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Keitai Shosetsu in School : Activities Related to Mobile Phone Novels and Membership Categorization Device


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  • 学校の中のケータイ小説 : ケータイ小説をめぐる活動と成員カテゴリー化装置
  • ガッコウ ノ ナカ ノ ケータイ ショウセツ : ケータイ ショウセツ オ メグル カツドウ ト セイイン カテゴリーカ ソウチ

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This paper examines activities related to reading mobile phone novels (Keitai Shosetsu), which became a social phenomenon in the 2000s. Previous literature on readers or the audience of such texts has not focused on the specific local activities related to text, because existing models and theories of audience do not adequately help researchers conduct a comprehensive study of such topics. In addition, studies on mobile phone novels have overlooked the various related activities accompanying reading and instead focused exclusively on the originality of media usage and the novelty of the stories' plots. In contrast, my research approach focused on examining local activities - how students en-gage in reading, how they discuss the novels - through fieldwork, including participant observation and group interviews of middle school students. I found that most girls spent their recess time reading and talking about mobile phone novels not by means of mobile phones but instead by means of physical books, while boys attempted to become friends with the girls under the pretext of asking them about their favorite novels. These activities were analyzed using Sacks' notion of Membership Categorization Device (MCD) in Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis. My results revealed firstly that reading mobile phone novels presupposed the use of the category "girl." Further, while girls enjoyed reading these mobile phone novels as love stories, boys considered the content of the novels to be indecent, which, according to the girls, is because most boys read only the obscene sections of the novels. This difference in perspectives regarding reading mobile phone novels is the result of using MCD. Furthermore, students' behaviors were not driven by their culture, but accomplished by membership categorization. Therefore, as an exception a boy read content liked by girls. The above observations suggest that students are not readers or the audience of texts as a model, but instead behave according to the uses of membership categories.


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