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Wednesday Meeting - December 14, 2016

As a basis for a discussion Senior Lecturer Dr Simon Frost (Bournemouth University) will present a paper:

In the bookshop: a persistent site of economically-framed, political reading

"Of the many frames within which reading takes place, one with a ca. 140-year history is the commodity culture that saw reading driven by adequate levels of disposable income as a leisure-time activity for a substantial proportion of the British urban population. Leisure expenditure provides a gateway into specific types of behaviour with books: but even here, across a seemingly stable century on the High Street, conditions are not simple. Offline high street shop retail is not directly comparable to other forms of retail, such as online retail; there are regional and metropolitan variations; legislation, such as the coming and going of the Net Book Agreement in the UK affects the bookshop’s scales of economy and the type of books it can viably offer; and there is a differentiation in reading strategy between the bookshop and, say, the library. Such complexities, however, can also support claims for the durability of the bookshop as a mutable network. If the durability is valid, then it should be possible to use evidence of readers’ expectations in the 21st century – part of a recent UK High Street survey (Frost 2016) – to infer something about those readers’ customer-cousins at the beginning of the 20th. Part theoretical (drawing on Latour’s Actor Network Theory) and part quantitative empirical survey, this paper will speculate on the validity of a lineage of expectation towards books stretching from current purchasers to customers entering a regional High Street bookshop (in Southampton) around 1903. I hope to suggest that these reading cousins are not so distant, and that we might claim a limited continuity centred on the idea of desire."

This paper is a part of a larger project into the experience of readers and their books.

Time: December 14, 2016 - 12.00-1.30 PM
Venue: Meeting room Comenius, SDU, Campusvej 55, 5230 Odense M

For enquiries please contact Project Coordinator Pernille Hasselsteen - perha@sdu.dk

 

 

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