers Weekly listings 1990–1999 1990 included two autobiographies, Bo Knows Bo by professional athlete Bo Jackson (with Dick Schaap) and Ronald Reagan’s An America Life: An Autobiography. In 1991, there were further examples of life writing with unimaginative titles, Me: Stories of My Life by Katherine Hepburn, Nancy Reagan: The Unauthorized Biography by Kitty Kelley, and Under Fire: An American Story by Oliver North with William Novak; as indeed there were again in 1992 with It Doesn’t Take a Hero: The Autobiography of Norman Schwarzkopf, Sam Walton: Made in America, the autobiography of the founder of Wal-Mart, Diana: Her True Story by Andrew Morton, Every Living Thing, yet another veterinary outpouring from James Herriot, and Truman by David McCullough. In 1993, radio shock-jock Howard Stern was successful with the autobiographical Private Parts, as was Betty Eadie with her detailed recounting of her alleged near-death experience, Embraced by the Light. Eadie’s book remained on the list in 1994 next to Don’t Stand too Close to a Naked Man, comedian Tim Allen’s autobiography. Flag-waving titles continue in 1995 with Colin Powell’s My American Journey, and Miss America, Howard Stern’s follow-up to Private Parts. 1996 saw two autobiographical works, basketball superstar Dennis Rodman’s Bad as I Wanna Be and figure-skater, Ekaterina Gordeeva’s (with EM Swift) My Sergei: A Love Story. In 1997, Diana: Her True Story returns to the top 10, joining Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes and prolific biographer Kitty Kelly’s The Royals, while in 1998, there is only the part-autobiography, part travel-writing A Pirate Looks at Fifty, by musician Jimmy Buffet. There is no biography or autobiography included in either the 1999 or 2000 top 10 lists in Publishers Weekly, nor in that for 2005. In 2001, David McCullough’s biography John Adams and Jack Welch’s business memoir Jack: Straight from the Gut featured. In 2002, Let’s Roll! Lisa Beamer’s tribute to her husband, one of the heroes of 9/11, written with Ken Abraham, joined Rudolph Giuliani’s autobiography, Leadership. 2003 saw Hillary Clinton’s autobiography Living History and Paul Burrell’s memoir of his time as Princess Diana’s butler, A Royal Duty, on the list. In 2004, it was Bill Clinton’s turn with My Life. In 2006, we find John Grisham’s true crime (arguably a biography), The Innocent Man, at the top, Grogan’s Marley and Me at number three, and the autobiographical The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama in fourth place. Appendix 2 Amazon.com listings since 2000 In 2000, there were only two auto/biographies in the top Amazon 50 bestsellers with Lance Armstrong’s It’s Not about the Bike: My Journey Back to Life about his battle with cancer at 20, and Dave Eggers’s self-consciously fictionalised memoir, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius at 32. In 2001, only the top 14 bestsellers were recorded. At number 1 is John Adams by David McCullough and, at 11, Jack: Straight from the Gut by USA golfer Jack Welch. In 2002, Leadership by Rudolph Giuliani was at 12; Master of the Senate: The Years of Lyndon Johnson by Robert Caro at 29; Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper by Patricia Cornwell at 42; Blinded by the Right: The Conscience of an Ex-Conservative by David Brock at 48; and Louis Gerstner’s autobiographical Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance: Inside IBM’s Historic Turnaround at 50. In 2003, Living History by Hillary Clinton was 7th; Benjamin Franklin: An American Life by Walter Isaacson 14th; Dereliction of Duty: The Eyewitness Account of How President Bill Clinton Endangered America’s Long-Term National Security by Robert Patterson 20th; Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith by Jon Krakauer 32nd; Leap of Faith: Memoirs of an Unexpected Life by Queen Noor of Jordan 33rd; Kate Remembered, Scott Berg’s biography of Katharine Hepburn, 37th; Who’s your Caddy?: Looping for the Great, Near Great and Reprobates of Golf by Rick Reilly 39th; The Teammates: A Portrait of a Friendship about a winning baseball team by David Halberstam 42nd; and Every Second Counts by Lance Armstrong 49th. In 2004, My Life by Bill Clinton was the best selling book of the year; American Soldier by General Tommy Franks was 16th; Kevin Phillips’s American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush 18th; Timothy Russert’s Big Russ and Me: Father and Son. Lessons of Life 20th; Tony Hendra’s Father Joe: The Man who Saved my Soul 23rd; Ron Chernow’s Alexander Hamilton 27th; co*kie Roberts’s Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised our Nation 31st; Kitty Kelley’s The Family: The Real Story of the Bush Dynasty 42nd; and Chronicles, Volume 1 by Bob Dylan was 43rd. In 2005, auto/biographical texts were well down the list with only The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion at 45 and The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeanette Walls at 49. In 2006, there was a resurgence of life writing with Nora Ephron’s I Feel Bad About My Neck: and Other Thoughts on Being a Woman at 9; Grisham’s The Innocent Man at 12; Bill Buford’s food memoir Heat: an Amateur’s Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany at 23; more food writing with Julia Child’s My Life in France at 29; Immaculée Ilibagiza’s Left to Tell: Discovering God amidst the Rwandan Holocaust at 30; CNN anchor Anderson Cooper’s Dispatches from the Edge: A Memoir of War, Disasters and Survival at 43; and Isabella Hatkoff’s Owen & Mzee: The True Story of a Remarkable Friendship (between a baby hippo and a giant tortoise) at 44. In 2007, Ishmael Beah’s discredited A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier came in at 8; Walter Isaacson’s Einstein: His Life and Universe 13; Ayaan Hirst Ali’s autobiography of her life in Muslim society, Infidel, 18; The Reagan Diaries 25; Jesus of Nazareth by Pope Benedict XVI 29; Mother Teresa: Come be my Light 36; Clapton: The Autobiography 40; Tina Brown’s The Diana Chronicles 45; Tony Dungy’s Quiet Strength: The Principles, Practices & Priorities of a Winning Life 47; and Daniel Tammet’s Born on a Blue Day: Inside the Extraordinary Mind of an Autistic Savant at 49. Acknowledgements A sincere thank you to Michael Webster at RMIT for assistance with access to Nielsen BookScan statistics, and to the reviewers of this article for their insightful comments. Any errors are, of course, our own. References Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC). “About Us.” Australian Story 2008. 1 June 2008. ‹http://www.abc.net.au/austory/aboutus.htm>. Australian Bureau of Statistics. “1363.0 Book Publishers, Australia, 2003–04.” 2005. 1 June 2008 ‹http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/1363.0>. Bair, Deirdre “Too Much S & M.” Sydney Morning Herald 10–11 Sept. 2005: 17. Basset, Troy J., and Christina M. Walter. “Booksellers and Bestsellers: British Book Sales as Documented by The Bookman, 1891–1906.” Book History 4 (2001): 205–36. Brien, Donna Lee, Leonie Rutherford, and Rosemary Williamson. “Hearth and Hotmail: The Domestic Sphere as Commodity and Community in Cyberspace.” M/C Journal 10.4 (2007). 1 June 2008 ‹http://journal.media-culture.org.au/0708/10-brien.php>. Carter, David, and Anne Galligan. “Introduction.” Making Books: Contemporary Australian Publishing. St Lucia: U of Queensland P, 2007. 1–14. Corporall, Glenda. Project Octopus: Report Commissioned by the Australian Society of Authors. Sydney: Australian Society of Authors, 1990. Dempsey, John “Biography Rewrite: A&E’s Signature Series Heads to Sib Net.” Variety 4 Jun. 2006. 1 June 2008 ‹http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117944601.html?categoryid=1238&cs=1>. Donaldson, Ian. “Matters of Life and Death: The Return of Biography.” Australian Book Review 286 (Nov. 2006): 23–29. Douglas, Kate. “‘Blurbing’ Biographical: Authorship and Autobiography.” Biography 24.4 (2001): 806–26. Eliot, Simon. “Very Necessary but not Sufficient: A Personal View of Quantitative Analysis in Book History.” Book History 5 (2002): 283–93. Feather, John, and Hazel Woodbridge. “Bestsellers in the British Book Industry.” Publishing Research Quarterly 23.3 (Sept. 2007): 210–23. Feather, JP, and M Reid. “Bestsellers and the British Book Industry.” Publishing Research Quarterly 11.1 (1995): 57–72. Galligan, Anne. “Living in the Marketplace: Publishing in the 1990s.” Publishing Studies 7 (1999): 36–44. Grossman, Lev. “Time’s Person of the Year: You.” Time 13 Dec. 2006. Online edition. 1 June 2008 ‹http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0%2C9171%2C1569514%2C00.html>. Gutjahr, Paul C. “No Longer Left Behind: Amazon.com, Reader Response, and the Changing Fortunes of the Christian Novel in America.” Book History 5 (2002): 209–36. Hamilton, Nigel. Biography: A Brief History. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 2007. Kaplan, Justin. “A Culture of Biography.” The Literary Biography: Problems and Solutions. Ed. Dale Salwak. Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1996. 1–11. Korda, Michael. Making the List: A Cultural History of the American Bestseller 1900–1999. New York: Barnes & Noble, 2001. Miller, Laura J. “The Bestseller List as Marketing Tool and Historical Fiction.” Book History 3 (2000): 286–304. Morreale, Joanne. “Revisiting The Osbournes: The Hybrid Reality-Sitcom.” Journal of Film and Video 55.1 (Spring 2003): 3–15. Rak, Julie. “Bio-Power: CBC Television’s Life & Times and A&E Network’s Biography on A&E.” LifeWriting 1.2 (2005): 1–18. Starck, Nigel. “Capturing Life—Not Death: A Case For Burying The Posthumous Parallax.” Text: The Journal of the Australian Association of Writing Programs 5.2 (2001). 1 June 2008 ‹http://www.textjournal.com.au/oct01/starck.htm>.

16

Franks, Rachel. "Cooking in the Books: Cookbooks and Cookery in Popular Fiction." M/C Journal 16, no.3 (June22, 2013). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.614.

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Introduction Food has always been an essential component of daily life. Today, thinking about food is a much more complicated pursuit than planning the next meal, with food studies scholars devoting their efforts to researching “anything pertaining to food and eating, from how food is grown to when and how it is eaten, to who eats it and with whom, and the nutritional quality” (Duran and MacDonald 234). This is in addition to the work undertaken by an increasingly wide variety of popular culture researchers who explore all aspects of food (Risson and Brien 3): including food advertising, food packaging, food on television, and food in popular fiction. In creating stories, from those works that quickly disappear from bookstore shelves to those that become entrenched in the literary canon, writers use food to communicate the everyday and to explore a vast range of ideas from cultural background to social standing, and also use food to provide perspectives “into the cultural and historical uniqueness of a given social group” (Piatti-Farnell 80). For example in Oliver Twist (1838) by Charles Dickens, the central character challenges the class system when: “Child as he was, he was desperate with hunger and reckless with misery. He rose from the table, and advancing basin and spoon in hand, to the master, said, somewhat alarmed at his own temerity–‘Please, sir, I want some more’” (11). Scarlett O’Hara in Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind (1936) makes a similar point, a little more dramatically, when she declares: “As God is my witness, I’m never going to be hungry again” (419). Food can also take us into the depths of another culture: places that many of us will only ever read about. Food is also used to provide insight into a character’s state of mind. In Nora Ephron’s Heartburn (1983) an item as simple as boiled bread tells a reader so much more about Rachel Samstat than her preferred bakery items: “So we got married and I got pregnant and I gave up my New York apartment and moved to Washington. Talk about mistakes [...] there I was, trying to hold up my end in a city where you can’t even buy a decent bagel” (34). There are three ways in which writers can deal with food within their work. Firstly, food can be totally ignored. This approach is sometimes taken despite food being such a standard feature of storytelling that its absence, be it a lonely meal at home, elegant canapés at an impressively catered co*cktail party, or a cheap sandwich collected from a local café, is an obvious omission. Food can also add realism to a story, with many authors putting as much effort into conjuring the smell, taste, and texture of food as they do into providing a backstory and a purpose for their characters. In recent years, a third way has emerged with some writers placing such importance upon food in fiction that the line that divides the cookbook and the novel has become distorted. This article looks at cookbooks and cookery in popular fiction with a particular focus on crime novels. Recipes: Ingredients and Preparation Food in fiction has been employed, with great success, to help characters cope with grief; giving them the reassurance that only comes through the familiarity of the kitchen and the concentration required to fulfil routine tasks: to chop and dice, to mix, to sift and roll, to bake, broil, grill, steam, and fry. Such grief can come from the breakdown of a relationship as seen in Nora Ephron’s Heartburn (1983). An autobiography under the guise of fiction, this novel is the first-person story of a cookbook author, a description that irritates the narrator as she feels her works “aren’t merely cookbooks” (95). She is, however, grateful she was not described as “a distraught, rejected, pregnant cookbook author whose husband was in love with a giantess” (95). As the collapse of the marriage is described, her favourite recipes are shared: Bacon Hash; Four Minute Eggs; Toasted Almonds; Lima Beans with Pears; Linguine Alla Cecca; Pot Roast; three types of Potatoes; Sorrel Soup; desserts including Bread Pudding, Cheesecake, Key Lime Pie and Peach Pie; and a Vinaigrette, all in an effort to reassert her personal skills and thus personal value. Grief can also result from loss of hope and the realisation that a life long dreamed of will never be realised. Like Water for Chocolate (1989), by Laura Esquivel, is the magical realist tale of Tita De La Garza who, as the youngest daughter, is forbidden to marry as she must take care of her mother, a woman who: “Unquestionably, when it came to dividing, dismantling, dismembering, desolating, detaching, dispossessing, destroying or dominating […] was a pro” (87). Tita’s life lurches from one painful, unjust episode to the next; the only emotional stability she has comes from the kitchen, and from her cooking of a series of dishes: Christmas Rolls; Chabela Wedding Cake; Quail in Rose Petal Sauce; Turkey Mole; Northern-style Chorizo; Oxtail Soup; Champandongo; Chocolate and Three Kings’s Day Bread; Cream Fritters; and Beans with Chilli Tezcucana-style. This is a series of culinary-based activities that attempts to superimpose normalcy on a life that is far from the everyday. Grief is most commonly associated with death. Undertaking the selection, preparation and presentation of meals in novels dealing with bereavement is both a functional and symbolic act: life must go on for those left behind but it must go on in a very different way. Thus, novels that use food to deal with loss are particularly important because they can “make non-cooks believe they can cook, and for frequent cooks, affirm what they already know: that cooking heals” (Baltazar online). In Angelina’s Bachelors (2011) by Brian O’Reilly, Angelina D’Angelo believes “cooking was not just about food. It was about character” (2). By the end of the first chapter the young woman’s husband is dead and she is in the kitchen looking for solace, and survival, in cookery. In The Kitchen Daughter (2011) by Jael McHenry, Ginny Selvaggio is struggling to cope with the death of her parents and the friends and relations who crowd her home after the funeral. Like Angelina, Ginny retreats to the kitchen. There are, of course, exceptions. In Ntozake Shange’s Sassafrass, Cypress & Indigo (1982), cooking celebrates, comforts, and seduces (Calta). This story of three sisters from South Carolina is told through diary entries, narrative, letters, poetry, songs, and spells. Recipes are also found throughout the text: Turkey; Marmalade; Rice; Spinach; Crabmeat; Fish; Sweetbread; Duck; Lamb; and, Asparagus. Anthony Capella’s The Food of Love (2004), a modern retelling of the classic tale of Cyrano de Bergerac, is about the beautiful Laura, a waiter masquerading as a top chef Tommaso, and the talented Bruno who, “thick-set, heavy, and slightly awkward” (21), covers for Tommaso’s incompetency in the kitchen as he, too, falls for Laura. The novel contains recipes and contains considerable information about food: Take fusilli […] People say this pasta was designed by Leonardo da Vinci himself. The spiral fins carry the biggest amount of sauce relative to the surface area, you see? But it only works with a thick, heavy sauce that can cling to the grooves. Conchiglie, on the other hand, is like a shell, so it holds a thin, liquid sauce inside it perfectly (17). Recipes: Dishing Up Death Crime fiction is a genre with a long history of focusing on food; from the theft of food in the novels of the nineteenth century to the utilisation of many different types of food such as chocolate, marmalade, and sweet omelettes to administer poison (Berkeley, Christie, Sayers), the latter vehicle for arsenic receiving much attention in Harriet Vane’s trial in Dorothy L. Sayers’s Strong Poison (1930). The Judge, in summing up the case, states to the members of the jury: “Four eggs were brought to the table in their shells, and Mr Urquhart broke them one by one into a bowl, adding sugar from a sifter [...he then] cooked the omelette in a chafing dish, filled it with hot jam” (14). Prior to what Timothy Taylor has described as the “pre-foodie era” the crime fiction genre was “littered with corpses whose last breaths smelled oddly sweet, or bitter, or of almonds” (online). Of course not all murders are committed in such a subtle fashion. In Roald Dahl’s Lamb to the Slaughter (1953), Mary Maloney murders her policeman husband, clubbing him over the head with a frozen leg of lamb. The meat is roasting nicely when her husband’s colleagues arrive to investigate his death, the lamb is offered and consumed: the murder weapon now beyond the recovery of investigators. Recent years have also seen more and more crime fiction writers present a central protagonist working within the food industry, drawing connections between the skills required for food preparation and those needed to catch a murderer. Working with cooks or crooks, or both, requires planning and people skills in addition to creative thinking, dedication, reliability, stamina, and a willingness to take risks. Kent Carroll insists that “food and mysteries just go together” (Carroll in Calta), with crime fiction website Stop, You’re Killing Me! listing, at the time of writing, over 85 culinary-based crime fiction series, there is certainly sufficient evidence to support his claim. Of the numerous works available that focus on food there are many series that go beyond featuring food and beverages, to present recipes as well as the solving of crimes. These include: the Candy Holliday Murder Mysteries by B. B. Haywood; the Coffeehouse Mysteries by Cleo Coyle; the Hannah Swensen Mysteries by Joanne Fluke; the Hemlock Falls Mysteries by Claudia Bishop; the Memphis BBQ Mysteries by Riley Adams; the Piece of Cake Mysteries by Jacklyn Brady; the Tea Shop Mysteries by Laura Childs; and, the White House Chef Mysteries by Julie Hyzy. The vast majority of offerings within this female dominated sub-genre that has been labelled “Crime and Dine” (Collins online) are American, both in origin and setting. A significant contribution to this increasingly popular formula is, however, from an Australian author Kerry Greenwood. Food features within her famed Phryne Fisher Series with recipes included in A Question of Death (2007). Recipes also form part of Greenwood’s food-themed collection of short crime stories Recipes for Crime (1995), written with Jenny Pausacker. These nine stories, each one imitating the style of one of crime fiction’s greatest contributors (from Agatha Christie to Raymond Chandler), allow readers to simultaneously access mysteries and recipes. 2004 saw the first publication of Earthly Delights and the introduction of her character, Corinna Chapman. This series follows the adventures of a woman who gave up a career as an accountant to open her own bakery in Melbourne. Corinna also investigates the occasional murder. Recipes can be found at the end of each of these books with the Corinna Chapman Recipe Book (nd), filled with instructions for baking bread, muffins and tea cakes in addition to recipes for main courses such as risotto, goulash, and “Chicken with Pineapple 1971 Style”, available from the publisher’s website. Recipes: Integration and Segregation In Heartburn (1983), Rachel acknowledges that presenting a work of fiction and a collection of recipes within a single volume can present challenges, observing: “I see that I haven’t managed to work in any recipes for a while. It’s hard to work in recipes when you’re moving the plot forward” (99). How Rachel tells her story is, however, a reflection of how she undertakes her work, with her own cookbooks being, she admits, more narration than instruction: “The cookbooks I write do well. They’re very personal and chatty–they’re cookbooks in an almost incidental way. I write chapters about friends or relatives or trips or experiences, and work in the recipes peripherally” (17). Some authors integrate detailed recipes into their narratives through description and dialogue. An excellent example of this approach can be found in the Coffeehouse Mystery Series by Cleo Coyle, in the novel On What Grounds (2003). When the central protagonist is being questioned by police, Clare Cosi’s answers are interrupted by a flashback scene and instructions on how to make Greek coffee: Three ounces of water and one very heaped teaspoon of dark roast coffee per serving. (I used half Italian roast, and half Maracaibo––a lovely Venezuelan coffee, named after the country’s major port; rich in flavour, with delicate wine overtones.) / Water and finely ground beans both go into the ibrik together. The water is then brought to a boil over medium heat (37). This provides insight into Clare’s character; that, when under pressure, she focuses her mind on what she firmly believes to be true – not the information that she is doubtful of or a situation that she is struggling to understand. Yet breaking up the action within a novel in this way–particularly within crime fiction, a genre that is predominantly dependant upon generating tension and building the pacing of the plotting to the climax–is an unusual but ultimately successful style of writing. Inquiry and instruction are comfortable bedfellows; as the central protagonists within these works discover whodunit, the readers discover who committed murder as well as a little bit more about one of the world’s most popular beverages, thus highlighting how cookbooks and novels both serve to entertain and to educate. Many authors will save their recipes, serving them up at the end of a story. This can be seen in Julie Hyzy’s White House Chef Mystery novels, the cover of each volume in the series boasts that it “includes Recipes for a Complete Presidential Menu!” These menus, with detailed ingredients lists, instructions for cooking and options for serving, are segregated from the stories and appear at the end of each work. Yet other writers will deploy a hybrid approach such as the one seen in Like Water for Chocolate (1989), where the ingredients are listed at the commencement of each chapter and the preparation for the recipes form part of the narrative. This method of integration is also deployed in The Kitchen Daughter (2011), which sees most of the chapters introduced with a recipe card, those chapters then going on to deal with action in the kitchen. Using recipes as chapter breaks is a structure that has, very recently, been adopted by Australian celebrity chef, food writer, and, now fiction author, Ed Halmagyi, in his new work, which is both cookbook and novel, The Food Clock: A Year of Cooking Seasonally (2012). As people exchange recipes in reality, so too do fictional characters. The Recipe Club (2009), by Andrea Israel and Nancy Garfinkel, is the story of two friends, Lilly Stone and Valerie Rudman, which is structured as an epistolary novel. As they exchange feelings, ideas and news in their correspondence, they also exchange recipes: over eighty of them throughout the novel in e-mails and letters. In The Food of Love (2004), written messages between two of the main characters are also used to share recipes. In addition, readers are able to post their own recipes, inspired by this book and other works by Anthony Capella, on the author’s website. From Page to Plate Some readers are contributing to the burgeoning food tourism market by seeking out the meals from the pages of their favourite novels in bars, cafés, and restaurants around the world, expanding the idea of “map as menu” (Spang 79). In Shannon McKenna Schmidt’s and Joni Rendon’s guide to literary tourism, Novel Destinations (2009), there is an entire section, “Eat Your Words: Literary Places to Sip and Sup”, dedicated to beverages and food. The listings include details for John’s Grill, in San Francisco, which still has on the menu Sam Spade’s Lamb Chops, served with baked potato and sliced tomatoes: a meal enjoyed by author Dashiell Hammett and subsequently consumed by his well-known protagonist in The Maltese Falcon (193), and the Café de la Paix, in Paris, frequented by Ian Fleming’s James Bond because “the food was good enough and it amused him to watch the people” (197). Those wanting to follow in the footsteps of writers can go to Harry’s Bar, in Venice, where the likes of Marcel Proust, Sinclair Lewis, Somerset Maugham, Ernest Hemingway, and Truman Capote have all enjoyed a drink (195) or The Eagle and Child, in Oxford, which hosted the regular meetings of the Inklings––a group which included C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien––in the wood-panelled Rabbit Room (203). A number of eateries have developed their own literary themes such as the Peaco*cks Tearooms, in Cambridgeshire, which blends their own teas. Readers who are also tea drinkers can indulge in the Sherlock Holmes (Earl Grey with Lapsang Souchong) and the Doctor Watson (Keemun and Darjeeling with Lapsang Souchong). Alternatively, readers may prefer to side with the criminal mind and indulge in the Moriarty (Black Chai with Star Anise, Pepper, Cinnamon, and Fennel) (Peaco*cks). The Moat Bar and Café, in Melbourne, situated in the basem*nt of the State Library of Victoria, caters “to the whimsy and fantasy of the fiction housed above” and even runs a book exchange program (The Moat). For those readers who are unable, or unwilling, to travel the globe in search of such savoury and sweet treats there is a wide variety of locally-based literary lunches and other meals, that bring together popular authors and wonderful food, routinely organised by book sellers, literature societies, and publishing houses. There are also many cookbooks now easily obtainable that make it possible to re-create fictional food at home. One of the many examples available is The Book Lover’s Cookbook (2003) by Shaunda Kennedy Wenger and Janet Kay Jensen, a work containing over three hundred pages of: Breakfasts; Main & Side Dishes; Soups; Salads; Appetizers, Breads & Other Finger Foods; Desserts; and Cookies & Other Sweets based on the pages of children’s books, literary classics, popular fiction, plays, poetry, and proverbs. If crime fiction is your preferred genre then you can turn to Jean Evans’s The Crime Lover’s Cookbook (2007), which features short stories in between the pages of recipes. There is also Estérelle Payany’s Recipe for Murder (2010) a beautifully illustrated volume that presents detailed instructions for Pigs in a Blanket based on the Big Bad Wolf’s appearance in The Three Little Pigs (44–7), and Roast Beef with Truffled Mashed Potatoes, which acknowledges Patrick Bateman’s fondness for fine dining in Bret Easton Ellis’s American Psycho (124–7). Conclusion Cookbooks and many popular fiction novels are reflections of each other in terms of creativity, function, and structure. In some instances the two forms are so closely entwined that a single volume will concurrently share a narrative while providing information about, and instruction, on cookery. Indeed, cooking in books is becoming so popular that the line that traditionally separated cookbooks from other types of books, such as romance or crime novels, is becoming increasingly distorted. The separation between food and fiction is further blurred by food tourism and how people strive to experience some of the foods found within fictional works at bars, cafés, and restaurants around the world or, create such experiences in their own homes using fiction-themed recipe books. Food has always been acknowledged as essential for life; books have long been acknowledged as food for thought and food for the soul. Thus food in both the real world and in the imagined world serves to nourish and sustain us in these ways. References Adams, Riley. Delicious and Suspicious. New York: Berkley, 2010. –– Finger Lickin’ Dead. New York: Berkley, 2011. –– Hickory Smoked Homicide. New York: Berkley, 2011. Baltazar, Lori. “A Novel About Food, Recipes Included [Book review].” Dessert Comes First. 28 Feb. 2012. 20 Aug. 2012 ‹http://dessertcomesfirst.com/archives/8644›. Berkeley, Anthony. The Poisoned Chocolates Case. London: Collins, 1929. Bishop, Claudia. Toast Mortem. New York: Berkley, 2010. –– Dread on Arrival. New York: Berkley, 2012. Brady, Jacklyn. A Sheetcake Named Desire. New York: Berkley, 2011. –– Cake on a Hot Tin Roof. New York: Berkley, 2012. Calta, Marialisa. “The Art of the Novel as Cookbook.” The New York Times. 17 Feb. 1993. 23 Jul. 2012 ‹http://www.nytimes.com/1993/02/17/style/the-art-of-the-novel-as-cookbook.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm›. Capella, Anthony. The Food of Love. London: Time Warner, 2004/2005. Carroll, Kent in Calta, Marialisa. “The Art of the Novel as Cookbook.” The New York Times. 17 Feb. 1993. 23 Jul. 2012 ‹http://www.nytimes.com/1993/02/17/style/the-art-of-the-novel-as-cookbook.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm›. Childs, Laura. Death by Darjeeling. New York: Berkley, 2001. –– Shades of Earl Grey. New York: Berkley, 2003. –– Blood Orange Brewing. New York: Berkley, 2006/2007. –– The Teaberry Strangler. New York: Berkley, 2010/2011. Collins, Glenn. “Your Favourite Fictional Crime Moments Involving Food.” The New York Times Diner’s Journal: Notes on Eating, Drinking and Cooking. 16 Jul. 2012. 17 Jul. 2012 ‹http://dinersjournal.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/16/your-favorite-fictional-crime-moments-involving-food›. Coyle, Cleo. On What Grounds. New York: Berkley, 2003. –– Murder Most Frothy. New York: Berkley, 2006. –– Holiday Grind. New York: Berkley, 2009/2010. –– Roast Mortem. New York: Berkley, 2010/2011. Christie, Agatha. A Pocket Full of Rye. London: Collins, 1953. Dahl, Roald. Lamb to the Slaughter: A Roald Dahl Short Story. New York: Penguin, 1953/2012. eBook. Dickens, Charles. Oliver Twist, or, the Parish Boy’s Progress. In Collection of Ancient and Modern British Authors, Vol. CCXXIX. Paris: Baudry’s European Library, 1838/1839. Duran, Nancy, and Karen MacDonald. “Information Sources for Food Studies Research.” Food, Culture and Society: An International Journal of Multidisciplinary Research 2.9 (2006): 233–43. Ephron, Nora. Heartburn. New York: Vintage, 1983/1996. Esquivel, Laura. Trans. Christensen, Carol, and Thomas Christensen. Like Water for Chocolate: A Novel in Monthly Instalments with Recipes, romances and home remedies. London: Black Swan, 1989/1993. Evans, Jeanne M. The Crime Lovers’s Cookbook. City: Happy Trails, 2007. Fluke, Joanne. Fudge Cupcake Murder. New York: Kensington, 2004. –– Key Lime Pie Murder. New York: Kensington, 2007. –– Cream Puff Murder. New York: Kensington, 2009. –– Apple Turnover Murder. New York: Kensington, 2010. Greenwood, Kerry, and Jenny Pausacker. Recipes for Crime. Carlton: McPhee Gribble, 1995. Greenwood, Kerry. The Corinna Chapman Recipe Book: Mouth-Watering Morsels to Make Your Man Melt, Recipes from Corinna Chapman, Baker and Reluctant Investigator. nd. 25 Aug. 2012 ‹http://www.allenandunwin.com/_uploads/documents/minisites/Corinna_recipebook.pdf›. –– A Question of Death: An Illustrated Phryne Fisher Treasury. Crows Nest: Allen & Unwin, 2007. Halmagyi, Ed. The Food Clock: A Year of Cooking Seasonally. Sydney: Harper Collins, 2012. Haywood, B. B. Town in a Blueberry Jam. New York: Berkley, 2010. –– Town in a Lobster Stew. New York: Berkley, 2011. –– Town in a Wild Moose Chase. New York: Berkley, 2012. Hyzy, Julie. State of the Onion. New York: Berkley, 2008. –– Hail to the Chef. New York: Berkley, 2008. –– Eggsecutive Orders. New York: Berkley, 2010. –– Buffalo West Wing. New York: Berkley, 2011. –– Affairs of Steak. New York: Berkley, 2012. Israel, Andrea, and Nancy Garfinkel, with Melissa Clark. The Recipe Club: A Novel About Food And Friendship. New York: HarperCollins, 2009. McHenry, Jael. The Kitchen Daughter: A Novel. New York: Gallery, 2011. Mitchell, Margaret. Gone With the Wind. London: Pan, 1936/1974 O’Reilly, Brian, with Virginia O’Reilly. Angelina’s Bachelors: A Novel, with Food. New York: Gallery, 2011. Payany, Estérelle. Recipe for Murder: Frightfully Good Food Inspired by Fiction. Paris: Flammarion, 2010. Peaco*cks Tearooms. Peaco*cks Tearooms: Our Unique Selection of Teas. 23 Aug. 2012 ‹http://www.peaco*ckstearoom.co.uk/teas/page1.asp›. Piatti-Farnell, Lorna. “A Taste of Conflict: Food, History and Popular Culture In Katherine Mansfield’s Fiction.” Australasian Journal of Popular Culture 2.1 (2012): 79–91. Risson, Toni, and Donna Lee Brien. “Editors’ Letter: That Takes the Cake: A Slice Of Australasian Food Studies Scholarship.” Australasian Journal of Popular Culture 2.1 (2012): 3–7. Sayers, Dorothy L. Strong Poison. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1930/2003. Schmidt, Shannon McKenna, and Joni Rendon. Novel Destinations: Literary Landmarks from Jane Austen’s Bath to Ernest Hemingway’s Key West. Washington, DC: National Geographic, 2009. Shange, Ntozake. Sassafrass, Cypress and Indigo: A Novel. New York: St Martin’s, 1982. Spang, Rebecca L. “All the World’s A Restaurant: On The Global Gastronomics Of Tourism and Travel.” In Raymond Grew (Ed). Food in Global History. Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1999. 79–91. Taylor, Timothy. “Food/Crime Fiction.” Timothy Taylor. 2010. 17 Jul. 2012 ‹http://www.timothytaylor.ca/10/08/20/foodcrime-fiction›. The Moat Bar and Café. The Moat Bar and Café: Welcome. nd. 23 Aug. 2012 ‹http://themoat.com.au/Welcome.html›. Wenger, Shaunda Kennedy, and Janet Kay Jensen. The Book Lover’s Cookbook: Recipes Inspired by Celebrated Works of Literature, and the Passages that Feature Them. New York: Ballantine, 2003/2005.

17

Richardson, Nicholas. "Wandering a Metro: Actor-Network Theory Research and Rapid Rail Infrastructure Communication." M/C Journal 22, no.4 (August14, 2019). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.1560.

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IntroductionI have been studying the creation of Metro style train travel in Sydney for over a decade. My focus has been on the impact that media has had on the process (see Richardson, “Curatorial”; “Upheaval”; “Making”). Through extensive expert, public, and media research, I have investigated the coalitions and alliances that have formed (and disintegrated) between political, bureaucratic, news media, and public actors and the influences at work within these actor-networks. As part of this project, I visited an underground Métro turning fifty in Montreal, Canada. After many years studying the development of a train that wasn’t yet tangible, I wanted to ask a functional train the simple ethnomethodological/Latourian style question, “what do you do for a city and its people?” (de Vries). Therefore, in addition to research conducted in Montreal, I spent ten days wandering through many of the entrances, tunnels, staircases, escalators, mezzanines, platforms, doorways, and carriages of which the Métro system consists. The purpose was to observe the train in situ in order to broaden potential conceptualisations of what a train does for a city such as Montreal, with a view of improving the ideas and messages that would be used to “sell” future rapid rail projects in other cities such as Sydney. This article outlines a selection of the pathways wandered, not only to illustrate the power of social research based on physical wandering, but also the potential power the metaphorical and conceptual wandering an Actor-Network Theory (ANT) assemblage affords social research for media communications.Context, Purpose, and ApproachANT is a hybrid theory/method for studying an arena of the social, such as the significance of a train to a city like Montreal. This type of study is undertaken by following the actors (Latour, Reassembling 12). In ANT, actors do something, as the term suggests. These actions have affects and effects. These might be contrived and deliberate influences or completely circ*mstantial and accidental impacts. Actors can be people as we are most commonly used to understanding them, and they can also be texts, technological devices, software programs, natural phenomena, or random occurrences. Most significantly though, actors are their “relations” (Harman 17). This means that they are only present if they are relating to others. These relations and the resulting influences and impacts are called networks. A network in the ANT sense is not as simple as the lines that connect train stations on a rail map. Without actions, relations, influences, and impacts, there are no actors. Hence the hyphen in actor-network; the actor and the network are symbiotic. The network, rendered visible through actor associations, consists of the tenuous connections that “shuttle back and forth” between actors even in spite of the fact their areas of knowledge and reality may be completely separate (Latour Modern 3). ANT, therefore, may be considered an empirical practice of tracing the actors and the network of influences and impacts that they both help to shape and are themselves shaped by. To do this, central ANT theorist Bruno Latour employs a simple research question: “what do you do?” This is because in the process of doing, somebody or something is observed to be affecting other people or things and an actor-network becomes identifiable. Latour later learned that his approach shared many parallels with ethnomethodology. This was a discovery that more concretely set the trajectory of his work away from a social science that sought explanations “about why something happens, to ontological ones, that is, questions about what is going on” (de Vries). So, in order to make sense of people’s actions and relations, the focus of research became asking the deceptively simple question while refraining as much as possible “from offering descriptions and explanations of actions in terms of schemes taught in social theory classes” (14).In answering this central ANT question, studies typically wander in a metaphorical sense through an array or assemblage (Law) of research methods such as formal and informal interviews, ethnographic style observation, as well as the content analysis of primary and secondary texts (see Latour, Aramis). These were the methods adopted for my Montreal research—in addition to fifteen in-depth expert and public interviews conducted in October 2017, ten days were spent physically wandering and observing the train in action. I hoped that in understanding what the train does for the city and its people, the actor-network within which the train is situated would be revealed. Of course, “what do you do?” is a very broad question. It requires context. In following the influence of news media in the circuitous development of rapid rail transit in Sydney, I have been struck by the limited tropes through which the potential for rapid rail is discussed. These tropes focus on technological, functional, and/or operational aspects (see Budd; Faruqi; Hasham), costs, funding and return on investment (see Martin and O’Sullivan; Saulwick), and the potential to alleviate peak hour congestion (see Clennell; West). As an expert respondent in my Sydney research, a leading Australian architect and planner, states, “How boring and unexciting […] I mean in Singapore it is the most exciting […] the trains are fantastic […] that wasn’t sold to the [Sydney] public.” So, the purpose of the Montreal research is to expand conceptualisations of the potential for rapid rail infrastructure to influence a city and improve communications used to sell projects in the future, as well as to test the role of both physical and metaphorical ANT style wanderings in doing so. Montreal was chosen for three reasons. First, the Métro had recently turned fifty, which made the comparison between the fledgling and mature systems topical. Second, the Métro was preceded by decades of media discussion (Gilbert and Poitras), which parallels the development of rapid transit in Sydney. Finally, a different architect designed each station and most stations feature art installations (Magder). Therefore, the Métro appeared to have transcended the aforementioned functional and numerically focused tropes used to justify the Sydney system. Could such a train be considered a long-term success?Wandering and PathwaysIn ten days I rode the Montreal Métro from end to end. I stopped at all the stations. I wandered around. I treated wandering not just as a physical research activity, but also as an illustrative metaphor for an assemblage of research practices. This assemblage culminates in testimony, anecdotes, stories, and descriptions through which an actor-network may be glimpsed. Of course, it is incomplete—what I have outlined below represents only a few pathways. However, to think that an actor-network can ever be traversed in its entirety is to miss the point. Completion is a fallacy. Wandering doesn’t end at a finish line. There are always pathways left untrodden. I have attempted not to overanalyse. I have left contradictions unresolved. I have avoided the temptation to link paths through tenuous byways. Some might consider that I have meandered, but an actor-network is never linear. I can only hope that my wanderings, as curtailed as they may be, prove nuanced, colourful, and rich—if not compelling. ANT encourages us to rethink social research (Latour, Reassembling). Central to this is acknowledging (and becoming comfortable with) our own role as researcher in the illumination of the actor-network itself.Here are some of the Montreal pathways wandered:First Impressions I arrive at Montreal airport late afternoon. The apartment I have rented is conveniently located between two Métro stations—Mont Royal and Sherbrooke. I use my phone and seek directions by public transport. To my surprise, the only option is the bus. Too tired to work out connections, I decide instead to follow the signs to the taxi rank. Here, I queue. We are underway twenty minutes later. Travelling around peak traffic, we move from one traffic jam to the next. The trip is slow. Finally ensconced in the apartment, I reflect on how different the trip into Montreal had been, from what I had envisaged. The Métro I had travelled to visit was conspicuous in its total absence.FloatingIt is a feeling of floating that first strikes me when riding the Métro. It runs on rubber tyres. The explanation for the choice of this technology differs. There are reports that it was the brainchild of strong-willed mayor, Jean Drapeau, who believed the new technology would showcase Montreal as a modern world-scale metropolis (Gilbert and Poitras). However, John Martins-Manteiga provides a less romantic account, stating that the decision was made because tyres were cheaper (47). I assume the rubber tyres create the floating sensation. Add to this the famous warmth of the system (Magder; Hazan, Hot) and it has a thoroughly calming, even lulling, effect.Originally, I am planning to spend two whole days riding the Métro in its entirety. I make handwritten notes. On the first day, at mid-morning, nausea develops. I am suffering motion sickness. This is a surprise. I have always been fine to read and write on trains, unlike in a car or bus. It causes a moment of realisation. I am effectively riding a bus. This is an unexpected side-effect. My research program changes—I ride for a maximum of two hours at a time and my note taking becomes more circ*mspect. The train as actor is influencing the research program and the data being recorded in unexpected ways. ArtThe stained-glass collage at Berri-Uquam, by Pierre Gaboriau and Pierre Osterrath, is grand in scale, intricately detailed and beautiful. It sits above the tunnel from which the trains enter and leave the platform. It somehow seems wholly connected to the train as a result—it frames and announces arrivals and departures. Other striking pieces include the colourful, tiled circles from the mezzanine above the platform at station Peel and the beautiful stained-glass panels on the escalator at station Charlevoix. As a public respondent visiting from Chicago contends, “I just got a sense of exploration—that I wanted to have a look around”.Urban FormAn urban planner asserts that the Métro is responsible for the identity and diversity of urban culture that Montreal is famous for. As everyone cannot live right above a Métro station, there are streets around stations where people walk to the train. As there is less need for cars, these streets are made friendlier for walkers, precipitating a cycle. Furthermore, pedestrian-friendly streets promote local village style commerce such as shops, cafes, bars, and restaurants. So, there is not only more access on foot, but also more incentive to access. The walking that the Métro induces improves the dynamism and social aspects of neighbourhoods, a by-product of which is a distinct urban form and culture for different pockets of the city. The actor-network broadens. In following the actors, I now have to wander beyond the physical limits of the system itself. The streets I walk around station Mont Royal are shopping and restaurant strips, rich with foot traffic at all times of day; it is a vibrant and enticing place to wander.Find DiningThe popular MTL blog published a map of the best restaurants the Métro provides access to (Hazan, Restaurant).ArchitectureStation De La Savane resembles a retro medieval dungeon. It evokes thoughts of the television series Game of Thrones. Art and architecture work in perfect harmony. The sculpture in the foyer by Maurice Lemieux resembles a deconstructed metal mace hanging on a brutalist concrete wall. It towers above a grand staircase and abuts a fence that might ring a medieval keep. Up close I realise it is polished, precisely cut cylindrical steel. A modern fence referencing another time and place. Descending to the platform, craggy concrete walls are pitted with holes. I get the sense of peering through these into the hidden chambers of a crypt. Overlaying all of this is a strikingly modern series of regular and irregular, bold vertical striations cut deeply into the concrete. They run from floor to ceiling to add to a cathedral-like sense of scale. It’s warming to think that such a whimsical train station exists anywhere in the world. Time WarpA public respondent describes the Métro:It’s a little bit like a time machine. It’s a piece of the past and piece of history […] still alive now. I think that it brings art or form or beauty into everyday life. […] You’re going from one place to the next, but because of the history and the story of it you could stop and breathe and take it in a little bit more.Hold ups and HostagesA frustrated General Manager of a transport advocacy group states in an interview:Two minutes of stopping in the Métro is like Armageddon in Montreal—you see it on every media, on every smartphone [...] We are so captive in the Métro [there is a] loss of control.Further, a transport modelling expert asserts:You’re a hostage when you’re in transportation. If the Métro goes out, then you really are stuck. Unfortunately, it does go out often enough. If you lose faith in a mode of transportation, it’s going to be very hard to get you back.CommutingIt took me a good week before I started to notice how tired some of the Métro stations had grown. I felt my enthusiasm dip when I saw the estimated arrival time lengthen on the electronic noticeboard. Anger rose as a young man pushed past me from behind to get out of a train before I had a chance to exit. These tendrils of the actor-network were not evident to me in the first few days. Most interview respondents state that after a period of time passengers take less notice of the interesting and artistic aspects of the Métro. They become commuters. Timeliness and consistency become the most important aspects of the system.FinaleI deliberately visit station Champ-de-Mars last. Photos convince me that I am going to end my Métro exploration with an experience to savour. The station entry and gallery is iconic. Martins-Manteiga writes, “The stained-glass artwork by Marcelle Ferron is almost a religious experience; it floods in and splashes down below” (306). My timing is off though. On this day, the soaring stained-glass windows are mostly hidden behind protective wadding. The station is undergoing restoration. Travelling for the last time back towards station Mont Royal, my mood lightens. Although I had been anticipating this station for some time, in many respects this is a revealing conclusion to my Métro wanderings.What Do You Do?When asked what the train does, many respondents took a while to answer or began with common tropes around moving people. As a transport project manager asserts, “in the world of public transport, the perfect trip is the one you don’t notice”. A journalist gives the most considered and interesting answer. He contends:I think it would say, “I hold the city together culturally, economically, physically, logistically—that’s what I do […] I’m the connective tissue of this city”. […] How else do you describe infrastructure that connects poor neighbourhoods to rich neighbourhoods, downtown to outlying areas, that supports all sorts of businesses both inside it and immediately adjacent to it and has created these axes around the city that pull in almost everybody [...] And of course, everyone takes it for granted […] We get pissed off when it’s late.ConclusionNo matter how real a transportation system may be, it can always be made a little less real. Today, for example, the Paris metro is on strike for the third week in a row. Millions of Parisians are learning to get along without it, by taking their cars or walking […] You see? These enormous hundred-year-old technological monsters are no more real than the four-year-old Aramis is unreal: They all need allies, friends […] There’s no inertia, no irreversibility; there’s no autonomy to keep them alive. (Latour, Aramis 86)Through ANT-based physical and metaphorical wanderings, we find many pathways that illuminate what a train does. We learn from various actors in the actor-network through which the train exists. We seek out its “allies” and “friends”. We wander, piecing together as much of the network as we can. The Métro does lots of things. It has many influences and it influences many. It is undeniably an actor in an actor-network. Transport planners would like it to appear seamless—commuters entering and leaving without really noticing the in-between. And sometimes it appears this way. However, when the commuter is delayed, this appearance is shattered. If a signal fails or an engine falters, the Métro, through a process mediated by word of mouth and/or social and mainstream media, is suddenly rendered tired and obsolete. Or is it historic and quaint? Is the train a technical problem for the city of Montreal or is it characterful and integral to the city’s identity? It is all these things and many more. The actor-network is illusive and elusive. Pathways are extensive. The train floats. The train is late. The train makes us walk. The train has seeded many unique villages, much loved. The train is broken. The train is healthy for its age. The train is all that is right with Montreal. The train is all that is wrong with Montreal. The artwork and architecture mean nothing. The artwork and architecture mean everything. Is the train overly limited by the tyres that keep it underground? Of course, it is. Of course, it isn’t. Does 50 years of history matter? Of course, it does. Of course, it doesn’t. It thrives. It’s tired. It connects. It divides. It’s functional. It’s dirty. It’s beautiful. It’s something to be proud of. It’s embarrassing. A train offers many complex and fascinating pathways. It is never simply an object; it lives and breathes in the network because we live and breathe around it. It stops being effective. It starts becoming affective. Sydney must learn from this. My wanderings demonstrate that the Métro cannot be extricated from what Montreal has become over the last half century. In May 2019, Sydney finally opened its first Metro rail link. And yet, this link and other ongoing metro projects continue to be discussed through statistics and practicalities (Sydney Metro). This offers no affective sense of the pathways that are, and will one day be, created. By selecting and appropriating relevant pathways from cities such as Montreal, and through our own wanderings and imaginings, we can make projections of what a train will do for a city like Sydney. We can project a rich and vibrant actor-network through the media in more emotive and powerful ways. Or, can we not at least supplement the economic, functional, or technocratic accounts with other wanderings? Of course, we can’t. Of course, we can. ReferencesBudd, Henry. “Single-Deck Trains in North West Rail Link.” The Daily Telegraph 20 Jun. 2012. 17 Jan. 2018 <https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/single-deck-trains-in-north-west-rail-link/news-story/f5255d11af892ebb3938676c5c8b40da>.Clennell, Andrew. “All Talk as City Chokes to Death.” The Daily Telegraph 7 Nov. 2011. 2 Jan 2012 <http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/opinion/all-talk-as-city-chokes-to-death/story-e6frezz0-1226187007530>.De Vries, Gerard. Bruno Latour. Cambridge, UK: Polity, 2016.Faruqi, Mehreen. “Is the New Sydney Metro Privatization of the Rail Network by Stealth?” Sydney Morning Herald 7 July 2015. 19 Jan. 2018 <http://www.smh.com.au/comment/is-the-new-sydney-metro-privatisation-of-the-rail-network-by-stealth-20150707-gi6rdg.html>.Game of Thrones. HBO, 2011–2019.Gilbert, Dale, and Claire Poitras. “‘Subways Are Not Outdated’: Debating the Montreal Métro 1940–60.” The Journal of Transport History 36.2 (2015): 209–227. Harman, Graham. Prince of Networks: Bruno Latour and Metaphysics. Melbourne: re.press, 2009.Hasham, Nicole. “Driverless Trains Plan as Berejiklian Does a U-Turn.” Sydney Morning Herald 6 Jun. 2013. 16 Jan. 2018 <https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/driverless-trains-plan-as-berejiklian-does-a-u-turn-20130606-2ns4h.html>.Hazan, Jeremy. “Montreal’s First-Ever Official Metro Restaurant Map.” MTL Blog 17 May 2010. 11 Oct. 2017 <https://www.mtlblog.com/things-to-do-in-mtl/montreals-first-ever-official-metro-restaurant-map/1>.———. “This Is Why Montreal’s STM Metro Has Been So Hot Lately.” MTL Blog 22 Sep. 2017. 11 Oct. 2017 <https://www.mtlblog.com/whats-happening/this-is-why-montreals-stm-metro-has-been-so-hot-lately>. Latour, Bruno. We Have Never Been Modern. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1993.———. Aramis: Or the Love of Technology. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1996. ———. Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to Actor-Network-Theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005.Law, John. After Method: Mess in Social Science Research. New York: Routledge, 2004.Magder, Jason. “The Metro at 50: Building the Network.” Montreal Gazette 13 Oct. 2016. 18 Oct. 2017 <http://montrealgazette.com/news/local-news/the-metro-at-50-building-the-network>.Martin, Peter, and Matt O’Sullivan. “Cabinet Leak: Sydney to Parramatta in 15 Minutes Possible, But Not Preferred.” Sydney Morning Herald 14 Aug. 2017. 7 Dec. 2017 <https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/cabinet-leak-sydney-to-parramatta-in-15-minutes-possible-but-not-preferred-20170813-gxv226.html>.Martins-Manteiga, John. Métro: Design in Motion. Dominion Modern: Canada 2011.Richardson, Nicholas. “Political Upheaval in Australia: Media, Foucault and Shocking Policy.” ANZCA Conference Proceedings 2015. Eds. D. Paterno, M. Bourk, and D. Matheson.———. “A Curatorial Turn in Policy Development? Managing the Changing Nature of Policymaking Subject to Mediatisation” M/C Journal 18.4 (2015). 7 Aug. 2019 <http://journal.media-culture.org.au/index.php/mcjournal/article/view/998>.———. “‘Making it Happen’: Deciphering Government Branding in Light of the Sydney Building Boom.” M/C Journal 20.2 (2017). 7 Aug. 2019 <http://journal.media-culture.org.au/index.php/mcjournal/article/view/1221>.Saulwick, Jacob. “Plenty of Sums in Rail Plans But Not Everything Adds Up.” Sydney Morning Herald 7 Nov. 2011. 17 Apr. 2012 <http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/plenty-of-sums-in-rail-plans-but-not-everything-adds-up-20111106-1n1wn.html>.Sydney Metro. 16 July 2019. <https://www.sydneymetro.info/>.West, Andrew. “Second Harbour Crossing – or Chaos.” Sydney Morning Herald 31 May 2010. 17 Jan. 2018 <http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/second-harbour-crossing--or-chaos-20100530-wnik.html>.

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Cinque, Toija. "A Study in Anxiety of the Dark." M/C Journal 24, no.2 (April27, 2021). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.2759.

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Abstract:

Introduction This article is a study in anxiety with regard to social online spaces (SOS) conceived of as dark. There are two possible ways to define ‘dark’ in this context. The first is that communication is dark because it either has limited distribution, is not open to all users (closed groups are a case example) or hidden. The second definition, linked as a result of the first, is the way that communication via these means is interpreted and understood. Dark social spaces disrupt the accepted top-down flow by the ‘gazing elite’ (data aggregators including social media), but anxious users might need to strain to notice what is out there, and this in turn destabilises one’s reception of the scene. In an environment where surveillance technologies are proliferating, this article examines contemporary, dark, interconnected, and interactive communications for the entangled affordances that might be brought to bear. A provocation is that resistance through counterveillance or “sousveillance” is one possibility. An alternative (or addition) is retreating to or building ‘dark’ spaces that are less surveilled and (perhaps counterintuitively) less fearful. This article considers critically the notion of dark social online spaces via four broad socio-technical concerns connected to the big social media services that have helped increase a tendency for fearful anxiety produced by surveillance and the perceived implications for personal privacy. It also shines light on the aspect of darkness where some users are spurred to actively seek alternative, dark social online spaces. Since the 1970s, public-key cryptosystems typically preserved security for websites, emails, and sensitive health, government, and military data, but this is now reduced (Williams). We have seen such systems exploited via cyberattacks and misappropriated data acquired by affiliations such as Facebook-Cambridge Analytica for targeted political advertising during the 2016 US elections. Via the notion of “parasitic strategies”, such events can be described as news/information hacks “whose attack vectors target a system’s weak points with the help of specific strategies” (von Nordheim and Kleinen-von Königslöw, 88). In accord with Wilson and Serisier’s arguments (178), emerging technologies facilitate rapid data sharing, collection, storage, and processing wherein subsequent “outcomes are unpredictable”. This would also include the effect of acquiescence. In regard to our digital devices, for some, being watched overtly—through cameras encased in toys, computers, and closed-circuit television (CCTV) to digital street ads that determine the resonance of human emotions in public places including bus stops, malls, and train stations—is becoming normalised (McStay, Emotional AI). It might appear that consumers immersed within this Internet of Things (IoT) are themselves comfortable interacting with devices that record sound and capture images for easy analysis and distribution across the communications networks. A counter-claim is that mainstream social media corporations have cultivated a sense of digital resignation “produced when people desire to control the information digital entities have about them but feel unable to do so” (Draper and Turow, 1824). Careful consumers’ trust in mainstream media is waning, with readers observing a strong presence of big media players in the industry and are carefully picking their publications and public intellectuals to follow (Mahmood, 6). A number now also avoid the mainstream internet in favour of alternate dark sites. This is done by users with “varying backgrounds, motivations and participation behaviours that may be idiosyncratic (as they are rooted in the respective person’s biography and circ*mstance)” (Quandt, 42). By way of connection with dark internet studies via Biddle et al. (1; see also Lasica), the “darknet” is a collection of networks and technologies used to share digital content … not a separate physical network but an application and protocol layer riding on existing networks. Examples of darknets are peer-to-peer file sharing, CD and DVD copying, and key or password sharing on email and newsgroups. As we note from the quote above, the “dark web” uses existing public and private networks that facilitate communication via the Internet. Gehl (1220; see also Gehl and McKelvey) has detailed that this includes “hidden sites that end in ‘.onion’ or ‘.i2p’ or other Top-Level Domain names only available through modified browsers or special software. Accessing I2P sites requires a special routing program ... . Accessing .onion sites requires Tor [The Onion Router]”. For some, this gives rise to social anxiety, read here as stemming from that which is not known, and an exaggerated sense of danger, which makes fight or flight seem the only options. This is often justified or exacerbated by the changing media and communication landscape and depicted in popular documentaries such as The Social Dilemma or The Great Hack, which affect public opinion on the unknown aspects of internet spaces and the uses of personal data. The question for this article remains whether the fear of the dark is justified. Consider that most often one will choose to make one’s intimate bedroom space dark in order to have a good night’s rest. We might pleasurably escape into a cinema’s darkness for the stories told therein, or walk along a beach at night enjoying unseen breezes. Most do not avoid these experiences, choosing to actively seek them out. Drawing this thread, then, is the case made here that agency can also be found in the dark by resisting socio-political structural harms. 1. Digital Futures and Anxiety of the Dark Fear of the darkI have a constant fear that something's always nearFear of the darkFear of the darkI have a phobia that someone's always there In the lyrics to the song “Fear of the Dark” (1992) by British heavy metal group Iron Maiden is a sense that that which is unknown and unseen causes fear and anxiety. Holding a fear of the dark is not unusual and varies in degree for adults as it does for children (Fellous and Arbib). Such anxiety connected to the dark does not always concern darkness itself. It can also be a concern for the possible or imagined dangers that are concealed by the darkness itself as a result of cognitive-emotional interactions (McDonald, 16). Extending this claim is this article’s non-binary assertion that while for some technology and what it can do is frequently misunderstood and shunned as a result, for others who embrace the possibilities and actively take it on it is learning by attentively partaking. Mistakes, solecism, and frustrations are part of the process. Such conceptual theorising falls along a continuum of thinking. Global interconnectivity of communications networks has certainly led to consequent concerns (Turkle Alone Together). Much focus for anxiety has been on the impact upon social and individual inner lives, levels of media concentration, and power over and commercialisation of the internet. Of specific note is that increasing commercial media influence—such as Facebook and its acquisition of WhatsApp, Oculus VR, Instagram, CRTL-labs (translating movements and neural impulses into digital signals), LiveRail (video advertising technology), Chainspace (Blockchain)—regularly changes the overall dynamics of the online environment (Turow and Kavanaugh). This provocation was born out recently when Facebook disrupted the delivery of news to Australian audiences via its service. Mainstream social online spaces (SOS) are platforms which provide more than the delivery of media alone and have been conceptualised predominantly in a binary light. On the one hand, they can be depicted as tools for the common good of society through notional widespread access and as places for civic participation and discussion, identity expression, education, and community formation (Turkle; Bruns; Cinque and Brown; Jenkins). This end of the continuum of thinking about SOS seems set hard against the view that SOS are operating as businesses with strategies that manipulate consumers to generate revenue through advertising, data, venture capital for advanced research and development, and company profit, on the other hand. In between the two polar ends of this continuum are the range of other possibilities, the shades of grey, that add contemporary nuance to understanding SOS in regard to what they facilitate, what the various implications might be, and for whom. By way of a brief summary, anxiety of the dark is steeped in the practices of privacy-invasive social media giants such as Facebook and its ancillary companies. Second are the advertising technology companies, surveillance contractors, and intelligence agencies that collect and monitor our actions and related data; as well as the increased ease of use and interoperability brought about by Web 2.0 that has seen a disconnection between technological infrastructure and social connection that acts to limit user permissions and online affordances. Third are concerns for the negative effects associated with depressed mental health and wellbeing caused by “psychologically damaging social networks”, through sleep loss, anxiety, poor body image, real world relationships, and the fear of missing out (FOMO; Royal Society for Public Health (UK) and the Young Health Movement). Here the harms are both individual and societal. Fourth is the intended acceleration toward post-quantum IoT (Fernández-Caramés), as quantum computing’s digital components are continually being miniaturised. This is coupled with advances in electrical battery capacity and interconnected telecommunications infrastructures. The result of such is that the ontogenetic capacity of the powerfully advanced network/s affords supralevel surveillance. What this means is that through devices and the services that they provide, individuals’ data is commodified (Neff and Nafus; Nissenbaum and Patterson). Personal data is enmeshed in ‘things’ requiring that the decisions that are both overt, subtle, and/or hidden (dark) are scrutinised for the various ways they shape social norms and create consequences for public discourse, cultural production, and the fabric of society (Gillespie). Data and personal information are retrievable from devices, sharable in SOS, and potentially exposed across networks. For these reasons, some have chosen to go dark by being “off the grid”, judiciously selecting their means of communications and their ‘friends’ carefully. 2. Is There Room for Privacy Any More When Everyone in SOS Is Watching? An interesting turn comes through counterarguments against overarching institutional surveillance that underscore the uses of technologies to watch the watchers. This involves a practice of counter-surveillance whereby technologies are tools of resistance to go ‘dark’ and are used by political activists in protest situations for both communication and avoiding surveillance. This is not new and has long existed in an increasingly dispersed media landscape (Cinque, Changing Media Landscapes). For example, counter-surveillance video footage has been accessed and made available via live-streaming channels, with commentary in SOS augmenting networking possibilities for niche interest groups or micropublics (Wilson and Serisier, 178). A further example is the Wordpress site Fitwatch, appealing for an end to what the site claims are issues associated with police surveillance (fitwatch.org.uk and endpolicesurveillance.wordpress.com). Users of these sites are called to post police officers’ identity numbers and photographs in an attempt to identify “cops” that might act to “misuse” UK Anti-terrorism legislation against activists during legitimate protests. Others that might be interested in doing their own “monitoring” are invited to reach out to identified personal email addresses or other private (dark) messaging software and application services such as Telegram (freeware and cross-platform). In their work on surveillance, Mann and Ferenbok (18) propose that there is an increase in “complex constructs between power and the practices of seeing, looking, and watching/sensing in a networked culture mediated by mobile/portable/wearable computing devices and technologies”. By way of critical definition, Mann and Ferenbok (25) clarify that “where the viewer is in a position of power over the subject, this is considered surveillance, but where the viewer is in a lower position of power, this is considered sousveillance”. It is the aspect of sousveillance that is empowering to those using dark SOS. One might consider that not all surveillance is “bad” nor institutionalised. It is neither overtly nor formally regulated—as yet. Like most technologies, many of the surveillant technologies are value-neutral until applied towards specific uses, according to Mann and Ferenbok (18). But this is part of the ‘grey area’ for understanding the impact of dark SOS in regard to which actors or what nations are developing tools for surveillance, where access and control lies, and with what effects into the future. 3. Big Brother Watches, So What Are the Alternatives: Whither the Gazing Elite in Dark SOS? By way of conceptual genealogy, consideration of contemporary perceptions of surveillance in a visually networked society (Cinque, Changing Media Landscapes) might be usefully explored through a revisitation of Jeremy Bentham’s panopticon, applied here as a metaphor for contemporary surveillance. Arguably, this is a foundational theoretical model for integrated methods of social control (Foucault, Surveiller et Punir, 192-211), realised in the “panopticon” (prison) in 1787 by Jeremy Bentham (Bentham and Božovič, 29-95) during a period of social reformation aimed at the improvement of the individual. Like the power for social control over the incarcerated in a panopticon, police power, in order that it be effectively exercised, “had to be given the instrument of permanent, exhaustive, omnipresent surveillance, capable of making all visible … like a faceless gaze that transformed the whole social body into a field of perception” (Foucault, Surveiller et Punir, 213–4). In grappling with the impact of SOS for the individual and the collective in post-digital times, we can trace out these early ruminations on the complex documentary organisation through state-controlled apparatuses (such as inspectors and paid observers including “secret agents”) via Foucault (Surveiller et Punir, 214; Subject and Power, 326-7) for comparison to commercial operators like Facebook. Today, artificial intelligence (AI), facial recognition technology (FRT), and closed-circuit television (CCTV) for video surveillance are used for social control of appropriate behaviours. Exemplified by governments and the private sector is the use of combined technologies to maintain social order, from ensuring citizens cross the street only on green lights, to putting rubbish in the correct recycling bin or be publicly shamed, to making cashless payments in stores. The actions see advantages for individual and collective safety, sustainability, and convenience, but also register forms of behaviour and attitudes with predictive capacities. This gives rise to suspicions about a permanent account of individuals’ behaviour over time. Returning to Foucault (Surveiller et Punir, 135), the impact of this finds a dissociation of power from the individual, whereby they become unwittingly impelled into pre-existing social structures, leading to a ‘normalisation’ and acceptance of such systems. If we are talking about the dark, anxiety is key for a Ministry of SOS. Following Foucault again (Subject and Power, 326-7), there is the potential for a crawling, creeping governance that was once distinct but is itself increasingly hidden and growing. A blanket call for some form of ongoing scrutiny of such proliferating powers might be warranted, but with it comes regulation that, while offering certain rights and protections, is not without consequences. For their part, a number of SOS platforms had little to no moderation for explicit content prior to December 2018, and in terms of power, notwithstanding important anxiety connected to arguments that children and the vulnerable need protections from those that would seek to take advantage, this was a crucial aspect of community building and self-expression that resulted in this freedom of expression. In unearthing the extent that individuals are empowered arising from the capacity to post sexual self-images, Tiidenberg ("Bringing Sexy Back") considered that through dark SOS (read here as unregulated) some users could work in opposition to the mainstream consumer culture that provides select and limited representations of bodies and their sexualities. This links directly to Mondin’s exploration of the abundance of queer and feminist p*rnography on dark SOS as a “counterpolitics of visibility” (288). This work resulted in a reasoned claim that the technological structure of dark SOS created a highly political and affective social space that users valued. What also needs to be underscored is that many users also believed that such a space could not be replicated on other mainstream SOS because of the differences in architecture and social norms. Cho (47) worked with this theory to claim that dark SOS are modern-day examples in a history of queer individuals having to rely on “underground economies of expression and relation”. Discussions such as these complicate what dark SOS might now become in the face of ‘adult’ content moderation and emerging tracking technologies to close sites or locate individuals that transgress social norms. Further, broader questions are raised about how content moderation fits in with the public space conceptualisations of SOS more generally. Increasingly, “there is an app for that” where being able to identify the poster of an image or an author of an unknown text is seen as crucial. While there is presently no standard approach, models for combining instance-based and profile-based features such as SVM for determining authorship attribution are in development, with the result that potentially far less content will remain hidden in the future (Bacciu et al.). 4. There’s Nothing New under the Sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9) For some, “[the] high hopes regarding the positive impact of the Internet and digital participation in civic society have faded” (Schwarzenegger, 99). My participant observation over some years in various SOS, however, finds that critical concern has always existed. Views move along the spectrum of thinking from deep scepticisms (Stoll, Silicon Snake Oil) to wondrous techo-utopian promises (Negroponte, Being Digital). Indeed, concerns about the (then) new technologies of wireless broadcasting can be compared with today’s anxiety over the possible effects of the internet and SOS. Inglis (7) recalls, here, too, were fears that humanity was tampering with some dangerous force; might wireless wave be causing thunderstorms, droughts, floods? Sterility or strokes? Such anxieties soon evaporated; but a sense of mystery might stay longer with evangelists for broadcasting than with a laity who soon took wireless for granted and settled down to enjoy the products of a process they need not understand. As the analogy above makes clear, just as audiences came to use ‘the wireless’ and later the internet regularly, it is reasonable to argue that dark SOS will also gain widespread understanding and find greater acceptance. Dark social spaces are simply the recent development of internet connectivity and communication more broadly. The dark SOS afford choice to be connected beyond mainstream offerings, which some users avoid for their perceived manipulation of content and user both. As part of the wider array of dark web services, the resilience of dark social spaces is reinforced by the proliferation of users as opposed to decentralised replication. Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) can be used for anonymity in parallel to TOR access, but they guarantee only anonymity to the client. A VPN cannot guarantee anonymity to the server or the internet service provider (ISP). While users may use pseudonyms rather than actual names as seen on Facebook and other SOS, users continue to take to the virtual spaces they inhabit their off-line, ‘real’ foibles, problems, and idiosyncrasies (Chenault). To varying degrees, however, people also take their best intentions to their interactions in the dark. The hyper-efficient tools now deployed can intensify this, which is the great advantage attracting some users. In balance, however, in regard to online information access and dissemination, critical examination of what is in the public’s interest, and whether content should be regulated or controlled versus allowing a free flow of information where users self-regulate their online behaviour, is fraught. O’Loughlin (604) was one of the first to claim that there will be voluntary loss through negative liberty or freedom from (freedom from unwanted information or influence) and an increase in positive liberty or freedom to (freedom to read or say anything); hence, freedom from surveillance and interference is a kind of negative liberty, consistent with both libertarianism and liberalism. Conclusion The early adopters of initial iterations of SOS were hopeful and liberal (utopian) in their beliefs about universality and ‘free’ spaces of open communication between like-minded others. This was a way of virtual networking using a visual motivation (led by images, text, and sounds) for consequent interaction with others (Cinque, Visual Networking). The structural transformation of the public sphere in a Habermasian sense—and now found in SOS and their darker, hidden or closed social spaces that might ensure a counterbalance to the power of those with influence—towards all having equal access to platforms for presenting their views, and doing so respectfully, is as ever problematised. Broadly, this is no more so, however, than for mainstream SOS or for communicating in the world. References Bacciu, Andrea, Massimo La Morgia, Alessandro Mei, Eugenio Nerio Nemmi, Valerio Neri, and Julinda Stefa. “Cross-Domain Authorship Attribution Combining Instance Based and Profile-Based Features.” CLEF (Working Notes). Lugano, Switzerland, 9-12 Sep. 2019. Bentham, Jeremy, and Miran Božovič. The Panopticon Writings. London: Verso Trade, 1995. Biddle, Peter, et al. “The Darknet and the Future of Content Distribution.” Proceedings of the 2002 ACM Workshop on Digital Rights Management. Vol. 6. Washington DC, 2002. Bruns, Axel. Blogs, Wikipedia, Second Life, and Beyond: From Production to Produsage. New York: Peter Lang, 2008. Chenault, Brittney G. “Developing Personal and Emotional Relationships via Computer-Mediated Communication.” CMC Magazine 5.5 (1998). 1 May 2020 <http://www.december.com/cmc/mag/1998/may/chenault.html>. Cho, Alexander. “Queer Reverb: Tumblr, Affect, Time.” Networked Affect. Eds. K. Hillis, S. Paasonen, and M. Petit. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2015: 43-58. Cinque, Toija. Changing Media Landscapes: Visual Networking. London: Oxford UP, 2015. ———. “Visual Networking: Australia's Media Landscape.” Global Media Journal: Australian Edition 6.1 (2012): 1-8. Cinque, Toija, and Adam Brown. “Educating Generation Next: Screen Media Use, Digital Competencies, and Tertiary Education.” Digital Culture & Education 7.1 (2015). Draper, Nora A., and Joseph Turow. “The Corporate Cultivation of Digital Resignation.” New Media & Society 21.8 (2019): 1824-1839. Fellous, Jean-Marc, and Michael A. Arbib, eds. Who Needs Emotions? The Brain Meets the Robot. New York: Oxford UP, 2005. Fernández-Caramés, Tiago M. “From Pre-Quantum to Post-Quantum IoT Security: A Survey on Quantum-Resistant Cryptosystems for the Internet of Things.” IEEE Internet of Things Journal 7.7 (2019): 6457-6480. Foucault, Michel. Surveiller et Punir: Naissance de la Prison [Discipline and Punish—The Birth of The Prison]. Trans. Alan Sheridan. New York: Random House, 1977. Foucault, Michel. “The Subject and Power.” Michel Foucault: Power, the Essential Works of Michel Foucault 1954–1984. Vol. 3. Trans. R. Hurley and others. Ed. J.D. Faubion. London: Penguin, 2001. Gehl, Robert W. Weaving the Dark Web: Legitimacy on Freenet, Tor, and I2P. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press, 2018. Gehl, Robert, and Fenwick McKelvey. “Bugging Out: Darknets as Parasites of Large-Scale Media Objects.” Media, Culture & Society 41.2 (2019): 219-235. Gillespie, Tarleton. Custodians of the Internet: Platforms, Content Moderation, and the Hidden Decisions That Shape Social Media. London: Yale UP, 2018. Habermas, Jürgen. The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society. Trans. Thomas Burger with the assistance of Frederick Lawrence. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1989. Inglis, Ken S. This Is the ABC: The Australian Broadcasting Commission 1932–1983. Melbourne: Melbourne UP, 1983. Iron Maiden. “Fear of the Dark.” London: EMI, 1992. Jenkins, Henry. Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide. New York: New York UP, 2006. Lasica, J. D. Darknet: Hollywood’s War against the Digital Generation. New York: John Wiley and Sons, 2005. Mahmood, Mimrah. “Australia's Evolving Media Landscape.” 13 Apr. 2021 <https://www.meltwater.com/en/resources/australias-evolving-media-landscape>. Mann, Steve, and Joseph Ferenbok. “New Media and the Power Politics of Sousveillance in a Surveillance-Dominated World.” Surveillance & Society 11.1/2 (2013): 18-34. McDonald, Alexander J. “Cortical Pathways to the Mammalian Amygdala.” Progress in Neurobiology 55.3 (1998): 257-332. McStay, Andrew. Emotional AI: The Rise of Empathic Media. London: Sage, 2018. Mondin, Alessandra. “‘Tumblr Mostly, Great Empowering Images’: Blogging, Reblogging and Scrolling Feminist, Queer and BDSM Desires.” Journal of Gender Studies 26.3 (2017): 282-292. Neff, Gina, and Dawn Nafus. Self-Tracking. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2016. Negroponte, Nicholas. Being Digital. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1995. Nissenbaum, Helen, and Heather Patterson. “Biosensing in Context: Health Privacy in a Connected World.” Quantified: Biosensing Technologies in Everyday Life. Ed. Dawn Nafus. 2016. 68-79. O’Loughlin, Ben. “The Political Implications of Digital Innovations.” Information, Communication and Society 4.4 (2001): 595–614. Quandt, Thorsten. “Dark Participation.” Media and Communication 6.4 (2018): 36-48. Royal Society for Public Health (UK) and the Young Health Movement. “#Statusofmind.” 2017. 2 Apr. 2021 <https://www.rsph.org.uk/our-work/campaigns/status-of-mind.html>. Statista. “Number of IoT devices 2015-2025.” 27 Nov. 2020 <https://www.statista.com/statistics/471264/iot-number-of-connected-devices-worldwide/>. Schwarzenegger, Christian. “Communities of Darkness? Users and Uses of Anti-System Alternative Media between Audience and Community.” Media and Communication 9.1 (2021): 99-109. Stoll, Clifford. Silicon Snake Oil: Second Thoughts on the Information Highway. Anchor, 1995. Tiidenberg, Katrin. “Bringing Sexy Back: Reclaiming the Body Aesthetic via Self-Shooting.” Cyberpsychology: Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace 8.1 (2014). The Great Hack. Dirs. Karim Amer, Jehane Noujaim. Netflix, 2019. The Social Dilemma. Dir. Jeff Orlowski. Netflix, 2020. Turkle, Sherry. The Second Self: Computers and the Human Spirit. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2005. Turkle, Sherry. Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other. UK: Hachette, 2017. Turow, Joseph, and Andrea L. Kavanaugh, eds. The Wired Homestead: An MIT Press Sourcebook on the Internet and the Family. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2003. Von Nordheim, Gerret, and Katharina Kleinen-von Königslöw. “Uninvited Dinner Guests: A Theoretical Perspective on the Antagonists of Journalism Based on Serres’ Parasite.” Media and Communication 9.1 (2021): 88-98. Williams, Chris K. “Configuring Enterprise Public Key Infrastructures to Permit Integrated Deployment of Signature, Encryption and Access Control Systems.” MILCOM 2005-2005 IEEE Military Communications Conference. IEEE, 2005. Wilson, Dean, and Tanya Serisier. “Video Activism and the Ambiguities of Counter-Surveillance.” Surveillance & Society 8.2 (2010): 166-180.

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