The article presents some selected results from our multimethod study“Lesesozialisation im Erwachsenenalter: Strategien literarischen Lesens in ihrer Bedeutung für Alltagsbewältigung und Biographie”[Reading socialization of the adult: Strategies of literary reading and their meaning in terms of coping with daily life and in terms of a person's biography]. In the first, ethnographic part of this study, six volunteer readers (who had spontaneously purchased a recently published novel) observed their own reading practices. The subjects were interviewed before, during, and after reading the novel. On the basis of these interviews, a great number of strategies for dealing with a literary text emerged. Most of these strategies appeared to be polyfunctional; nevertheless, certain techniques proved to be better than others for attaining specific goals. Different readers in different situations thus preferred different reading strategies. In the second part of our study, we conducted interviews with a representative sample of 1,025 experienced German novel readers and asked about their reading habits in general—not limited to the specific novel of part one. It emerged that female and male readers as well as readers with different sociocultural backgrounds (in Pierre Bourdieu's sense) preferred different reading strategies.

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