Sjö, Sofia. "Comics and Meaning Making: Adult Comic Book Readers on What, Why, and How They Read." Comics, Culture, and Religion. Faith Imagined. Ed. Kees de Groot. New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2023. 169–84.
Added by: joachim (11/23/23, 8:22 AM) Last edited by: joachim (11/23/23, 3:52 PM)
|Resource type: Book Chapter
Language: en: English
BibTeX citation key: Sjo2023
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Keywords: Cognition, Empirical research, Reception, Religion
Creators: de Groot, Sjö
Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic (New York)
Collection: Comics, Culture, and Religion. Faith Imagined
To comprehend contemporary meaning making we need to explore how people engage with popular culture. Since the turn of the millennium, the research area of religion and popular culture has grown extensively. Though the focus has often been more on popular cultural texts than on the reception of these texts, several studies have underlined the existential potential of engagement with popular culture.
While scholars have extensively studied some forms of popular culture, such as films, other areas are still in need of research. This is the case with comic books. Not only have religious aspects of comic books seldom been explored, making this volume noteworthy, but generally there has also not been a lot of research conducted with a focus on comic books and meaning making. There are studies of how children and adults understand comics and what they mean and mean to them, about comic book fans and fandom, and comic book collecting, and many studies do mention how fans have received comic books. However, few studies have explored what reading, collecting, and talking about comic books can mean to people.
This chapter wishes to do something about the partial lack of explorations of comics and meaning making. The focus is on what six avid readers of comic books and graphic novels have to say about what they get out of reading comics and how their reading relates to meaning making. The participants are between thirty-seven-and sixty-three years old and live or have lived in Finland. They 170read different kinds of comic books and graphic novels and they have all been asked to talk about their personal engagement with comic books and graphic novels: what do they read, how do they read, why do they read, and how has their reading changed over time.
Theoretically, this project builds on the notion of lived religion and meaning making in contemporary life. The basic argument of lived religion is that we need to move beyond traditional forms of religious expressions to capture aspects of contemporary meaning making. This is thus a perspective that often incorporates a wide and functional understanding of religion—religion as meaning making. The perspective is practice focused; what is explored is what people do and find meaning in. One important area of exploration has been how individuals engage with popular culture and this study contributes to this field.
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