Librarians, Agency, Young People and Comics: Graphic Account and the development of graphic novel collections in libraries in Britain in the 1990s

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Abstract

In the mid to late twentieth century in Britain, the comics medium was often wrongly characterized as only aimed at and suitable for children and young people. Equally inaccurately, the medium was simultaneously seen by many adults, whether parents or professionals, as sometimes dangerous for that audience. When combined, these contradictory views created tensions around understandings of both childhood and comics. These tensions can be understood in various ways, but in this chapter the approach is to describe a series of interrelations and shifting networks of relationships between groups of actors, in line with actor-network theory as developed by Bruno Latour and others (Law and Moser 2002).These actors include people in various roles, objects (comics and graphic novels),institutions (whether government, the library, or the family), and concepts (child-hood, morality, and literacy). Initially, agency was located with adult professionals in this evolving media configuration, but as the chapter explores, this becomes a network where “it is no longer easy to determine the locus of agency, to point to one place and say with certainty that action emerges from that point rather than from somewhere else”(Law and Moser 2002, 3). Both agency and network can be argued to have shifted in response to the various actors involved in the assemblage Graphic Account(Barker 1993), where the action emerged from a number of points, both human and textual
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationComics and Agency
EditorsVanessa Ossa, Jan-Noel Thon, Lukas R.A. Wilde
Place of PublicationBerlin
PublisherDe Gruyter
Chapter11
Pages201-216
Number of pages16
Volume1
ISBN (Electronic)9783110754483
ISBN (Print)9783110754407
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Publication series

NameComics Studies
PublisherDe Gruyter

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