Unga läsare som litteraturkritiker online: En (skol)genre på rymmen?

Lena Manderstedt, Annbritt Palo


Title: Young Readers as Literary Critics Online: A (School) Genre on the Run? 

Research has shown that the book review is part of a core of school text repertoire, and that it is characterized by particular blocks of information. Young readers also write book reviews outside the school context and post these texts online. This study focuses 50 book reviews in Swedish, written by readers age 9–20 outside the school context and posted online. The blocks of information have been mapped, showing that the plot, the characters and the evaluation are predominant among these young readers. However, in the reviews readers are often addressed directly, and the reviewer uses the affinity space provided by the digital environment, both to establish interaction with the readers and to position the young reader as an engaged and competent critic. The established genre conventions are observed to varying degrees, in particular the use of terminology with a bearing on narratives. Paratextual elements such as photos of book covers, quotes, links and spoiler warnings occur in many book reviews in the material. Three theoretical concepts are used in this article to analyse and understand young readers’ online book reviews: James Paul Gee’s concept of affinity space, Basil Bernstein’s concept of horizontal and vertical discourse, and Gérard Genette’s concept of paratext. The result shows that the book review may still, in essence, be an imitation genre, as the young readers use the blocks of information common to the genre conventions learnt at school or by reading professional reviews. The digital environment has, however, had an impact. Not only does Internet provide an arena for the young readers to act as critics, it also provides the young reviewer with national and international models, possibilities of interaction, and paratextual material to borrow. The young readers have capitalized on the possibility to position themselves as readers and critics.


young readers; book reviews online; literature in social media; affinity spaces; horizontal and vertical discourse; paratexts; positioning; competent readers

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.14811/clr.v40i0.289


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Barnboken – Journal of Children's Literature Research eISSN 2000-4389
This journal is published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License. Responsible editor: Lillemor Torstensson