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

  • C. Clayton Childress

Abstract

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.
Published
2021-07-16
Section
Case Studies