Catching Fire? New Insights into the Nature of Fans' Parasocial "Romantic" Relationships with a Celebrity

Wohlfeil, Markus (2013) Catching Fire? New Insights into the Nature of Fans' Parasocial "Romantic" Relationships with a Celebrity. In: Fan Studies Global Network Symposium 2013, 2013-11-29 - 2013-11-30.

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Abstract

While consumers have always been fascinated by the works and private lives of celebrities, some consumers experience a significantly more intensive level of admiration for a particular celebrity and, subsequently, become what are commonly known as fans (Leets et al. 1995). However, scant attention has been paid to how the relationship between fans and celebrities expresses itself in everyday consumer behavior. Moreover, while the vast majority of fan studies have theorised fan culture from various critical perspectives (Fiske 1992; Hills 2002; Sandvoos 2005; Turner 2004) and/or investigated the social networks and dynamics between fans through ethnographic field research (Jenkins 1992; Kozinets 2001; O’Guinn 1991), even less is known about how and to what extent the fan-celebrity relationship occupies both a physical and mental space in the individual’s everyday life. This paper, therefore, explores celebrity fandom as a holistic lived experience from a fan’s insider point of view (Smith et al. 2007). By using an introspective research approach, I provide insights into my own personal everyday lived fan relationship with the actress Jena Malone (Wohlfeil and Whelan 2012). In drawing on narrative transportation theory, the study offers a deeper understanding of how and why a fan’s continuous personal engagement with both the celebrity’s creative work as a performer and the ‘actual’ private person behind the public image can take the form of a parasocial fan-celebrity relationship. What the fan perceives to be the ‘actual’ private person behind the celebrity’s public image is essentially his/her own intertextual reading of what s/he believes to be relevant and “reliable” media texts, which are subconsciously charged with one’s personal desires and projected back onto the admired celebrity. Subsequently, the fan can actually experience the feeling of “knowing” the celebrity like a close personal friend – or even develop romantic feelings of “love” for a person that s/he has actually never met.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: celebrity fandom,celebrity appeal,parasocial consumer-celebrity relationships,brand community,autoethnography
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > Norwich Business School
Depositing User: Pure Connector
Date Deposited: 04 Jul 2014 13:23
Last Modified: 22 May 2020 23:41
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/48661
DOI:

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