Abstract/Details

WOMEN'S READING OF POPULAR ROMANTIC FICTION: A CASE STUDY IN THE MASS MEDIA; A KEY TO THE IDEOLOGY OF WOMEN (ROMANTIC NOVELS)

OWEN, MAIREAD. The University of Liverpool (United Kingdom). ProQuest Dissertations Publishing, 1990. DX94327.

Abstract (summary)

This thesis explores the phenomenon of the huge popularity of formula romantic fiction with women readers. In particular it aims to explore why, in face of movements towards increasing equality of the sexes, such a seemingly conservative form of the mass media is increasing its hold on its audience. It looks at popular romantic fiction in two aspects. Firstly, romantic novels are seen as part of the mass media. Since the essential of mass culture is defined as the dissemination of cultural products by an organised production organisation to an atomised mass audience, formula fiction is something of an ideal type. It is suggested that research into the mass media neglects the study of popular fiction as a part of the field. Secondly, the study of romantic fiction is seen as a useful key to the understanding of the ideology of women. Because the concerns of romantic fiction lie in those structures of society which particularly shape women's lives, it is felt that research into this subject can be an oblique and particularly effective way of exploring women's ideas about their situation.

The research explores the ideas and attitudes of publishers, authors, librarians and particularly the readers, together with analysis of the contents of the books. Various methods of investigation are used: open-ended questionnaires, interviews, especially in-depth interviews with forty readers, also private correspondence, publicity material and general meetings.

The research is revealing in demonstrating ambivalent attitudes about the popularity of romantic fiction. It also shows that, far from being gullible consumers of sentimental rubbish or the victims of patriarchal ideology, the women readers had very complex attitudes to their reading and this was intriguingly mirrored in the reality of their daily lives. The research presents empirical data from Britain to balance previous findings mostly drawn from North American studies. The research also challenges much previous research on the popularity of romantic fiction reading which draws on psychological and psychoanalytic theories and suggests that sociological explanations may have more immediate relevance.

Indexing (details)


Subject
Mass media;
Literature;
Womens studies
Classification
0708: Mass media
0401: Literature
0453: Womens studies
Identifier / keyword
Communication and the arts; Social sciences; Language, literature and linguistics
Title
WOMEN'S READING OF POPULAR ROMANTIC FICTION: A CASE STUDY IN THE MASS MEDIA; A KEY TO THE IDEOLOGY OF WOMEN (ROMANTIC NOVELS)
Author
OWEN, MAIREAD
Number of pages
386
Degree date
1990
School code
0722
Source
DAI-A 52/08, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
ISBN
9798641896250
University/institution
The University of Liverpool (United Kingdom)
University location
England
Degree
Ph.D.
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Language
English
Document type
Dissertation/Thesis
Dissertation/thesis number
DX94327
ProQuest document ID
303896023
Copyright
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
https://www.proquest.com/docview/303896023/abstract