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65 to each other. Relationships are established and taken apart; they can grow and they can die. Identities about gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, and class are examined through the pathways of domesticity. Characters do not have to be biological families to function as domestic characters. “We’re family”—words spoken in a workplace setting, on earth or in outer space—motivate protective action, offer reassurance, and demonstrate commitment to others. Throughout media history, domesticity has offered expectations that characters embrace , struggle against, and challenge. Domesticity is a foundation for the richness of media. 20 Fan Henry Jenkins “Fan” is an abbreviated form of the word, “fanatic,” which has its roots in the Latin word fanaticus. In its most literal sense, fanaticus meant simply “of or belonging to the temple, a temple servant, a devotee,” but it quickly assumed more negative connotations, “of persons inspired by orgiastic rites and enthusiastic frenzy” (Oxford Latin Dictionary). As it evolved, the term “fanatic” moved from a reference to excessive forms of religious worship to any “excessive and mistaken enthusiasm,” often evoked in criticism to opposing political beliefs, and then, more generally, to madness, “such as might result from possession by a deity or demon” (Oxford English Dictionary). Its abbreviated form, “fan,” first appeared in the late nineteenth century in journalistic accounts describing fans of professional sports and popular theater, and in both cases these fans were seen as having an inappropriate attachment, displaying the wrong beliefs or emotional attitudes toward activities that others saw as not worth those investments (Jenkins, 1992, 12). Many of these earlier associations persist, shaping what even sympathetic scholars write about fans, resulting in connotations of the excessive, the obsessive , the delusional, or the religiously devoted. Yet, at the same time, popular usage of the term has become more widespread. Today, the culture industries use “fan” to describe anyone who clicks a like button on social media, as they seek to intensify fan engagement as a mechanism for insuring loyal attention within a f A n h e n r y J e n K i n s 66 cluttered media environment (Jenkins, Ford, and Green 2013). Where “fan” once carried some social stigma, more and more people self-identify as fans, describing a broad range of different relationships with popular media content, ranging from casual attachments and mild preferences to identification and involvement within a subcultural community (or fandom). Industry discourse typically depicts fans as having singular attachments to particular franchises (Trekkies, Potterheads) rather than as nomadic members of one or more subcultural communities displaying a set of shared values and practices that get applied to a broader range of different texts. A fan, in that sense, is a fan of something, rather than a participant within fandom, distinctions that have to do with the relative power ascribed to texts, industries, and audiences. Many of the earliest academic accounts described fan as a scandalous category that challenged assumptions shaping traditional academic reading practices (especially with regard to notions of rationality and distance) and disrupted the operations of the media industries (especially with regard to notions of intellectual property ownership). Today, fandom is a much more mundane category, more and more accommodated (or contained) within industrial logics. At the same time, the fan subculture has often provided a base by which consumers could challenge Web 2.0 practices that transform their creative expression and social interactions into forms that can generate revenues for media companies. And the shared practices and languages of fandom offer models for new forms of political activism and civic engagement (Jenkins et al., 2016). Fandom studies is an outgrowth of cultural studies as practiced by the Birmingham School (Storey 2009), especially as those ideas got transplanted and adapted to the particulars of American culture. Early cultural studies had challenged hierarchies that shaped traditional humanistic analysis of culture, insisting that grassroots creativity and transformative consumption were “ordinary ” aspects of how cultures grew and seeing culture itself in dynamic terms, the outgrowth of an ongoing struggle between competing groups to assert their voices. As with other media audiences, fandom is a site of media consumption, with early fan research drawing on existing models of how audience members negotiate with or actively resist textually preferred meanings (Hall 1973/1980). Fandom took shape as cultural studies was starting to blur the distinction between consumption and production, with fans valued precisely because they used the contents of mass media as raw materials for their own forms of cultural production. Like subcultures...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9781479817474
Related ISBN
9781479883653
MARC Record
OCLC
971245939
Pages
240
Launched on MUSE
2019-01-02
Language
English
Open Access
No
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