Women’s magazines and their readers. Experiences, identity and everyday life
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In this thesis I explore women's magazine reading as a media experience. I ask how regularreaders of women's magazines experience these publications, and how these experiences canbe related to readers’ everyday lives and to their sense of identity. In order to answer thesequestions I have conducted a qualitative questionnaire and interview study of a group ofregular women's magazine readers. The reader study constitutes the central empiricalcomponent of my research, but it has been supplemented with textual analysis and interviewswith magazine editors. In the thesis, my analysis of this empirical material is presented in theform of four scholarly articles. Each article emphasizes different dimensions of women'smagazine reading as a media experience, each draws on different theoretical perspectives, andeach can be related to different debates in the field of media studies.A central ambition of the thesis is to suggest and demonstrate analytical approaches that arenew to research on women's magazines. In addition to drawing on established methods inqualitative audience research I will also propose a new methodological approach forexploration of the relationship between specific practices of reading and specific textualfeatures. While I situate my research in relation important debates within women's magazinesresearch, I also introduce and apply theoretical perspectives that are new to this field, inspiredby phenomenology, sociological identity theory and public sphere theory.Throughout the thesis, women's magazine reading is conceptualized as a multifaceted mediaexperience that encompasses perceptual, aesthetic, technological, cognitive, emotional, socialand cultural dimensions. Regular readers value women’s magazine reading as a relaxing ritualthat holds a specific place in the structure of everyday life, and they appreciate the propertiesof the print magazine medium as particularly suited to such reading rituals. However, readersalso engage in critical evaluations of women's magazine texts. Sometimes women's magazinesfail to live up to readers’ expectations, but mainly regular readers experience women'smagazines as relevant – to their everyday lives and to their conceptions about their own lives.Furthermore, these experiences are relevant to society in a broader sense, as women'smagazine reading can be understood as one of several possible resources for relating one’spersonal life to a greater social and cultural community.
Has partsPaper I: Ytre-Arne, Brita. (2011) Women’s magazines and their readers: The relationship between textual features and practices of reading. European Journal of Cultural Studies 14(2): 213-228, April 2011. Full text not available in BORA due to publisher restrictions. The article is available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1367549410389928
Paper II: Ytre-Arne, Brita. (2011) ‘I want to hold it in my hands’: Readers’ experiences of the phenomenological differences between women’s magazines online and in print. Media, Culture & Society 33(3): 467-477, April 2011. Full text not available in BORA due to publisher restrictions. The article is available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0163443711398766
Paper III: Ytre-Arne, Brita. Women’s magazines and women’s lives: An analysis of reading and identity. Full text not available in BORA.
Paper IV: Ytre-Arne, Brita. Women’s magazines and the public sphere. European Journal of Communication 26(3): 247-261, September 2011. Full text not available in BORA due to publisher restrictions. The article is available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0267323111416181