Melancholic communities: trauma, neoliberalism and the rise of Chat magazine

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Weekly real-life magazines (RLMs) for women form a genre that has experienced sustained popularity for more than three decades and are constructed from claims to represent their readerships’ lives. Strikingly, during the COVID-19 pandemic where other magazines have witnessed a decline in sales and many closures, real-life titles have experienced continuous success. This article reads RLMs through a psychosocial lens as a symptom of an emerging social melancholia that began to form from the late 1970s in the United Kingdom. Through an analysis of Chat magazine, the article illustrates how the genre was constructed and argues that it resonates with a form of melancholia that has led to the creation of communities bonded through shared collective experiences that have found the semblance of resolution within this genre’s creation.

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