Digital storytelling and the ‘problem’ of sentimentality

McWilliam, Kelly and Bickle, Sharon (2017) Digital storytelling and the ‘problem’ of sentimentality. Media International Australia, 165 (1). pp. 77-89. ISSN 1329-878X


‘Sentimentality’ is typically used to refer to the excessive, self-indulgent and banal use of affect to manipulate audiences into ‘tender’ emotional responses Sentimentality is also one of the most common criticisms of ‘digital storytelling’, a co-creative media practice in which ‘ordinary’ people are taught to create short, usually autobiographical ‘digital stories’. Indeed, scholars and practitioners alike have noted the frequent reception of digital storytelling as ‘too sentimental’, ‘sentimental navel-gazing’ and ‘sentimental tripe’ This article uses Stories of Service – an American programme that facilitates the creation of war veterans’ digital stories – as a case study to investigate such criticisms, finding that not only does the programme make extensive use of the tropes and conventions of sentimentality but also that its ‘distinctive media logic’ is actually constitutive of the very sentimentality with which the practice is so frequently charged.

Statistics for USQ ePrint 33404
Statistics for this ePrint Item
Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Published version cannot be displayed due to copyright restrictions.
Faculty / Department / School: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Arts and Communication
Date Deposited: 12 Dec 2017 04:28
Last Modified: 12 Dec 2017 04:28
Uncontrolled Keywords: digital stories, digital storytelling, public history, sentimentality, stories of service
Fields of Research : 20 Language, Communication and Culture > 2001 Communication and Media Studies > 200104 Media Studies
20 Language, Communication and Culture > 2001 Communication and Media Studies > 200102 Communication Technology and Digital Media Studies
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 95 Cultural Understanding > 9502 Communication > 950204 The Media
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1177/1329878X17726626

Actions (login required)

View Item Archive Repository Staff Only