Principle: Continuity vs. Multiplicity
Continuity refers to the narrative coherence that audiences demand of transmedia stories, that ideally bind a narrative across media platforms to create a unified "canon" of texts. Transmedia extensions frequently stress their ties to the "canon" texts, and present themselves as key to the audience's comprehensive understanding of the franchise . Multiplicity suggests alternate or multiple realities, or parallel universes, challenging audiences to comprehensively track these contradictions and rifts in continuity.
Academia is all too familiar with the concept of "canons," and the hierarchies they inevitably create. While there is comfort and order to be found in the continuity of academic canons, an educational approach that also embraced mulitplicity would encourage students to pose alternatives to (or construct multiple versions of) the canon, exposing the norms and power dynamics that underpin canonical thinking .
Principle in Practice:In a purist incarnation of transmedia scholarship, an argument would unfold across multiple platforms, posing immediate concerns about continuity and coherence of argument. Within transmedia storytelling, an authorial figurehead is often tasked with discursively maintaining continuity, creating demarcations between "primary" and "secondary" texts, or text and paratext. The issue with this is within a transmedia scholarship model is twofold: First, this author function often elides the collaborative nature of transmedia production, and by extension, one of its most valuable properties. Second, in order to push beyond multimedia extensions of more canonically acceptable scholarly forms (the monograph, the peer-reviewed journal article) and embrace procedural or multimodal modes of authorship, transmedia scholarship must tentatively embrace multiplicity, even as it strives for continuity. This expanded understanding of multiplicity might include navigation (multiple paths through an argument), multiple contributors (re)authoring an argument, or making the components of an argument open to others to remix that content.
Mark Sample's "Hacking the Accident"
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