Benwell B (2009) 'A pathetic and racist and awful character': ethnomethodological approaches to the reception of diasporic fiction. Language and Literature, 18 (3), pp. 300-315. http://lal.sagepub.com/content/18/3/300.full.pdf+html; https://doi.org/10.1177/0963947009105855
In this article I report on findings from an ongoing research project into the activities of a transnational range of book groups reading the same series of 'diasporic' novels. Rather than relying upon speculations as to how readers respond to text-immanent cues, this project conceives reading as a socially situated, localized activity, contingent upon the context in which it is produced. Empirical approaches to literary reception (whether historical, experimental, or ethnographic) have rarely taken full account of the conditions in which reception data is produced. An ethnomethodological analysis of transcribed book group sessions illuminates the 'social order' of particular book groups, their implicit values and systems of accountability, and their careful management and negotiation of subjective experience. This contributes to a complex understanding of the processes of literary interpretation, allowing linguistic studies of reading to complement sociological reception studies.
book groups; commonsense anti-racism discourses; ethnomethodology;
Levy, Andrea; reception theory; Small Island
Language and Literature: Volume 18, Issue 3