The Semiotics of Serial Dependence

Valentina Pisanty

Abstract


In everyday conversation and on the Internet there is a great deal of discussion about the addictive effects of TV series, especially with reference to the latest continuous serials (such as Game of Thrones, Homeland, House of Cards and the like) that seem to encourage binge-watching even more than their predecessors did. Many commentators compare such compulsive activity to drug abuse, and a recent research in psychology (Hoon Hi Sung, Eun Yeon Kang, Wei-Na Lee 2015) links this phenomenon to depression. But how accurate (or how metaphorical) is the flat equivalence between binge-watching and the more standard forms of intoxication? This paper analyses the vast phenomenology of serial addiction from a semiotic point of view, in a bid to distinguish between different styles of immersive fruition, from the solitary and omnivorous TV binges that may indeed generate individual feelings of inadequacy to the intense social activity that surrounds specific TV cults. To what extent may we attribute such a range of attested interpretive strategies to the structure of the texts themselves in relation to plot, world-making and character construction? And how may our prolonged immersions in the worlds of seriality impact on the way we perceive the actual world?


Keywords


Seriality; Addiction; Reading for the plot; Narrative world-making; Identification

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13125/2039-6597/2121

NBN: http://nbn.depositolegale.it/urn%3Anbn%3Ait%3Aunica-17862

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