HomeTelling stories / building worlds. Production and reception outside the West

HomeTelling stories / building worlds. Production and reception outside the West

Telling stories / building worlds. Production and reception outside the West

Raconter / construire des mondes. Productions et réceptions hors de l’Occident

Journal « Communications » (2026)

Revue « Communications » (2026)

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Published on Thursday, March 21, 2024

Abstract

We are specifically calling for proposals on the phenomena of reception, and even remodelling, of western fictional worlds in other cultural areas. Above all, we hope to supplement this issue by looking at the variety of worldbuilding strategies: the proven and efficient methods of the Japanese and Korean entertainment industries, successful fictional creations in Indian, Nigerian, Mexican, Turkish or Brazilian studios, and even the production of highly successful fictional worlds in countries less renowned for their capacity for cultural influence. In addition to insights from narratology, media cultures and game sciences, the journal will be attentive to anthropological, sociological, legal and/or economic approaches, based on field data from cultural areas whose worldbuilding practices have been overlooked.

Announcement

Argument

Humanities and social sciences know acknowledge two characteristic features in the recent developments of narrative forms. On the one hand are long narratives characteristic in most media; on the other, encyclopaedias (cartographies, genealogies, etymologies, bestiaries, etc.) that spread well beyond narration properly speaking. Today, fictional worlds are more decisive than stories or characters in the activity of the entertainment industries, they define the perimeter of intellectual property and create social bonding within fan communities.

From Balzac to video games, the idea of “worldbuilding” has become the norm, at the risk of becoming trivial. However, not all long narratives give rise to a diegesis that “makes a world”, nor does worldbuilding automatically produce a plot. The issue will explore the links between long narrative and worldbuilding, rather than treat them as necessarily conjoined phenomena.

The proliferation of these worlds can be explained, in part, by economic factors that have developed within globalised capitalism, involving extensive commercial and legal operations. Their intellectual property is often owned by corporations that centralise and control their expansion through franchise-building, rather than by their individual creators: they are therefore brands in their own right. We will take account of the organisation of creative work in this collective, transmedia setting, that sometimes mobilises very large coordinated teams, as well as the role of fandoms in establishing continuity and coherence within the fragmented fictional worlds.

We are specifically calling for proposals on the phenomena of reception, and even remodelling, of western fictional worlds in other cultural areas. Above all, we hope to supplement this issue by looking at the variety of worldbuilding strategies: the proven and efficient methods of the Japanese and Korean entertainment industries, successful fictional creations in Indian, Nigerian, Mexican, Turkish or Brazilian studios, and even the production of highly successful fictional worlds in countries less renowned for their capacity for cultural influence.

In addition to insights from narratology, media cultures and game sciences, the journal will be attentive to anthropological, sociological, legal and/or economic approaches, based on field data from cultural areas whose worldbuilding practices have been overlooked.

It will be important to analyse the creative techniques - and even the professions - involved in scriptwriting and worldbuilding. It is no longer unusual for worldbuilding to precede storytelling. The narrative material sometimes becomes secondary to the ethno-topographical setting of the fictional worlds. While the biggest commercial franchises try to appear to the general public as coherent entities, this is often at the cost of sharp tensions between creative professionals, rights holders and highly invested fan groups. A great deal of work has documented these processes in the worlds of Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Harry Potter and Marvel superheroes, but it is becoming necessary to ask these questions outside the cultural and economic confines of the West.

Timetable and Submission Terms

Proposals for contributions on this theme should be sent in the form of a ca. 3,000 characters abstract (Word document), together with a short bibliography

by 1st June 2024.

They should include the author's name, professional affiliation and e-mail address, and should be sent to revue-communications@ehess.fr with “Raconter / Construire des mondes” in the subject line. They will be reviewed in a double-blind process and a reply will be sent no later than 1st July 2024.

The proposed papers must be unpublished and written in French or, exceptionally, in English. Articles corresponding to accepted proposals (25,000 characters, including spaces) must be submitted by 1st December 2024 at the latest, formatted to the journal's typographical standards (https://www.revue-communications.fr/en/proposing-anarticle/instructions-to-authors/) and accompanied by a 5-6 line abstract in French, English and Spanish, including the translated title and 5 key words in these three languages.

Review Process

Review process is available on the journal's website.

Scientific Board

  • Ramon Alvarado (Professor, Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana-Xochimilco, Mexico)
  • Balveer Arora (Director, Centre for Multilevel Federalism, Institute of Social Sciences, India)
  • Vincent Barras (Professor, University of Lausanne, Switzerland)
  • Maurice Bloch (Professor, London School of Economics, United Kingdom)
  • Manthia Diawara (Professor, New York University, United States)
  • Carlo Ginzburg (Professor, Ecole Normale Superiore of Pisa, Italy)
  • Angela Leung (Professor, Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Hong Kong)
  • Olgaria Matos (Professor, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil)
  • Masahiro Ogino (Professor, Kwansei Gakuin University, Japan)
  • Serge Proulx (Professor, Université du Québec à Montréal, Québec)

Editorial Board

  • Michèle Baussant (Research Professor, CEFRES/ISP, CNRS)
  • André Burguière (Professor, CRH, EHESS)
  • Claude Fischler (Research Professor, LAP/LACI, CNRS)
  • Marie Glon (Associate Professor, CEAC, University of Lille)
  • Christophe Granger (Associate Professor, CIAMS, Université Paris-Saclay)
  • Claudine Haroche (Research Professor, LAP/LACI, CNRS)
  • Sylvain Lesage (Associate Professor, IRHiS, University of Lille)
  • Bernard Müller (Professor, Avignon art school/IRIS)
  • Véronique Nahoum-Grappe (Researcher, LAP/LACI, EHESS)
  • Bernard Paillard (Research Professor, TEMOS, CNRS)
  • Alfredo Pena-Vega (Researcher, LAP/LACI, CNRS)
  • Martyne Perrot (Researcher, LAP/LACI, CNRS)
  • Monique Peyrière (Researcher, CPN, University of Évry Paris-Saclay)
  • Thierry Pillon (Professor, University of Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne)
  • Philippe Roussin (Research Professor, CRAL, CNRS)

The Review Panel is composed of members of the Scientific Board and the Editorial Board as well as external experts.

Places

  • Paris, France (75)

Date(s)

  • Saturday, June 01, 2024

Keywords

  • industries culturelles, cultural industries, franchises, worldbuilding, fandoms, Asie, Afrique, Amérique latine, Asia, Africa, Latin America

Contact(s)

  • Evelyne Ribert
    courriel : ribert [at] ehess [dot] fr
  • Revue Communications
    courriel : revue-communications [at] ehess [dot] fr

Information source

  • Florence Neveux
    courriel : florence [dot] neveux [at] ehess [dot] fr

License

CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« Telling stories / building worlds. Production and reception outside the West », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Thursday, March 21, 2024, https://doi.org/10.58079/w27x

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