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Transmedia Cultures

A Companion


Edited By Simon Bacon

What is Transmedia?

The Transmedia Cultures companion demonstrates that transmedia, and indeed transmedia storytelling, are fundamental to the human experience of being in the world and creating the stories of who we are, both as individuals and communities. Transmedia is not just limited to the Star Wars or Harry Potter franchises nor narratives exclusive to new media platforms and devices, though both these areas will necessarily be discussed. Indeed, transmedia embraces a multiplicity of media platforms (old and new, online and offline), content expansion, and evolving forms of audience engagement.

This collection of concise, readable essays takes a holistic approach, expanding the areas of everyday life implicated in transmedia worldbuilding and the levels of immersion that they, purposely or otherwise, create. Beginning with a comprehensive introduction and historical overview, the volume explores contemporary transmedia worlds like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Walking Dead, Life is Strange and BTS Universe as well as urgent topics such as COVID-19, Black Lives Matter, and human rights on the internet. User-created worlds (Magic: A Gathering) and ones that express individual identities (Queerskins) are also of particular interest.

This volume offers a fresh approach to transmedia cultures, revealing the ever-increasing levels of entanglement they have within our real lives and with those we experience in other more imaginative or creative ones, bringing into focus exactly what is at stake in the «worlds» we choose to call our own.

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Morocco’s Arab Spring Protests (2011–2012) – Transmediality as ‘Doing-Publicness’ (Tarik Sabry)


Tarik Sabry

‘The great virtue of the Phaedrus is to spell out the normative basis of the critique of media in remarkable clarity and, even more, to make us rethink what we mean by media.’

(Peters 1999, 47)

Media cultures across the globe are becoming increasingly transmedial both at the level of production, raising new and important questions about the political economy of digital media, and in the context of audiences’ uses of transmedial texts, uses that have already prompted media scholars to rethink the concept ‘audience’ anew. Transmediality is now central to writing, teaching and thinking about what Freeman and Gambarato (2019: 2) have called: ‘the complex and fundamental shifts that digital media technologies have wrought on the media industries and their audiences’. By way of extending the critical debate in this growing subfield of media and cultural studies, I would like to rehearse the following question: can we give transmedia/transmediality a phenomenological interpretation? What does this mean? Paddy Scannell defines phenomenology in his book Television and the meaning of Live (2014) as being

[F] irmly committed to a view that thinking begins by looking outwards not inwards. In an originary sense we are moved (are summoned) to thinking by looking at the world … This means to attempt to think of things in their terms in the first place: not what I might think they are but what, in fact, they are. (Scannell 2014: 5)

To engage in a...

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