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