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Title: Welcome back listeners : locating nostalgia, domesticity and shared listening practices in contemporary horror podcasting
Author: Hancock, Danielle
ISNI:       0000 0004 7969 6804
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2018
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The origin of this thesis is, like many others before it, born from a sense of disjuncture between what I heard about something, and what I experienced of it. The 'something' in question is what is increasingly, and I believe somewhat erroneously, termed as 'new audio culture'. By this I refer to all scholarly and popular talk and activity concerning iPods, MP3s, headphones, and podcasts: everything which we may understand as being tethered to an older history of audio-media, yet which is more often defined almost exclusively by its digital parameters. Within this definition lies a dominant narrative, both popular and academic, which ties the digital to the anti-social. From the popularisation of the MP3 player (and in particular the iPod) onwards, digital or 'new' audio culture and technology has been more and more vociferously associated with the breakdown of shared social spirit, and a silencing of (assumedly) previously vibrantly social public and private spaces (Phagura, 2004; Mason, 2006; Bull, 2007; King, 2009). Certainly, earbuds and MP3s soon began to fascinate both mainstream and academic press, and to populate the cultural imagination with images of isolated, ignorant, socially untethered 'iPodders' and iPod 'zombies'. In popular press, the iPod formed the nexus of moral panics as varied as iPod-prompted muggings, traffic accidents and academic disengagement (as students plugged-in during classes), yet with a clear emphasis on the issue of anti-social, individualistic behaviour (de Castella, 2011; Wattanajantra, 2010). New audio-media is understood as both eliciting, and exemplary of, contemporary breakdowns in traditional societal values. In totality, popular discussion of new audio media has largely aligned developing digital audio technology with a new audio culture which seemingly threatens the very fabric of our society. Horror fiction podcasting frequently evidences a continued preoccupation with, and desire to connect to, older audio media technologies and cultures, in particular (though not exclusively) Golden Era (i.e. 1920s-50s) or 'Old Time Radio' (OTR). This is demonstrated through repeated, prominent tropes such as: aesthetic re-mediation of the podcast as older audio technology; re-make, homage and re-imagining of older audio texts and programmes; imaginative audience (re)location to domestic and shared settings; digital community building and co-imagined listening cultures; and revival and evolution of open-studio audio-theatre and in-house 'radio' audience. In these features, these programmes indisputably complicate, and arguably refute in totality, the notion of new audio media's inherent disassociation with traditional audio cultures, and culmination in anti-social, individualistic and 'anti-traditional' listening cultures. Through the exploration of horror podcasting's engagement with older audio technologies and cultures, then, this thesis argues that we may understand numerous, often competing, anxieties, desires and tensions within new audio media culture which take us beyond the commonly levied traits of antisocial, individualistic and privatised urban mindsets.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available