Transmedia Critical: Empirical Investigations into Multiplatform and Collaborative Storytelling ~ Introduction
A decade has passed since the introduction of “transmedia storytelling,” a concept that refers to forms of multiplatform and collaborative storytelling. This special section opens an avenue for critical accounts of the associated narrative phenomena, social experiences, and conceptual positions. It suggests that it is time to move away from celebrating instances of transmedia productions as poetically fascinating outcomes of contemporary media changes, or as enablers of new economic possibilities for media industries, or of participatory opportunities for audiences. Instead, it calls for investigations of transmedia productions as contested phenomena—sources of contemporary cultural and social complexities—including new forms of scarcities, inequalities, and power struggles.
This special section emphasizes empirical studies of situated differences of how transmedial content is produced, used and interpreted in various contexts and by different actors. The articles present case studies from several countries on aspects of transmedia content production, associated user studies, and predecessors of various modern forms of transmediation (that too often are celebrated for their unprecedented newness). The section is explicitly interdisciplinary and builds on several established research traditions (e.g., cultural studies, political economy, semiotics, and narratology). With an introduction by Ibrus and Scolari, these works attest to the importance of a cross-disciplinary dialogue on transmedia communications as social, economic, and textual phenomena.