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Appears in Collections:Literature and Languages eTheses
Title: Problematic Publishing and Progressive Symbolic Capital in the 21st Century
Author(s): Bullen, Chiara
Supervisor(s): Squires, Claire
Hunter, Adrian
Barker, Kim
Keywords: Morality Clause
Publishing Studies
Sensitivity Reading
Symbolic Capital
Creative Industries
21st-Century Literature
Issue Date: 13-Oct-2023
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: The publishing industry has experienced significant disruption due to 21st-century technological and social contexts. The emergence of social media altered how authors and readers interact, giving unprecedented insight into an author’s life beyond the text. Meanwhile, progressive social movements like #MeToo and Black Lives Matter have contributed to widescale scrutiny of individuals and industries that perpetrate social injustice and inequality. The combining forces of these concepts have resulted in an expectation that the publishing industry should not publish problematically, particularly from 2010-2021. ‘Problematic’ in this context is attuned to issues concerning social justice and inequality, such as sexism, racism and homophobia. This thesis presents a scholarly investigation of what can be gained by tackling the problematic in publishing, focusing on problematic behaviour beyond the text and problematic content within the text. It presents an examination of the publishing industry through a Bourdieusian lens and argues social and technological contexts of the 21st century have disrupted the field’s habitus. I argue a new form of capital has emerged as a result, Progressive Symbolic Capital, which is accumulated by producing works free from the association of problematic authors and the absence of problematic content. This thesis then investigates two practices used to accumulate Progressive Symbolic Capital; the morality clause and sensitivity reading. This thesis utilises semi-structured interviews with agents in the publishing field, a socio-legal analysis of the morality clause, an analysis of grey literature and an examination of sensitivity reading of contemporary and past texts to highlight industry attempts to generate Progressive Symbolic Capital and minimise instances of problematic publishing. This thesis argues Progressive Symbolic Capital illustrates the underlying tension between commerce and social responsibility in the publishing industry, and demonstrates that the utilisation of morality clauses and sensitivity reading has the potential to further structural inequality in the field.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation

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