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Prof. Woodstock’s Article Chosen for Award

An article by Louise Woodstock, Chair of the Media and Communication Studies Department, was named as the winner of the Russell B. Nye Award for the Outstanding Article Published in The Journal of Popular Culture.

The article, “Tattoo Therapy: Storying the Self in Neoliberal Times,”  argues that as a society,”we are deeply uncomfortable with unresolved, indeterminate experience and therefore work quickly to construct codified stories that place pain in the past, position individuals as emotionally hardy survivors, and reinforce the social bonds tested during trying times. There is a powerful force, a narrative imperative, urging us to frame life experience in terms steeped in the culturally pervasive therapeutic ethos. From Oprah to Hilary, Obama to Deepak, our cultural icons demonstrate the importance of casting the self in the language of therapeutic narratives.” Woodstock’s article explores a surprising venue in which to encounter therapeutic narratives: tattoo culture as represented on Reality TV where tattoos are endowed with transformative power and considered expressive marks of both the inner self and the social bonds that unite the self with loved ones.

The award is from the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association, and will be noted at the organization’s annual conference in New Orleans in April.

Dr. Woodstock’s work has appeared in leading communication journals including: the International Journal of Communication, Journalism, and The Communication Review