What’s the Matter with Jarrettsville? Genre Classification as an Opportunistic Construct

  • C. Clayton Childress


The study of genre classifications within creative industries typically orients  toward the maintenance of order within organizational and institutional contexts. This study takes up the case of Jarrettsville, a work of fiction published in the United States in Fall 2009 to highlight prevalent disorders and debates in the development of a work of fiction. What looks like a clear and ordered process of genre assignment after-the-fact may actually contain a wealth of negotiations, strategic practices, and decisions to be made. In short, the assignment of genres can be conflicted, debated and opportunistic. As a work of culture is transmuted into a piece of commerce, cultural workers must navigate the interplay between text and context, and sometimes with competing agendas. When texts don’t fit a preferred context, the text itself may change. And when the context of the texts’ fabrication as a piece of commerce does not fit the text, contexts must be mediated as well. This case study highlights these processes in action.
Case Studies