Reporting from the Field: The Narrative Reconstruction of Experience in Pick-up Artist Online Communities

Daria Dayter 1  and Sofia Rüdiger 2
  • 1 University of Basel
  • 2 University of Bayreuth, Bayreuth, Germany


This study focuses on the reconstruction of experience in the online environment of the Pick-up Artist (PUA) community forums and aims to uncover yet another facet of personal narrative, namely the role and performance of framing in the reporting of events. Discursive psychologists have often pointed out that a narrative is not a precise reflection of reality but a device that itself shapes the social world because reality always under-determines the verbal representation of events. In this study, we show how the verbalisation of narrative guides the reader towards the intended understanding by establishing the shared knowledge schema in the community of practice. Utilising data from a specific genre in the PUA forums, the “field reports” (i.e. narrative reconstructions of encounters between the PUAs and women), we describe three pertinent layers of frames, how they are evoked linguistically and how they interact with each other. Our investigation of the hierarchical framing of the interaction as [pua training], [personal narrative] and [success report] shows that they are based on group-specific knowledge schemas but, at the same time, draw on conventionalised narrative structures.

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