Where the popular meets the mundane: lists and soundtracks in personal zines

Anna Poletti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


What methodologies are required for auto/biography studies to take the popular seriously? This paper will offer a methodology for reading auto/biographical discourse and narrative in a medium of alternative media production, the personal zine. The methodology exemplified in this paper will seek to find synthesis between Gabrielle Helm's call for seriousness and Chris Atton's assertion that, in the case of much alternative media, 'mundanity is all there is.'While canonized forms of auto/biography encourage the contemplation of the exceptional, an engagement with the popular inevitably involves an encounter with the banal. Offering an interpretation of the use of lists in a selection of personal zine narratives, I will examine different types of lists and their deployment as a discourse of autobiography. The list will be positioned as means of gesturing both towards the author's possession of particular (sub)cultural capital and as a narrative strategy used to acknowledge the complex dynamics which exist between the self and the popular.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)333-349
Number of pages17
JournalCanadian Review of American Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2008

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