Seriality and Streaming
Global Storytelling: Journal of Digital and Moving Images is a new journal founded by Editor-in-ChiefYing Zhu, hosted at Hong Kong Baptist University, and published by University of Michigan.
Special topic “Streaming and Seriality”
Ellen Seiter and Suzanne Scott, guest editors for special issue
This special issue of Global Storytelling will investigate how streaming media has impacted the production, distribution, and reception of serial narratives. Television research, beginning with Herta Herzog’s landmark study of radio listeners “On Borrowed Experience”, privileged the soap opera as an object of research due to the special problems posed by seriality and melodrama and the construction of gender within the text and within the audience. When prime-time serials Dallas and Dynasty achieved sensational success both domestically and internationally, and the fear of “Wall-to-Wall Dallas” swept Europe, important foundational works in television studies by Robert C. Allen, Ien Ang, Elihu Katz and Tamar Liebes, Jostein Gripsrud, Jane Feuer, Dorothy Hobson, Tania Modleski, Charlotte Brunsdon and others used television serials to consider questions of reception, cross-cultural readings, and the problematics of genre and ideology. Today, seriality is less the exception than the rule for the offerings of subscription streaming platforms in all genres and is a core industrial strategy for courting audiences in an increasingly crowded marketplace.
The development of streaming platforms and new distribution strategies in which entire seasons of new television shows are “dropped” online on one day have only complicated contemporary theorizations of the production and consumption of serialized narratives. Netflix routinely releases its first-run television serials as entire seasons, while other platforms premiere a handful of episodes simultaneously to entice viewers, then switch to a more conventional schedule of weekly single episodes. Web series such as Skam (in its various transnational incarnations) craft soap opera narratives at the intersection of fictive social media posts and videos that play in real storyworld time, weaving serial narratives into the everyday lives of audiences through their phones, tablets and laptops.
Central to this topic is the impact of different models of serial distribution. Global Storytelling calls for papers, articles, essays, and book reviews on topics related to streaming’s impact on serial narratives: the ways they affect viewers, their ability to create affect in audiences, and ways they have been affected by larger industrial and cultural trends.
Possible topics include, but are not limited to:
● ways serial narratives produce affect, persuade, or affect behavior of individuals and groups
● how serial narratives differ among various art forms, cultures, genres, or other types of borders
● how changes in serial narratives and their context affects their ability to respond to news and cultural events
● the nature of serial narratives and how they differ from other narrative forms
● the nature of serial narratives and how they have adapted to emergent distribution models and audience desires
● the impact of globalization on serial narratives
● the impact of the coronavirus on serial narrative production and consumption
● the effect of digital media and/or interactivity on serial narratives
● the cultural impact of contemporary serial programming in a crowded media landscape
● how fan engagement with serial narratives has changed and evolved over time
Submission guidelines for Global Storytelling are here. For this special issue, please do not submit via the journal web portal, but instead email submissions or questions directly to this issue’s guest content editors, Ellen Seiter (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Suzanne Scott (email@example.com). In the subject line of your email please include “GS Serial Narrative.”
The deadline for submissions is August 1, 2021.