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Transcript of Fandom
What is Fandom?
Fandom is the community of people who interact with one another about a particular text.
A fan is someone who is enthusiastic about the text, but being a fan does not automatically mean one is a part of the fandom community.
Usually someone starts as a fan and then finds their way into fandom.
Fandom reflects Jenkins claim of Convergence Culture, that "convergence culture represents a shift in the ways we think about our relations to media...the skills we acquire through play may have implications for how we learn, work, participate in the political process, and connect with other people around the world."
Thomas McLaughlin argues that critical theory—raising serious, sustained questions about cultural practice and ideology—is practiced not only by an academic elite but also by savvy viewers of sitcoms and tv news, by Elvis fans and Trekkies, by labor organizers and school teachers, by the average person in the street.
"With the aid of the Internet, the loftiest dream for television is being realized: an odd brand of interactivity. Television began as a one-way street winding from producers to consumers, but that street is now becoming two-way. A man with one machine (a TV) is doomed to isolation, but a man with two machines (TV and a computer) can belong to a community."
Marshall Sella, NYT
What role does fandom play in your life?
Like academic theorists, who are trained in a tradition of philosophical and political skepticism that challenges all orthodoxies, the vernacular theorists McLaughlin identifies display a lively and healthy alertness to contradiction and propaganda. They are not passive victims of ideology but active questioners of the belief systems that have power over their lives. Their theoretical work arises from the circumstances they confront on the job, in the family, in popular culture. And their questioning of established institutions, McLaughlin contends, is essential and healthy, for it energizes other theorists who clarify the purpose and strategies of institutions and justify the existence of cultural practices.