Children’s ‘invocation of spirits’ on YouTube: constructing the plausibility of supernatural practices in online communication
Keywords:online video, YouTube channels, children’s ‘invocations of spirits’, ‘giver’ characters, construction of plausibility
The paper explores how children who post their own videos (as directors, cameramen or actors) interact with other children (YouTube viewers) on the Internet. The author provides an analysis of the videos related to the ‘invocation of spirits’ which represent children’s folklore practices aimed at establishing a contact with the supernatural forces. The study is based on the videos and thematic You- Tube channels devoted to the ‘invocation of spirits’ as well as comments on them.Certain videos related to the ‘giver’ characters are selected for a more detailed analysis. Most of these videos illustrate a scene where participants of the ‘invocation’ try to establish a contact with a ‘giver’. At the same time, the children (video authors) claim that the actions they perform are true. Child viewers also perceive the video in terms of its plausibility (truth or lies).The author concludes that online videos is an extremely productive and successful form of this practice as they provide children with new technical opportunities which meet their desire to believe in supernatural forces. On the other hand, this form of communication is a challenge to the belief as most of videos look artificial due to poor quality of videos and the lack of social and technical skills among children.To overcome this contradiction, various artistic and rhetorical strategies of the construction of video ‘invocations’ plausibility are jointly developed as part of child’s online communication.