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Title:Understanding middle class adolescent leisure: A cultural studies approach to romance novel reading
Author(s):Moffitt, Mary Anne Smeltzer
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Grossberg, Lawrence
Department / Program:Communications
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Women's Studies
Sociology, Individual and Family Studies
Mass Communications
Abstract:The cultural studies perspective offers interpretations of the appeal of the cultural form of the romance novel and the pleasure of the cultural practice of leisure reading through recognition of meaning and affective processes. Findings from this dissertation's three studies suggest that leisure practices for female and male adolescents are an important way, among others, to allow for management of identity in this important developmental stage--adolescence--preceding college/work/adulthood/marriage expectations. A survey study reveals that leisure reading is a relatively popular leisure pursuit for adolescents, from students who might read a magazine or novel occasionally for fun to those students who are addictive leisure readers, for example, in this study of female adolescent readers of romance novels.
A study of female adolescent readers suggests that the leisure practice of reading a romance novel is a means to manage social expectations, manage identity through experiencing the "real" in the symbolism of the romance text, experience momentary empowerment, and experience intense emotional pleasures in the reading practice. A study comparing adolescent and adult readers suggests that both groups utilize leisure reading in similar and different ways, suggesting that meaning is articulated, in one way, through social relations of gender, family, and workplace/ school and, additionally, that reading functions as a channel of communication, shared pleasure, and re-living of the romance texts between daughters and mothers.
Findings to research questions of the relative popularity of reading to other leisure options, the ways in which teenage girls read romances, and the comparison of adolescent readers to adult readers, reveal that reading serves in certain ways as an individually centered, identity management practice and, in other ways, as a leisure pursuit embedded in and interacting with other social practices. Reading romance novels holds significant importance to the consistent adolescent reader because it is leisure, it is adolescent leisure, and it is fun.
Issue Date:1990
Rights Information:Copyright 1990 Moffitt, Mary Anne Smeltzer
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9026270
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9026270

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