The Ashgate Research Companion to Fan Cultures  book cover
1st Edition

The Ashgate Research Companion to Fan Cultures

ISBN 9781409455622
Published September 18, 2014 by Routledge
320 Pages

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Book Description

Fans constitute a very special kind of audience. They have been marginalized, ridiculed and stigmatized, yet at the same time they seem to represent the vanguard of new relationships with and within the media. ’Participatory culture’ has become the new normative standard. Concepts derived from early fan studies, such as transmedial storytelling and co-creation, are now the standard fare of journalism and marketing text books alike. Indeed, usage of the word fan has become ubiquitous. The Ashgate Research Companion to Fan Cultures problematizes this exaltation of fans and offers a comprehensive examination of the current state of the field. Bringing together the latest international research, it explores the conceptualization of ’the fan’ and the significance of relationships between fans and producers, with particular attention to the intersection between online spaces and offline places.

The twenty-two chapters of this volume elucidate the key themes of the fan studies vernacular. As the contributing authors draw from recent empirical work around the globe, the book provides fresh insights and innovative angles on the latest developments within fan cultures, both online and offline. Because the volume is specifically set up as companion for researchers, the chapters include recommendations for the further study of fan cultures. As such, it represents an essential reference volume for researchers and scholars in the fields of cultural and media studies, communication, cultural geography and the sociology of culture.

Table of Contents

Notes on Contributors



Part I Re-defining the Fan

1. Returning to ‘Becoming-a-Fan’ Stories: Theorising Transformational Objects and the Emergence/Extension of Fandom

2. Populating the Universe: Toy Collecting and Adult Lives

3. Much Ado about Keanu Reeves: The Drama of Ageing in Online Fandom

4. Music for (Something Other than) Pleasure: Anti-fans and the Other Side of Popular Music Appeal

5. A Severe Case of Disliking Bimbo Heidi, Scumbag Jesse and Bastard Tiger: Analysing Celebrities’ Online Anti-fans

6. Fandom as Survival in Media Life

7. From Interpretive Communities to Interpretative Fairs: Ordinary Fandom, Textual Selection and Digital Media

Part II Fans and Producers

8. Fan/Celebrity Interactions and Social Media: Connectivity and Engagement in Lady Gaga Fandom

9. Fans of Folklore Performances: Identifying a New Relationship Between Communication and Marketing

10. Investors and Patrons, Gatekeepers and Social Capital: Representations and Experiences of Fans’ Participation in Fan Funding

11. Music Fans as Mediators in the Age of Digital Reproduction

12. Celebrity: The Return of the Repressed in Fan Studies?

13. Fans Who Cut Their Soaps Queer: A Queer Theoretical Study into Online Fandom of Gay Television Representation

Part III Locali ties of Fandom

14. Transnational Cultural Fandom

15. Retreating Behind the Scenes: The ‘Less’-Civilizing Impact of Virtual Spaces on the Irish Heavy Metal Scene

16. ‘Kvlt-er than Thou’: Power, Suspicion and Nostalgia within Black Metal Fandom

17. A Decade in the Life of Online Fan Communities

18. Placing Fan Cultures: Xenites in the Transnational Spaces of Fandom

19. Embodied Fantasy: The Affective Space of Anime Conventions

20. Watching Football in the Fan Park: Mediatization, Spectatorship and Fan Identity

21. ‘We’re Not Racist, We Only Hate Mancs’: Post-Subculture and Football Fandom


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Linda Duits is an affiliate researcher with the Institute for Cultural Inquiry at Utrecht University, The Netherlands, and publicist specialized in popular culture.

Koos Zwaan is Associate Professor in Media, Culture and Citizenship at the Inholland University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands, and co-editor of Adapting Idols: Authenticity, Identity and Performance in a Global Television Format.

Stijn Reijnders is Associate Professor in Cultural Heritage at Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands, and author of Places of the Imagination: Media, Tourism, Culture.


"The strength of the collection is that it includes work from a range of disciplines, bringing together media studies perspectives (like Bennett’s on celebrity) and sociological perspectives (like Sinclair and Hagen’s use of subcultural theory). There is also a good mix of fandom sites (e.g., music, sports, television) and global and digital locales, as well as mixture of theoretical and empirically based chapters."
Rosemary Lucy Hill, University of Leeds

"The book shows why fan commitments and fan labour give a sense of worth, purpose and achievement, while fans themselves continue to abide as a powerless elite. It presents some fascinating empirical work, displays a good deal of expertise and brings established and emergent scholars together between two covers."
Michael Pickering, Loughborough University