1st Edition

Mediatized Fan Play Moods, Modes and Dark Play in Networked Communities

By Line Nybro Petersen Copyright 2022
    162 Pages 10 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    162 Pages 10 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

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    Addressing fans’ digital practices, this book places fans’ play at the centre of a networked mainstream culture that seems to increasingly cater to, amalgamate with and adapt to fans’ mediatized play.

    Through case studies of the fan communities of the Hamilton musical, and Norwegian streaming hit SKAM, along with examples from many other online fan communities, the book dives into how fans navigate and create play rules as part of their community-building in a networked digital landscape and how they use the digital affordances of social media to engage in language play. It analyses the role of mediatized fan play in the context of political culture and identifies processes of fanization as fans’ play moods and modes are integrated into politics. Finally, the book discusses the role of fan play in the context of the global conspiracy theory, QAnon, as those instigating the conspiracy and those who are fans of the movement engage in dark play and deep play, respectively. The book suggests that we might understand fan communities as pioneer communities in the sense that there is increased value placed on fans’ mood work and fan play is integrated into other societal domains.

    This is an engaging book for scholars and students studying media studies and cultural studies, particularly courses on fan studies, film studies, television studies and mediatization.

    Introduction. Fans just wanna have fun

    Fandom is autotelic

    The structure of this book

    Part 1. Play Moods

    Chapter 1. Fandom as mediatized play

    Fandom as playing communities




    Chapter 2. Play moods in digital fandom

    Fan play as a way of being in the world

    Play moods in fandom

    Digital media as playground

    Fan objects as play material

    Part 2. Play Modes

    Chapter 3. Play rules in transmedia participation: SKAM fandom

    Play rules as transmedia play mode

    The magic circle in a transmedia landscape

    SKAM as transmedia storytelling

    Play rules in the SKAM fandom

    Chapter 4. Language play on social media: The digital room where it happens

    Fans’ digital language practices as play mode

    Language play

    Three modes of language play in Hamilton fandom

    Part 3. Fanization, Dark and Deep Play

    Chapter 5. The playful fanization of political culture

    Fanization: a process of mediatization

    Play, civilisation and ambivalence

    Digitisation of political activism and consumption

    Celebrification of politics

    A process of fanization of politics

    Chapter 6. Dark and deep play: QAnon as transmedia conspiracy

    Dark play in networked communities

    The origins of QAnon

    Deep play in digital communities

    Chapter 7. Conclusion: The role of fan play in networked culture


    Line Nybro Petersen, PhD, is an Associate Professor in Media Studies at the University of Copenhagen. She researches online fandom, mediatization and play. She has published several articles on fandom and mediatization, including Sherlock Fans Talk: Mediatized Talk on Tumblr. This is her first monograph.

    "Mediatized Fan Play provocatively and brilliantly rethinks fandom – and fan studies – by emphasizing the full breadth of fan experience rather than just fans’ productivity/performance. By centring her analysis on play, Line Nybro Petersen is able to cast a far wider net across the actuality of what fans actually do as fans. At the same time, drawing on the sociology of mediatization means that Petersen can innovatively explore today’s mainstreaming of fandom, or ‘fanization’, in politics and conspiracy theories. Mediatized Fan Play is a superb, engaging and energising book that hits ‘play’ on important new ways of understanding fandom."

    Professor Matt Hills, author of Fan Cultures and Doctor Who: The Unfolding Event

    "This welcome addition to media studies places the concept and practice of play at the forefront of understanding fandoms and the broader "fanization" of cultural and political life. In an insightful and engaging analysis that emphasizes the interpersonal nature of play – and the value of play in and of itself – Petersen argues that it is precisely through the playful character of fandom that fandom matters in broader social contexts. Case studies focus on the Norwegian streaming series SKAM, the musical Hamilton, and most provocatively, the QAnon conspiracy theory. This is superb and timely scholarship."

    C. Lee Harrington, Professor Emerita of Sociology and Social Justice, Miami University