Beginnjahr 2014 Abschlussjahr 2018


durchführende Institutionen finanzierende Institutionen


ProjektleiterInnen MitarbeiterInnen
Ländercode Österreich Sprachcode Deutsch, Englisch
Schlagwörter DeutschMediennutzung, Literatursoziologie
Schlagwörter EnglischQualitative Study, common readers and literary discourse, face-to-face and online reading groups, ways of communicating and media usage, negotiating readings and evaluating fiction, sociology of literature

Reading communities meeting face-to-face (reading groups) or online (reading forums) agree to read a book (mostly fiction) within a given period of time and then come together to discuss it. During these avid talks and debates processes of understanding, interpreting and evaluating of literature come to life. The project at hand will take a close look at ways of negotiating literary meaning by examining reading groups and reading forums in action. At a microscopic level we will be dealing with the different aspects of literary and popular fiction readers actually discuss, what challenges they meet, what gratifications they seek, and what means and strategies of communication they use; at the macroscopic level we will be taking a close look at the influence of literary tradition as represented by ‘the canon’ (reading-lists as well as readings), and contemporary literary discourse in the media (book reviews, interviews).

The collection and evaluation of qualitative data will be carried out in two steps: based on the findings on reading groups (face-to-face) we will look into online reading forums. A comparison of the two different forms of communication on books will focus on the participants and their motivations, and on the structure, content and context of the discussions themselves. Reading groups will be selected according to their location (Austria), their working language (German), their focus of reading (fiction), the members’ professional background (no literary professionals of any kind). Online forums will be selected according to their reading matter (same book or similar in genre to a book read by one of the face-to-face groups). The online forums’ working language will have to be German, too. The data will be compiled through participatory observation of appr. 36 book discussions (face-to-face and online) and standardized questioning of the reading group members and forum participants.

In Austria and Germany, a study on reading groups has not been done before although reading communities are becoming increasingly popular. The project will provide considerable contributions to literary and book studies as well as to reading research because it aims to bring together the literary and the social aspects of reading. It will describe the nature, genesis and dynamics of the reading communities in question, and it will generate a classification of the different ways reading communities evaluate literature. The results will also give answers to core questions frequently asked in literary scenes, among literary critics, educational experts and in the publishing industry: What is needed to stimulate or create a vibrant literary environment and atmosphere and what is needed to keep or make reading fiction (more) valuable to readers?

Internet (pages + downloads)
Hauptkategorie(n)Lehren und Lernen (Prozesse und Methoden)
Information, Kommunikation, Statistik
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