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Greenberg, S. (2011). Personal Experience, Turned Outward: Responses to Alienated Subjectivity. Free Associations, 12(2):151-174.

(2011). Free Associations, 12(2):151-174

Personal Experience, Turned Outward: Responses to Alienated Subjectivity

Susan Greenberg

The analysis of feelings and emotions in the public sphere has provided important insights about media consumption. This article aims to contribute to the debate by considering feelings and emotions from the vantage point of production. Specifically, it focuses on the production of texts that make a truth claim, where concerns about subjectivity and loss of mastery are particularly contested. To date, analysis of nonfiction textual production has focused primarily on news values in the mainstream media, giving rise to critiques of both the ‘objective’ ideal and a more subjective ‘tabloidisation’, with both perceived as inauthentic or alienated. When digital forms of nonfiction production are considered, it has tended to be in a binary fashion; the vices or virtues of professional media are contrasted with those of individual, ‘artisan’ new media production. The aim of this article is to identify criteria that might help to reframe the problem in a different way, allowing for the possibility of ‘alienated’ and ‘authentic’ qualities in both types of text. In particular it considers literary nonfiction, which typically works to connect facts and feelings, to see what one can learn from a hypothesised ‘poetics of fact’.

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