This study lays a foundation for the empirical mapping of the material production of Afrikaans fiction from 1990 to 2005. The primary research question, namely, how to map Afrikaans fiction production during this period, has been answered through both descriptive-qualitative and statistical-quantitative empirical research. In the first, contextual descriptive component, qualitative research is used to describe the context within which Afrikaans fiction production takes place. The impact of transformation shifts on the production and producer landscapes are mapped through a description of the publishing system. Within this system, book production is regarded as an institution that has inter-systemic relationships with other sub-systems, including institutional contexts (such as media, cultural, literary, educational and library sub-systems), as well as broader societal contexts (such as political, economic and technological contexts). Transformation shifts in the producer landscape (including the establishment, conglomeration, mergers, take-overs and closures of publishing houses) are described through profiling the relevant producers (including publishing houses and other kinds of producers) who contribute to this landscape. In the second, statistical empirical component, quantitative research is used to sketch the contours of Afrikaans fiction production through the construction of production and producer profiles. On a theoretical level, the study follows a sociological and institutional approach to empirical literary studies. This study has been positioned within the developing field of book and publishing studies, specifically within the parameters of the epistemology of production statistics. Itamar Even-Zohar’s poly-system theory and Pierre Bourdieu’s theory of the field of cultural production form the theoretical framework. Several methodological instruments were developed for the purpose of this study, including a new model of the publishing system, a database of production statistics (the Production Database of Afrikaans Fiction – PDAF), and two typologies of kinds of producers and fiction publications according to which both producer and production categories can be distinguished. The publishing system, the PDAF and the two typologies have been proven useful instruments for the mapping of book production. These instruments will contribute to the fields of book and publishing studies through their application to research on other production categories. The PDAF is a useful resource for measuring the growth and diversity of Afrikaans fiction production. The study concludes that Afrikaans fiction production between 1990 and 2005 was incisively influenced by transformation shifts. Publishing in this field became more challenging in that Afrikaans fiction production had to wean itself from the artificial institutional privilege and substantial state support it had enjoyed and was forced to become economically independent. By 2005, there were far fewer significant producers of Afrikaans fiction in the producer landscape than in 1990. In some production categories, fiction production has shrunk, while, in others, it has grown. Overall, the production profile of Afrikaans fiction has greatly diversified, with Afrikaans fiction appearing in a wide variety of production categories. Afrikaans fiction remains the most diverse and best-developed indigenous tradition of fiction production. The challenge for future case studies is to investigate the relationships between production patterns and specific transformation shifts in the publishing system in terms of specific production categories.
Funke, Thomas Bernhard(University of Pretoria, 2011-05-13)
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