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Cult collectors: Nostalgia, fandom and collecting popular culture

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Abstract

Cult Collectors examines cultures of consumption and the fans who collect cult film and TV merchandise. Author Lincoln Geraghty argues that there has been a change in the fan convention space, where collectible merchandise and toys, rather than just the fictional text, have become objects for trade, nostalgia, and a focal point for fans' personal narratives. New technologies also add to this changing identity of cult fandom whereby popular websites such as eBay and ThinkGeek become cyber sites of memory and profit for cult fan communities. The book opens with an analysis of the problematic representations of fans and fandom in film and television. Stereotypes of the fan and collector as portrayed in series such as The Big Bang Theory and films like The 40 Year Old Virgin are discussed alongside changes in consumption practices and the mainstreaming of cult media. Following this, theoretical chapters consider issues of gender, representation, nostalgia and the influence of social media. Finally, extended case study chapters examine in detail the connections between the fan ommunity and the commodities bought and sold. Topics discussed include: •The San Diego Comic-Con and the cult geographies of the fan convention •Hollywood memorabilia and collecting cinema history •The Star Wars franchise, merchandising and the adult collector •Online stores and the commercialisation of cult fandom •Mattel, Hasbro and nostalgia for animated eighties children's television

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... If toys and games can be a type of transmedia (see Gray 2010; Booth 2015b), then a car detailed to look like a character, and designed to deepen an audience's understanding of a character, can also function as transmedia. Fans' material engagement has been an underdeveloped areas of fan studies, despite research on collecting (Geraghty 2014), toys (Godwin 2015;Zubernis and Larsen 2013), play (Gray 2010, Booth 2015b, and item display (Heljakka 2015). Considering how much merchandise is made for fans today, and how fans have been (stereotypically) associated with crass commercial behavior in the past (see Sandvoss 2005), it is perhaps surprising that most fan studies research focuses on the creative side of fandom rather than the consumerist side (see Rehak 2014). ...
... Given these, then, the underlying functionality of the series seems fundamentally at odds with merchandising at all. If buying goods can lead fans to happiness (Geraghty 2014), and if fan merchandising itself is part of capitalist culture (Booth 2016a), then the Rickmobile, like Rick and Morty itself, 'thus swings from irony to sincerity and back to a more profound and unassailable irony that recognises nothing as sacred and leaves no solid moral ground to stand on' (Williams 2016: 148). Indeed, the very idea of the Rickmobile would go against the ethos espoused in Rick and Morty; the paratext has reframed the discourse of the originary text (see Gray 2010, 15 for a similar discussion of The Simpsons). ...
... And while gambling is the most-studied way to profit from one's fan interest, it's far from the only way one can do so. Theoretical work agrees with this notion, arguing that fandoms allow for the transfer of cultural capital, unlike the purely economic capital one earns from work (Duchesne, 2005;Fiske, 1992;Geraghty, 2014;Jenkins, 1992). As an illustrative example of what an exchange of cultural capital might look like, Fiske (1992) describes fan communities operating as a shadow cultural economy where discussions, writings, art, and collecting are exchanged between fans in a series of symbiotic relationships that exclude corporations (e.g., TV networks). ...
... In the case of non-fan groups, people may display symbols of their identity (e.g., flags, clothing, symbols) or simply declare their group membership to others. In many ways, fans are no different: They collect, archive, and display artifacts of their fan groups to demonstrate their connection to their fan communities (Banister & Hogg, 2004;Borer, 2009;Chan et al., 2012;Derbiax et al., 2002;Geraghty, 2014;Levine et al., 2005). Fans can also proselytize their interest to others, sometimes in the hope of recruiting new members to the group, other times simply as a means of asserting their distinctiveness from others (Edwards et al., 2019). ...
Book
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Researchers across disciplines have been studying the psychology of fans for decades. Seeking to better understand fan behavior and the various factors motivating fans, researchers have studied dozens of variables in hundreds of studies of different fan groups. To date, however, there have been relatively few attempts to integrate this sizable body of work, pulling together findings across from the field to with a broader, more holistic perspective. This book does exactly that, identifying and concisely summarizing research on 28 separate lines of inquiry on the psychology of fans and integrating it all into an empirically-validated model known as the CAPE model. Useful as a textbook for a fandom studies course and as a handbook for fan researchers, this book is essential reading for anyone looking to better understand the state of fan psychology and wanting to conduct their own research exploring the ins and outs of fans of all sorts!
... Finally, the element of collecting, even hoarding, is so widespread in miniaturing, that it cannot be ignored. This observation finds purchase in previous literature on fandom and toy collecting, in which it has been argued that not only can collecting in itself be a creative act (Hills, 2009) or an expression of playfulness (Heljakka, 2017), but that an individual's collection identifies their level of fandom (Geraghty, 2014) and defines their qualities as a player (Heljakka, 2017). It is apparent from our data, that the reasons for accumulating miniatures go not only beyond simple utilitarian uses, but also more complex goals determined by collecting or hoarding. ...
Article
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Background. Miniaturing, or painting, collecting, and gaming with miniature wargaming figurines, is a popular, yet vastly underresearched subject. Previous research suggests a multitude of practices and ways of engaging with miniatures. Aim. This qualitative study explores the various elements of miniaturing to both map the phenomenon and build a foundation for further research. Method. Miniaturing is explored through a thematic analysis of 127 open-ended survey responses by adult Finnish miniature enthusiasts. Results. Responses suggest a dual core to miniaturing, consisting of crafting and gaming. In addition to these core activities, storytelling, collecting, socializing and displaying and appreciating appear commonly, with considerable individual variation. The different elements are closely intertwined, based on individual preferences and resources. Discussion. As a pastime, miniaturing occupies an interesting position with elements of crafting, toy play and gaming, and escapes easy situating. The considerable individual variation in enthusiasts’ preferences suggests a multitude of fruitful approaches in further research.
... The constitution of otaku fandom is not only sustained by the appropriation or reproduction of images but also by their horizontal, physical exchange between fans: fanzine magazines or cosplay accessories are material objects that sometimes travel in between fans. Hence we propose to marry vertical and horizontal aspects of production and consumption along the axis of the circulation (and re-circulation) of toys and collectibles (adopting an approach similar to that of Lincoln Geraghty (2014) in his analysis of Comic Con geographies). ...
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This chapter revisits the study of the Japanese fan or “otaku,” resituating this figure through the combined lenses of media mobility and urban space. It proposes a “pedestrian method,” oriented around the mapping of otaku media circulation perpetuated by fans when walking across the otaku sanctuary of Otome Road in Ikebukuro, Tokyo. We suggest that the otaku is a mobile fan subject position which emerges through a specific relation to urban space, and through the consumption and exchange of limited‐edition collectibles. The chapter introduces the idea of “otaku pedestrianism” as an important variable in the production of otaku subjectivity, as well as a methodological proposition for fan studies in general.
... Th e nostalgic relationship between a fan and a favourite text is often imbued with an imagined history, conjoining aff ect and meaning, belief and knowledge, and making nostalgia "both a way of knowing worlds -and a discourse of knowledge" (Radstone, 2010, p. 188). Th e article traces diff erent and often contradictory modes of fan nostalgia connected to WoW, such as tactile feelings of technostalgia (Bolin, 2015), deeply personal and anchoring types of nostalgia in the form of totemic objects (Proctor, 2017), manifested through fan practices of collecting digital items and souvenirs (Geraghty, 2014), and interwoven with desirable and appropriate self-identity and self-narrative (Williams, 2014). In reading these modes of nostalgia, the article argues that they ultimately function as a sort of 'homecoming', as the gamers' many diff erent experiences of the game and media texts surrounding the game all come together as complex attempts of memory work, creating the possibility of establishing a home within their fandom. ...
Article
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Since its release in 2004, World of Warcraft (WoW) has regularly changed the game and the play experience in signifi cant ways. Recently, Blizzard, the developer of WoW, announced the upcoming game WoW Classic: “an authentic, Blizzard-quality classic experience”. Drawing on interviews with adult WoW fans and gamers, the article examines the game as an ‘aff ective space’ (Hills, 2002) of fandom that cannot be separated from the fan narratives and experiences it mediates. A key component in this aff ective space is the notion of fan nostalgia. The nostalgic relationship between a fan and a favourite text is often imbued with an imagined history, conjoining aff ect and meaning, belief and knowledge, and making nostalgia “both a way of knowing worlds – and a discourse of knowledge” (Radstone, 2010, p. 188). The article traces diff erent and often contradictory modes of fan nostalgia connected to WoW, such as tactile feelings of technostalgia (Bolin, 2015), deeply personal and anchoring types of nostalgia in the form of totemic objects (Proctor, 2017), manifested through fan practices of collecting digital items and souvenirs (Geraghty, 2014), and interwoven with desirable and appropriate self-identity and self-narrative (Williams, 2014). In reading these modes of nostalgia, the article argues that they ultimately function as a sort of ‘homecoming’, as the gamers’ many different experiences of the game and media texts surrounding the game all come together as complex attempts of memory work, creating the possibility of establishing a home within their fandom.
... For most of the fans interviewed, the yearly convention PortmeiriCon has been important for this relationship. Fan conventions are one of the oldest of fan traditions (Booth & Kelly, 2013;Geraghty, 2014;Porter, 2004;Zubernis & Larsen, 2018), drawing fans to specific locations to socialize and celebrate their objects of fandom. Ranging from large, multi-fandom events like San Diego Comic-Con to smaller, more focused events like PortmeiriCon, they have long provided a way for fans to meet others interested in the same things and to provide a physicality to what would otherwise be ephemeral relationships, either with the objects of fandom themselves or other fans. ...
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This article investigates the potential role and use of place in long-term fandom, via a case study of fans of The Prisoner and its main filming location of Portmeirion in North Wales. Much research on film tourism focuses on one-time encounters, but fans of The Prisoner have been visiting and revisiting Portmeirion regularly for over 50 years, potentially developing a different sort of relationship with it. Based on interviews with 16 long-term fans of The Prisoner and participatory observation on site, we develop the concept of the “fan homecoming,” a return visit to a familiar fandom-related place, and show how this relationship with place can shape long-term fandom. In facilitating repeated and ritualized practices, being able to regularly gather with other fans, and providing a “safe vault” for the fandom and its memories, place is shown to have an integral role.
... El recuerdo de los sábados en la mañana con las tradicionales caricaturas y las series como Small Wonder o las noches con Alf o Out of This World no implica solamente un volver al pasado, son un llamado al presente en el que los niños de los 80 -Mike, Eleven, Dustin, Lucas y Will-son actores del consumo y de la resemantización fetichizada de sus propios recuerdos (Geraghty, 2014;Heath & Potter, 2005). Justo este punto permite explicar como la nostalgia explota en medio de la realidad hiperconectada, de la verdadera aldea global (McLuhan & Powers, 1989). ...
Conference Paper
Programas de televisión como Alf, Small Wonder y Out of this world, así como la película Goonies, no solo despertaron nuestra imaginación, sino que también nos trajeron imágenes de los Estados Unidos donde los niños se involucrarían en emocionantes aventuras. Los finales de los años ochenta fueron el punto más alto de la transmisión pública de televisión en abierto de Colombia, antes de la creación de las compañías de cable en 1988 y los desarrollos con la radiodifusión por satélite y televisión privada. Los programas de televisión estadounidenses llegaron a Colombia por lo general dentro de uno a tres años después de su transmisión original, y debido a nuestro sistema de programación diferente, presentamos muchas repeticiones dentro de su tiempo de transmisión, quemando cada vez más nuestras memorias.En esta ponencia nos proponemos presentar el impacto, la importancia y la influencia de varias series estadounidenses de los años ochenta para la generación de televisión colombiana, y cómo esta influencia determinó una variedad de productos de televisión colombianos, incluida la Telenovela de Aventura Calamar. Colombia pasó de TV en su mayoría en vivo y productos enlatados extranjeros en los años setenta a una mezcla de productos enlatados nacionales y extranjeros, con una mayor difusión de programas en los tres canales públicos disponibles en los años ochenta.
... El recuerdo de los sábados en la mañana con las tradicionales caricaturas y las series como Small Wonder o las noches con Alf o Out of This World no implica solamente un volver al pasado, son un llamado al presente en el que los niños de los 80 -Mike, Eleven, Dustin, Lucas y Will-son actores del consumo y de la resemantización fetichizada de sus propios recuerdos (Geraghty, 2014;Heath & Potter, 2005). Justo este punto permite explicar como la nostalgia explota en medio de la realidad hiperconectada, de la verdadera aldea global (McLuhan & Powers, 1989). ...
Conference Paper
TV Shows like Alf, Small Wonder and Out of This World, as well as the film Goonies, not only sparked our imagination, but brought us images of the US where kids would engage in exciting adventures. The late eighties were the highest point of Colombian Free-to-Air public television broadcasting, before the creation of cable companies in 1988 and the developments with satellite and private TV broadcasting. American TV shows arrived to Colombia usually within one to three years after their original broadcast, and due to our different scheduling system, presented many re-runs within their broadcasting time, burning deeper into our memories. Stranger Things brings back the memories of the heyday of Colombian television in a way dissimilar to the US. It was the central aesthetics of our generation, the true TV generation of Colombia. In this presentation we would like to present the impact, importance and influence of various American series of the eighties for the Colombian TV generation, and how this influence determined a variety of Colombian TV products, including the Adventure-Telenovela Calamar. Colombia went from mostly live TV and foreign canned products in the seventies, to a mixture of national and foreign canned products, with a greater spread of shows over the three public channels available, in the eighties. That generation is the one that now has access to Netflix, and a product such as Stranger Things immediately brings back memories of a time where we all used to watch the same TV shows. Similarly, the national public broadcaster Señal Colombia has been showing re-runs of the major Colombian shows of the eighties, and recent TV shows have also tapped into the nostalgia.
... Discussions of adult activities with toys most often dismiss the play involved and invoke instead collecting, engaging in a hobby, or being a fan of toys. Indeed, play-although identified and acknowledged as behavior involving adult object relations with toys-is usually considered almost exclusively to represent goaldriven activities such as collecting (see e.g., Rehak 2013;Geraghty 2014;Garlen 2014;and Godwin 2015). Moreover, toy play performed by adults-for example, surrounding oneself with kawaii objects (Yano 2013) at an adult age-can sometimes be an act of escapism, and escapism can also be associated with the imaginary worlds of adults (Saler 2012). ...
Article
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Toys both guide and foster the play-and stimulate the imaginations-of players of all ages. The authors investigate adult use of toys as a point of entry to the world play of both transmedia-connected and stand alone toy characters-dolls, action figures, and soft toys. They point to how adult toy players engage actively in world building in their world play and suggest that play better describes the object relations of adults with toys than such notions as collecting or pursuing a hobby. They discuss how adults use world playing with toys to develop toy industry back stories and replay-and sometimes revolutionize-original story lines familiar from popular fiction. And they highlight how mature audiences for character toys employ these physical objects to explore their capacity for imaginative, spatial, and hybrid world play.
... sixth scale action figures (Geraghty 2014;Godwin 2014Godwin , 2015aGodwin , 2015b. Most of these items begin as identical mass-produced toys. ...
Preprint
Material fan practices such as customization and collecting cannot be separated neatly from corporate mass production. To encourage consumption, corporations appropriate many aspects of material fan practices, such as framing choice as customization and mass-produced merchandise as rare collectibles. Meanwhile fans sell and trade multiple versions of their creations in a form of mini-mass-production. Moving beyond an artificial value-laden binary opposition between fan and corporate practices, it would be more productive to focus on how both satisfy urges to create something of one’s own. The personal investment of time and effort offers an expression and extension of self. Thus multiple supposedly distinct fan practices interconnect: customizers modifying or creating beloved fan objects, customers selecting from pre-determined options to make their own variations on shoes, phone cases, and other merchandise, shoppers seeking slight variations in seemingly identical items, or collectors assembling work created by corporations or other customizers to display their own creations. In all of these practices, mass-produced merchandise offers opportunities for control, individual meaning and self-expression.
... Rather, it is a shorthand both for the emotional responses of consumer-users to a product, but also the role of that product in social rituals, as iconic exemplars of other eras, and of defining the self in relation to others in the counter-cultural rejection of the contemporary. In this regard, nostalgia may be linked to cult communities that collect 'memorabilia', share experiences and also of course provide for a trade in such items (Geraghty, 2014). Moreover, nostalgia can transform a mundane event (such as driving a car) into an experiential moment, and this can be a commercial opportunity to be exploited (Hamilton and Wagner, 2014). ...
Article
The Rogers model of innovation diffusion, first proposed in 1962, has long featured in accounts of the penetration of new product technologies into society. The contention in this paper is that this model is in fact only half complete, for it deals exclusively with the uptake of new technologies rather than their retention or abandonment. Taking the Rogers model as a point of departure, this paper seeks to draw on the literature on nostalgia to characterize consumers who retain a specific technological artefact in the form of the car, then identify business models designed for those consumers. The paper therefore analyses the relatively neglected contribution of extended product lifetimes within circular economies and within the broader concept of socio-technical transitions for sustainability. The relevance of this contribution is that product longevity is one means by which lifestyles characterised by material affluence are reconciled with resource scarcity. Product longevity has the potential to contribute to slowing down the ‘velocity’ of material flows within the circular economy, and hence to the deferment of the investment of further energy (and materials) into the next cycle of consumption. Taking examples from the automotive industry and cars, the paper argues that the ‘post-peak’ (or post-production) retention of technologies may offer insights into both the viability and character of business opportunities, and a possible transition pathway into a post-consumer economy. The attraction of the post-production economy is in turn attributed to the concept of consumer nostalgia through which emotional engagement is translated into alternative forms of production and consumption.
... Just as the longevity of transmedia franchises hinges on fan loyalty, Coulson's connection to his fan object is long held. Lincoln Geraghty (2014) has suggested that fan collection is driven by nostalgia, and Coulson's affect for Captain America is driven by a perceived purity of superheroes past. For example, after Coulson remarks that he has given input on the redesign of Captain America's costume, and Rogers retorts that the "stars and stripes" motif might be a bit too "old-fashioned," Coulson reassures him that in the midst of tumultuous times, "People might just need a little old-fashioned. ...
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This article contends that the transmedia franchising model pioneered by the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has worked to structurally produce an industry-Approved conception of an everyfan. This transmedia everyfan, modeled as an avid consumer, collector and completist, importantly privileges stereotypically male-dominated modes of fan engagement, and works to contain or circumvent the transformative textual work performed predominantly by female fans. Though a close (para)textual analysis, this article uses the character of S.H.I.E.L.D Agent Phil Coulson as an allegorical lens to consider how transmedia fan participation is constructed, valued, and gendered in our current franchise-heavy mediascape.
... Although recent Generations (the name given for each new release) saw a decline in sales, the franchise as a whole is still one of the most successful in terms of software sales, with over 280 million units sold worldwide (The PokémonCompany, 2017). This is possibly due to the psychological enjoyment of collecting items, relating to a hobby (Geraghty, 2014), or even due to the strong social aspect, especially considering age and social comparison (McIntosh & Schmeichel, 2004). Collectors take enjoyment in boasting their accomplishments, and gamers are no strangers to this (Tondello, Wehbe, Toups, Nacke & Crenshaw, 2015). ...
Article
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Pokémon is one of Nintendo's largest, most influential franchises. With a history ranging more than twenty years, its enormous fan-base spans video and trading card games, anime TV shows and films, amongst other media. This paper aims to investigate the Pokémon fan community while exploring how the franchise has grown: from its beginnings as a pop-culture phenomenon, to one of the strongest and friendliest gaming fan communities in existence today. Data gathered from 165 online respondents examines how fans' past experiences with the franchise inform their expectations towards future products. It also explores how considerable efforts from developers – as well as the gaming community – contribute to the creative growth of a continually-expanding fan-base. Additionally, this study was in a unique position to gather data before two new Pokémon games were released: Pokken Tournament and Pokémon GO. The former did not generate high expectations but still performed well in terms of sales. The latter was thought of as a casual game but, as the world now knows, was a tremendous success. Insights obtained from researching fan attitudes to unreleased games show that expectations do not always become reality.
... Popular narratives, like the toytropes employed in the Toy Story franchise movies, play on the ideas that good toys are recycled and given the possibility to re-enter the sphere of play through engagement by new players. Again, the concept of longevity is employed in the chapter at hand in parallel to examples of toys to reflect on the ways certain toys are designed to endure time: Through a sustainable design process, they aim at both durability and endurance-a status of classics, rather than curiosities, which may finally become cult objects (Geraghty, 2014). As such, toys with long-term allure and play value acquire a seemingly permanent place in the toy market, in the players' hands and minds, and by a presence on the shelves and social media sites curated and cultivated by the enthusiasts of contemporary toy cultures. ...
... [2.2] First, fan studies needs to look closely at the impact fan histories have on fan communities themselves. Fan-made histories often cover aspects that have been excluded in broader debates, such as detailed histories of paratexts, merchandise, and spin-offs, or local aspects of fandom and reception (Geraghty 2014;Mukherjee 2014). But fans also use the history of their objects of fandom to tell their own life stories, merging autobiographical with historical writing and juxtaposing private and public perceptions of the past (Hills 2014). ...
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Editorial for "Fandom Histories," edited by Philipp Dominik Keidl and Abby S. Waysdorf, special issue, Transformative Works and Cultures, no. 37 (March 15, 2022).
... It combined listening, record collecting, accumulating expert knowledge, and discussing songs with my brothers. I never joined a community, made music, art, or fiction because of it (see Geraghty 2014). My interest in recordings was both intellectual (exploring creative wordplay) and musical (listening for pleasure). ...
Chapter
As researchers, when we study media fandom, are we all studying the same thing? This chapter examines how disciplinary boundaries have shaped the author's research trajectory as a music fandom researcher. As part of this it surveys responses to his more general textbook, Understanding Fandom (2013). It is argued that although we would benefit, as fandom scholars, from becoming more aware of the specificity of our fannish objects and existing disciplinary concerns, we can still mutually benefit from a nuanced communal discussion. To do this, however, we may need to be more aware of our particular trajectories and how they shape each of our enquiries.
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In this essay, I describe how adult fans of the Star Wars universe engage actively in world-building through world-play. What distinguishes world-play from world-building, as proposed by Wolf (2012), is an understanding that adult toy play involves more than mere collection of toys, the most prominent concept in both hobbyist and theoretical writings on adults' relationships with toys. In my analyses of visual and narrative data collected with adults, I have concentrated on profiling the types of adults who play with toys (Heljakka, 2013) and mapping out popular play patterns and motivations to play in reference to mass-produced toys (e.g., Heljakka, 2012; 2013; 2015). The essay at hand aims to investigate how adults' play with Star Wars toys also entails elements of world-building in terms of both imaginative and spatially emerging object play patterns. Moreover, my study explores the employment of narratives from the original Star Wars films as texts and a source for contemporary fan play. Focus will be given to how the story-worlds of George Lucas, now imagined further by Disney and its storytellers, impact the current world-playing practices of Star Wars fans.
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This interdisciplinary paper presents an autoethnography of an author who self-publishes her own fanfiction via print-on-demand (POD) services. It reflects upon the subject of fan writer as self-publisher, touching upon shifting notions of authorship, the format of the book, and literary practice, with implications for both fan studies and Library and Information Science (LIS). While its findings cannot be generalised to the wider fan community, the paper posits five reasons for this practice: (1) the desire to publish a work that is technically, if not necessarily creatively, unpublishable (due to copyright laws); (2) the physical presence of the book bestows ‘thingness’, physical legitimacy, and the power of traditional notions of authorship to one’s work; (3) the materiality of the book and the pleasure afforded by its physical, tactile, and haptic qualities; (4) books can be collectible (fan) items; (5) self-published books can act as signifiers both of the self-as-author and one’s creative journey. The paper recommends further study be conducted on a wider scale, engaging other self-publishing fanfiction authors in their own practice to test the conclusions presented here.
Chapter
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Studying porn consumers as fans supports useful intellectual moves for arguments in both fan studies and porn studies. A problem for fan studies is that as its object of study has expanded to include a range of behaviors beyond the most obviously positive and productive the question has arisen “Who isn't a fan?”. A problem for studies of porn studies is that dominant academic approaches to studying pornography consumption have favored models of consumers as agentless, i.e., addicts or objects of media effects. Studying porn fans addresses both these problems by returning our attention to the agency of porn consumers. Fan studies is defined as the study of agentic cultural consumption, this is neither tautological nor unimportant, but continues to provide a robust and meaningful project for academic research. With this insight in place, this chapter considers some examples of porn fandom, including collecting practices, taxonomizing, evaluation practices, and community building.
Chapter
Research on the role of the body in fandom is scarce, but much needed. Increasingly, clothing lines and couture take inspiration from pop‐culture and cater to fans. This chapter explores fan fashion through the lens of the creative industries and fandom itself, by reflecting on the case study of The Hunger Games. Professional clothing lines and make‐up lines are catering to fans, but fans themselves are also creating original designs inspired by pop‐culture. The Her Universe fashion show at San Diego Comic Con, for instance, showcases the best couture created by and for fans. By analyzing this emerging field, the chapter provides insights into fan couture, and draws from fan studies scholarship and fashion theory. It argues that the emerging phenomenon of fan couture is an example of how bodies, media, and fan identity interlace.
Chapter
This chapter offers an overview of work on endings and post‐object fandom (Bore and Hickman 2013; Chin 2013; Whiteman and Metivier 2013; Jones 2014a, 2014b), exploring fan reactions to the ending of the television series Hannibal on its original US network NBC. It situates previous studies of endings within the context of our understandings of fans’ emotional and affective attachments, their fan self‐identity and narratives, and their engagement with the producers of favorite fan objects. This chapter also considers how fans can work through reactions to periods of ending and transition, and continue their “post‐object” or “interim fandom” (Williams 2015) through material practices. It brings together work on fandom and endings with studies of “object‐oriented” fandom (Rehak 2014) by considering the material practices that fans can engage in during periods of post‐object or interim fandom, focusing on the opportunity to bid on props and costumes from Hannibal in the 2016 post‐series auction.
Chapter
This chapter explores approaches and understandings of fan studies to theorize forms of (higher‐cultural) media consumption where fandom may not be explicitly or commonly used as a discourse by participants, but where fan‐like activities and practices can nevertheless be shown, analytically, to be significant. Thus “implicit fandom” becomes one meaningful future direction for broadening the scope of how we understand “fandom” and the array of cultural artifacts we could articulate with fan discourses. To exemplify these debates, a case study of “fans” of a contemporary “Great Author,” Jonathan Franzen, considered as part of the “new literary middlebrow” (Driscoll 2014) is presented. This includes theorizing fan‐like activities such as debating Franzen's work online, attending talks and literature festivals, and collecting signed first editions.
Chapter
While convergence culture allows for the remediation of childhood media of yesteryear, it also allows adult fans to reconnect with their own youth and transform contemporary identities by including visible links with their past. Nostalgia for childhood should be viewed as an integral part of keeping in touch with the self and as an anchor to a personal history which can be remade, recreated, and remolded at the touch of a button or the purchase of a new toy. Through an analysis of key media franchise products such as LEGO Dimensions and online videos where fans re‐edit and mash together media texts, this chapter will consider the reconstruction of personal and public memories of childhood in the digital sphere and assess how adult fans play with nostalgia in the transformation and construction of a new media identity within the wider online community.
Chapter
This chapter looks at how the accrual of fan social capital influences the hierarchies of fandom, despite early claims that fan communities are democratic communities free of hierarchies. Online fan forums, fansites with connections to celebrities and “The Powers that Be” of popular media texts often have set rules and regulations to ease management of the community/site. These gatekeeping strategies help fan community leaders and fansites’ administrators maintain order, as well as facilitate communication between fandom and content creators. What it also determines is a hierarchical structure within fan communities whereby fans with social connections as well as technological expertise and knowledge take on the roles of fan leaders. Despite the growing popularity of Twitter and Tumblr among fans, and arguments that suggest social media spaces break down traditional concepts of the fan community, the accumulation of social capital remains important as fans strive to receive some form of acknowledgment from their favorite celebrities.
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Em pesquisa anterior (Lopes et al., 2015) sobre fãs-curadores da ficção televisiva brasileira na internet, verificamos que o processo que denominamos autoconstrução do fã envolvia questões geracionais e histórias de vida, exigindo uma estratégia metodológica que permitisse captar a diversidade de posições e papéis existente entre os fãs. Em meio a essa pesquisa, conceitos como pesquisador-insider (Hodkinson, 2005) e aca-fã (Jenkins, 2011) nos estimularam a olhar para o nosso próprio campo acadêmico. Decidimos, assim, investigar comportamentos e práticas de certos agentes desse campo: os acadêmicos brasileiros que têm a ficção televisiva como seu objeto de estudo. Pretendemos expandir a tipologia de fãs anteriormente proposta por Lopes et al. (2011), acrescentando a ela o acadêmico que é fã, o aca-fã. Acreditamos que a reflexão teórica sobre o lugar do fã no campo acadêmico e a exploração desses sujeitos, além de contribuir para o avanço dos estudos de fãs, pode esclarecer certas dimensões de ordem epistemológica do envolvimento entre o pesquisador-fã e as telenovelas ou demais ficções televisivas. Colaboraram na pesquisa os bolsistas do Centro de Estudos de Telenovela da Universidade de São Paulo (CETVN-USP): Eduardo Tavares (FAPESP); Diana Soares (FAPESP); Roberto Simão (IC-CNPq); Patrícia Ribeiro (AT-CNPq) e Rafael Crema (AT-CNPq). | How to cite this work (APA Style): Lopes, M. I. V., Greco, C., Castilho, F., Lemos, L. M. P., Pereira, T., Lima, M., Néia, L. M., & Ortega, D. (2018). Sujeito acadêmico e seu objeto de afeto: aca-fãs de ficção televisiva no Brasil. In M. I. V. Lopes (Ed.), Por uma teoria de fãs da ficção televisiva brasileira II: práticas de fãs no ambiente da cultura participativa (pp. 367–404). Sulina.
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This chapter analyses media coverage of, and public commentary about, the closure of video stores across Australia. The analysis uncovers narratives that explain how the public understands what Australian consumers have lost following the decline of video stores, or will lose in a post-video store era: from the materiality of filmic objects to, paradoxically, the loss of a perceived ease of access. These narratives complicate the notion that video stores house outdated objects and practices that are being replaced by superior digital products. Instead, by turning to how Australian audiences fondly recall, mourn or defend video stores, this chapter uses these discussions to map how audiences understand the changing nature of screen consumption.
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Nostalgia is a recurrent word in both mainstream and academic discourses about comics. The contours and specific features of the allure of nostalgia, however, often remain undefined: What do we mean, exactly, when we say a graphic novel is nostalgic? By performing a close reading of Seth’s It’s a Good Life If You Don’t Weaken (1996), my contribution aims to build a critical framework that explores different levels (structure, motifs, and style), allowing a better understanding of what constitutes the nostalgic aura of a given text through taking into account structural characteristics, thematic elements, and stylistic features.
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Whitney Monaghan’s interest in the ephemeral affective dimensions of mashup video by queer girls also thinks through the creative possibilities of editing and recombining video clips within subcultural practices of invention and resistance. Thinking about the value of queer girl mashups within a broader context of visual exclusion becomes important in helping Monaghan make sense of the cultural and emotional value of these participatory fan texts. Exploring the tensions between the desire to archive cherished popular culture elements within creative projects that are fleeting and provision within online digital environments, she demonstrates the unique ways in which queer screen cultures are situated in relation to affect and temporalities.
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Kenner Star Wars toys (1977–1985) revolutionized the action figure industry and tangibly connected fans to their beloved fictional storyworld. Over the past 40 years the toys have become a force of their own and an intrinsic part of the franchise. Toy collection is an almost ubiquitous expression of Star Wars fandom and some attention has been paid to its significance. Less explored is the role toy commercials played in cultivating an enduring legacy of fandom. Most of the classic commercials are available, either individually or in curated compilations, via YouTube, and their memorialization should not be dismissed as mere nostalgia. Today the toys and commercials are connections to Star Wars and generational identity markers that highlight the central role of both in the transmedial experience of Star Wars.
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The article introduces the concept of periphery fandom, a concept that is new in the debate on consumer culture, to interrogate global fan community productive experiences from various geographical locations. Periphery fandom is defined as a sub-ordinated fan community experience, where members are deprived of access to their objects of fandom. Periphery fandom also refers to a fan productive experience that is detrimental to the fan community ethos. This notion of periphery fandom is underpinned by insights from fandom studies, brand community scholarship, and core and periphery theories. Using adult fans of LEGO as an example, this article demonstrates the character of periphery fandom. By contrasting the data gathered from 2014 to 2019 during UK, Japan, USA, and Brazil LEGO fan events, this study reveals how fans’ divergent productive practices and community experiences are influenced by their geographical location. Moreover, the fan productive experiences from the periphery further hinder their creative expressions and visibility, creating a more fragmented global brand fandom landscape. This study overall advances a contribution to the fandom debates by contrasting fan production and fan brand experiences.
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This preliminary study asks what genres and languages are translated by fans in the Vietnamese context, using a methodology based on distant reading of materials available on the Youtube website. While there is a growing body of work on fandom and fan translation, little focuses on postcolonial locations such as Vietnam. Due to its history of colonisation and the shifts in language use that have resulted from colonisation and independence, there is a long history of voluntary translation in Vietnam that has contributed to the development of a thriving fan translation culture in the Vietnamese language. After examining the postcolonial position of Vietnam and the history of voluntary translation in the country, this article examines the first hundred videos found on Youtube using the search term “Vietsub”. Youtube was chosen for its popularity and international reach, as well as the abundance of Vietnamese subtitled videos on the website. The findings show that many of the videos come from Asian countries such as Korean and China, questioning the hegemony of Anglophone text production seen in fan studies. Furthermore, the main genres for translation on Youtube are TV shows and songs, highlighting fan investment in popular media.
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This chapter explores the ethos surrounding video game history preservation: the ethical concerns of creating a research and history archives. The ethos behind the choices made during preservation can have a significant impact on what is preserved. Many ethical challenges are centered on copyright laws, which are dependent upon different groups’ core values—for instance, production companies and their market economy versus fans and their gift economy. Drawing on information science scholarship, this chapter explores participatory archives which shift the focus away from the archival objects and instead emphasizes the users and contributors to the archive. The resulting archive is a collaborative, cooperative endeavor, one that respects and embraces the ethos of all who participate.
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Here I build upon Robert Orsi’s work by arguing that we can see presence—and the longing for it—at work beyond the obvious spaces of religious practice. Presence, I propose, is alive and well in mediated apocalypticism, in the intense imagination of the future that preoccupies those who consume its narratives in film, games, and role plays. Presence is a way of bringing worlds beyond into tangible form, of touching them and letting them touch you. It is, in this sense, that Michael Hoelzl and Graham Ward observe the “re-emergence” of religion with a “new visibility” that is much more than “simple re-emergence of something that has been in decline in the past but is now manifesting itself once more.” I propose that the “new awareness of religion” they posit includes the mediated worlds that enchant and empower us via deeply immersive fandoms. Whereas religious institutions today may be suspicious of presence, it lives on in the thick of media fandoms and their material manifestations, especially those forms that make ultimate promises about the world to come.
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This chapter draws upon theories of transmedia storytelling and the history of character toys to explore transmedia play—the bricolage of mobilizing licensed toys to explore transmedia worlds—in LEGO Star Wars. This chapter delves into the paradoxical ways LEGO’s story toys adopt a filmic logic that faithfully reproduces canon, even as its media paratexts adopt a toy-centric logic that playfully reimagines canon. Theorizing this paradox as a constitutive tension between play and dis-play, this chapter traces how the bricolage of transmedia play mobilizes fixed signifiers to simultaneously script narrative play and play with narrative scripts.
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This chapter explores three examples of digital animation which conspicuously emulate handcrafted, cutout, home-made techniques, interrogating the various functions these imperfect aesthetics serve. Charlie and Lola’s montage style aligns the show with traditional culture aimed at and made by children, Comedy Central’s South Park evokes the amateur style of countercultural underground animation, while The Lego Movie’s stop-frame look connects with fan culture and adult toy animation. Variously producing a sense of naivety, unprofessionalism, playfulness and subversion, these aesthetic choices serve to negotiate tensions and contradictions circulating animation’s commercial, industrial and cultural status. In particular, the implication of a mythical child figure in these franchises’ production processes mediates their complex status as screen media, their relationship to modernity and technology and their appeal to audiences of adults and children.
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This article explores the critical reception of The Lego Batman Movie (Chris McKay, 2017) in the context of Batman’s long history of multimedia storytelling, anchored to divergent parallel narratives across numerous platforms, and the ways the film appeals to nostalgia through metatextuality. The manner in which critics championed The Lego Batman Movie and derided the earlier live-action Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (Zack Snyder, 2016) gave rise to a complex discourse around the cultural value of animation and the larger blockbuster superhero cycle, and discussions of morality, merchandising and commercialism. This article therefore engages with questions of animation’s apparent suitability for particular kinds of child-centric narratives regarded by critics as a vital part of American popular culture.
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LEGO toys, media and associated merchandise contribute to a complex narrative network of LEGO texts, working in tandem to underscore the new storytelling strategy’s preeminence. In this chapter, author Lincoln Geraghty argues that LEGO’s animated series and video games are part of the LEGO Group’s strategy for creating brand synergy: By reinventing established canon through paratextual production, LEGO both creates new audiences and offers franchise partners space to retell and resell older characters and storylines. The author’s analysis of Batman demonstrates LEGO’s DC Super Heroes media mix: texts and paratexts, animation and films, toys and games, history and narrative merging across multiple continuities. This chapter thus highlights the interconnected nature of corporate production, media content creation and transmedia world-building in the contexts of character development.
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The Cambridge History of Science Fiction - edited by Gerry Canavan January 2019
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Photo sharing sites such as Flickr are commonly regarded either as spaces where communal views and experiences evolve as a result of picture exchange, or as visual archives where sharing pictures in the present naturally leads to a collective interpretation of the past. This article proposes regarding Flickr as a social media platform annex database that enables the construction of infinite connections. Platforms such as Flickr are firmly embedded in a culture of connectivity, a culture where the powerful structures of social networking sites are gradually penetrating the core of our daily routines and practices. What is often called ‘collective memory’ or ‘cultural heritage’ in relation to digital photo sharing sites is largely the result of data linked up by means of computer code and institutional protocols.
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