Fandom and beyond: online community, culture and Kevin Smith fandom

Phillips, Tom (2013) Fandom and beyond: online community, culture and Kevin Smith fandom. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Fan studies literature has frequently been pervaded by the prevailing assumptions of what constitutes “fans” and their associated activities: fan art or fantext, cosplay, conjecture, activism – the things that fans supposedly do by definition –are those to which scholarly attention has most been paid. Yet the assumption that fandom can be defined by such explicit practices can be dangerous because of the subjective nature of respective fan cultures. Presenting a fan culture that questions the “assumed” nature of fandom and fan practices, this thesis is an examination of the fans of filmmaker and comedian Kevin Smith, investigating the ways in which community members negotiate and categorise their fandom and relationships with both each other and a communicative, media-literate producer.

Since 1995, the View Askew Message Board has provided a dialogical, communicative platform for fans of Kevin Smith to define themselves as a collective group – or more frequently – a community. Through autoethnographic discussion, as well as qualitative research conducted both
online and in person, this examination of users of the Board considers the nature of audience-producer relations, the intersection between on- and offline fannish and communal practices, and the extent to which the identity of “Kevin Smith fan” can be attributed within alternate contexts of fan productivity and (non) communal practice.

Contextualised by ongoing scholar-fan debate (Hills 2002; Gray et al. 2011), this thesis interrogates notions of fan practice, community, and classification, proposing further methodological and ethical considerations of the research of both explicit and implicit “fannish” practices. Through a netnographic framework (Kozinets 2010), this thesis is able to present a participatory approach to the study of online cultures, looking at how producer and fans simultaneously inhabit and inform the same cultural sphere, and how such
practices help to inform a community’s perception of their own fan culture.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Film and Television Studies (former - to 2012)
Depositing User: Jackie Webb
Date Deposited: 21 Jul 2014 11:39
Last Modified: 21 Jul 2014 11:39


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