Genre and innovation:
What is a new genre?
Carolyn R. Miller
North Carolina State University
1 September 2008
where I’m going …
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genres in the mass media
new genres in the mass media
models of genre change
thinking more broadly about genre
thinking more deeply about genre
List of
Video Game
Genres
(partial)
Le x ington He ra ld -Leade r (K entuc k y)
Ap ril 15 , 2008 Tuesday
New vi d eo g am e r elea s es
B YLI N E: McC latch y Ne ws p apers
SECTION: ENTERT A INME N T N E W S
LENGTH: 236 w o rds
T h e follo w ing gam es are am o ng th ose slated for re lease thi s week, accord ing to
Ga m eSpot.co m . Dates are su bject to chang e.
M on da y :
S her lock H o lm es : Ne m es is _ PC. Ge n re: ad v en tu re. Rat ing un av ail ab le.
Major L ea gu e B aseba ll 2 K 8 F an tas y All S tars _ DS. Ge n re: sports. Rated E.
A M F B ow ling P inbu sters ! _ DS. Ge n re: sports. Rated E.
T u esday:
E u ro pa U niv ersa li s: Ro m e _ PC. Ge n re: strate gy . Rated E10+.
Gra n T uri sm o 5 Pro lo gu e _ P S3. Ge n re: d riving . Rated E.
To m C lan cy' s Ra in bow Six Ve g as 2 _ PC. Ge n re: act io n. Rated M.
Jack K ea n e _ PC. Ge n re: ad v en tu re. Rat ing un av ail ab le.
T h e S im s 2 : Ki tc h en a n d B at h I n te ri or Des ign St u ff _ PC. Ge n re: s im ul at io n . Rated
T.
Fin al F an tas y XI : Va na'diel Co ll ect io n 2 00 8 _ PC. Ge n re: ro le-p laying . Rat ing
u n av ail ab le.
“Get Fuzzy”
31 March 2008
“Frazz”
***
A. O. Scott, 22 May 2008
“Microgenres”
“YouTube redefin[ed] … broadcast success
from having giant audiences for blockbuster
content to having a giant inventory of videos
that each satisfy arcane, niche interests …
Users create microgenres and niches by
posting answering images: the shrieking-kidwith-toy genre, the cats-being-mean genre,
the speed-painting genre.”
Virginia Heffernan, New York Times Magazine, 6 July 2008.
"Genre" in mass media, 20 years
8000
Newspaper Source, 1998Ğ2008
7000
Global Newsbank ,1998Ğ2008
America's Newspapers, 1988Ğ2008
6000
5000
4000
3000
2000
1000
8
07
-0
7
20
06
-0
6
20
05
-0
5
20
04
-0
4
20
03
-0
3
20
02
-0
2
20
01
-0
1
20
00
-0
0
20
99
-0
9
19
98
-9
8
19
97
-9
7
19
96
-9
6
19
95
-9
5
19
94
-9
4
19
93
-9
3
19
92
-9
2
19
91
-9
1
19
19
90
-9
0
-9
89
19
19
88
-8
9
0
Genre has consequences
• Margaret Jones, Love and
Consequences, “a heart-wrenching
memoir” (New York Times)
• Misha Defonseca, A Mémoire of the
Holocaust Years, international bestseller
in 18 languages
memoir or fiction?
"New genre" in mass media, 20 years
180
Newspaper Source, 1998Ğ2008
160
Global Newsbank, 1998Ğ2008
America's Newspapers, 1988Ğ2008
140
120
100
80
60
40
20
8
07
-0
7
20
06
-0
6
20
05
-0
5
20
04
-0
4
20
03
-0
3
20
02
-0
2
20
01
-0
1
20
00
-0
0
20
99
-0
9
19
98
-9
8
19
97
-9
7
19
96
-9
6
19
95
-9
5
19
94
-9
4
19
93
-9
3
19
92
-9
2
19
91
-9
1
19
19
90
-9
0
-9
89
19
19
88
-8
9
0
"New genre" in Lexis/Nexis databases, 20 years
800
World print newsmedia
700
U.S. print newsmedia
600
TV/radio/blogs/web publications
500
400
300
200
100
8
07
-0
7
20
06
-0
6
20
20
05
-0
5
-0
4
04
20
20
03
-0
3
-0
2
02
20
20
01
-0
1
-0
0
00
20
19
99
-0
9
-9
8
98
19
19
97
-9
7
-9
6
96
19
19
95
-9
5
-9
4
94
19
93
-9
3
19
92
-9
2
19
91
-9
1
19
90
-9
0
-9
19
89
19
19
88
-8
9
0
20
20
20
20
20
20
20
20
19
19
19
19
19
19
19
19
19
19
19
19
07
06
05
04
03
02
01
00
99
98
97
96
95
94
93
92
91
90
89
88
-0
-0
-0
-0
-0
-0
-0
-0
-0
-9
-9
-9
-9
-9
-9
-9
-9
-9
-9
-8
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
0
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
0
9
"Emerging genre" in Lexis/Nexis databases, 20 years
45
40
35
World & U.S. print newsmedia, TV/radio, blogs, webpubs
30
25
20
15
10
5
0
***
G lobal B roadcast Database - E ng lish
Januar y 26 , 20 08 Sa turda y
SHO W : 1: 05 A M CNBC
LENGTH:
700 words
É S T O P RI G H T T H ERE. OKAY T HIS IS ONE O F T HE
M AG IC MOMEN T S . NO W Y O U G O T , I P RIN T MY FIR S T 50 0
T -SHIR T S. I H A V E T HEM IN A BO X . HO W DO YOU G E T
P EO P L E T O BUY T HEM? >> P EO P L E A RE SCR AT CHIN G
T HEIR HE A DS AT T H E IDE A OF W H AT MY BR A N D E V EN
WA S. >> W HICH WA S? >> YOU KNO W , IT WA S A NE W
GENRE. I T WA S T HI S NE W GENRE , THIS E M ERGING
GENRE OF STREET
W ARE . >> W H AT A W HI T E BOY? >>
YES, FRO M A W HI T E BOY , WH AT E V ER. I'M A P RODUC T
OF MY EN V IRONMEN T . É
DOCU M ENT -TY P E: Te lev isio n
P U B LICA T ION -TY P E: Tra n scr ip t
C o p yrig ht 2008 in ews n etw o rk I n c.
A ll R ig h ts Reser v ed
G lobal B roadcast Database - E ng lish
Januar y 28 , 20 08 M o nda y
SHO W : 3: 05 P M T ECH T V
LENGTH:
458 w o rds
É T ONY H AW K 'S DO W NHIL L J A M BRIN G S IT IN T O A
NE W GENRE, DO W NHI LL R A CIN G . T URN T HE W ii MO T E
ON I T S SIDE A ND T HRE A T G OOD T O P ERFORM A N
O LL IE. YOU C A N P ERFO R M DIFFEREN T F L IP A ND G R A B
T RICKS BY P RE S SIN G T HE O NE A ND TW O BU TT ONS ON
T H E CON T RO L P A D. IF YOU C AT CH A IR NE A R A R A IL ,
ROOF T O P OR O T HER G RIN D A B L E ON L Y, TA P T H E ONE
BU TT ON A ND T HE P A D IN ANY DIREC T ION T O S TA R T A
G RIND MO V E. É
DOCU M ENT -TY P E: Te lev isio n
P U B LICA T ION -TY P E: Tra n scr ip t
C o p yrig ht 2008 in ews n etw o rk I n c.
A ll R ig h ts Reser v ed
http://www.cartoon.org/comics/
Yellowstone: Your
Complete Guide to the
Park (American Park
Network, 2008).
***
G lobal B roadcast Database - E ng lish
Februar y 12, 2 008 T uesda y
SHO W : 12 :2 5 A M CNN T UR K
LENGTH:
647 words
Dr. P h il: T H AT W AS A COM P LE T E L Y NE W GENRE OF
T E L E V ISION . NOBODY H A D DONE T HIS BEFORE . I A M
NO T S A YIN G T H AT BEC A U S E I DO IT . JU S T NOBODY
H A D DONE IT . W H AT H A S H A PP ENED O V ER T HE LA S T NO W , G OIN G ON 11 YE A R S - 5 YE A RS ON YOUR SHO W ,
A ND 6 YE A RS HERE , IS , I T H INK BEC A USE OF W H AT
YOU S AW A ND S TA R T ED W E H A V E O P ENED U P A
DI AL O G UE A BOU T MEN TAL HE ALT H IN A MERIC A T H AT
WA SN 'T T HE R E BEFOR E . É
DOCU M ENT -TY P E: Te lev isio n
P U B LICA T ION -TY P E: Tra n scr ip t
C o p yrig ht 2008 in ews n etw o rk I n c.
A ll R ig h ts Reser v ed
Non Sequitur, by Wiley Miller, 19 May 2008
Secret Asian Man
Sample of New Genre Claims
1989
1997
2007
“luxury laundry”
US (business)
“pet cinema”
Australia (film)
eco-holistic spa
Canada (business)
advertising cinema
US (tv)
serious electronica
Canada (music)
“financial thriller”
UK (book)
“anaesthetic novel”
UK (fiction)
“sportsman’s agent”
Australia (employee)
“bailout blog”
US (blog)
MTV movie
US (soundtrack)
“friendship-adventure”
US (computer game)
interconnected nature
writing
UK (book)
saint snow domes
US (souvenir)
“downsizing thriller”
Canada (book)
animation–special effects
US (film)
from Lexis/Nexis US and world news databases
Naming new genres
• “Beirut mastermind Zach Condon traffics in a
new genre that could be called poignant
ballroom cabaret pop.”
NPR: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=15279377
• Liz Losh, a rhetorician at the University of
California at Irvine, notes that there’s now a
genre of videos that combine cheating advice
with a “do-it-yourself aesthetic.”
http://chronicle.com/wiredcampus/article/3160/students-show-how-to-cheat-via-youtube?utm_source=at&utm_medium=en
Naming new genres
• “With his signature calligraphic arms
and hip gyrations, Goh … created an
entirely new genre and claimed it for his
own.” Joanne Lee, Straits Times (Singapore), 29 Sept. 1997.
• The spa is billed as "a new genre of
wellness spas, combining the elements
of a traditional spa setting with the
safety and superior clinical expertise of
the medical profession.” Judy Gerstel, Toronto Star, 29
March 2007.
Naming new genres
“Gone are the days when music was pushed
kicking and biting into a few boxes -- ie: rock
'n' roll, pop, country, crunk etc. Now music
mags are dripping with pencil-shaped-pantwearing music geeks conjuring up new ways
to describe music genres faster than my
imaginary country guy could plough a
paddock.” Vicki Anderson, Christchurch (NZ) Press, 7 December 2007.
Naming new genres
The author discusses “how frustrating it
was for him to come up with a good title,
because this hot new genre does not
have a better label than "nonfiction.”
Anne
Trubek, Chronicle Review, 4 July 2008.
Naming new genres
“The written interpretation of this feeling, the
stories, adventures and personalities involved
with the place that generates this northness,
is a genre, a class or category of artistic
endeavour, but it has no name. It is largely
unrecognized, not heard, the Cassandra of
literature.” Joan Skelton, Toronto Globe & Mail, 8 January 2008.
Social bookmarks @ Diigo
• Collection of genre mentions in mass
media from 2007, 2008
• http://www.diigo.com
• Groups = genre news; owner = Anna
Turnage
Genre change: evolution
• Diachronic change: relatedness,
continuity
• Synchronic variation: alternate forms
• Fitness: differential survival
Genre change: thermodynamics
• Susan Wells, Temple University
• formalist approach
• explains genre death but not birth or
change?
Thinking more broadly …
• multiple domains of discourse
• multiple disciplines
• multiple national traditions
How communities “own” genres
• marketed genres: cultural need
cultural need: what survives, what sells
• administered genres: imposed exigence
imposed exigence: what suits those in power
• institutional genres: tradition
tradition: what serves complex relationships
• vernacular genres: cultural need
cultural need: what satisfies, pleases
Thinking more deeply …
about stability and recurrence
• Social theory: typification, structuration,
habitus
• Rhetorical theory: decorum, piety
Decorum
• the “fittingness” of form to action to exigence
• extrinsic: accommodation of discourse to
context
• intrinsic: accommodation of substance, form,
and style to each other
New project …
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Online Academic Resource (OAR)
Multidisciplinary
International
Dynamic
Types of content: edited, managed,
peer-reviewed, user-generated
Functionality
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searching
sorting
browsing
tagging
commenting
data visualization
user logins & profiles
tracking hits and users
Coverage
• Bibliography: categories, tags,
comments
• Definitions
• Models of change
• Introductions to disciplinary approaches
• Glossary / index
• News, both academic and vernacular
Benefits
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enable “scholar-networking”
provide comprehensive overview
promote interaction and innovation
connect scholarly and vernacular
conversations
• catalyze pedagogical improvement
Thanks to …
• Anna Turnage, doctoral student in
Communication, Rhetoric, and Digital
Media, NC State University, who
collected the database information.
• Susan Miller-Cochran, Department of
English, NC State University, who
suggested Diigo.com.
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