Midwest Popular Culture Association/Midwest American Culture Association Annual Conference

Westberg, L. H. P. N. (Participant)

Activity: Attending an eventConference organisation or participation


In the Beginning was the Word - Citizenship in the Fandom Nation

It may seem obvious to fandom scholars that participatory fandom is a large international subculture. The sheer number of people attached to fandom probably exceeds those of a small country. Widening the scope to regard fandom as a culture similar to a nation and the participants as its citizens may provide researchers with a tool to better avoid the pitfalls of visiting Fandom Nation. Regarding fandom as a nation with rules and habits very different from our own might help us understand fans’ often harsh reactions to researchers and visiting non-fans, who are often perceived as intruders.
This presentation will provide an examination of how participatory fandom in many ways acts like a nation, both in peace and war, discussing to which degree fandom culture shares properties with physical nations. Looking into how national identity, power, politics and art are expressed in online participatory fandom culture, I will discuss how fandom fits into the framework of Benedict Anderson's theories on imagined communities. Analyzing various fan-used platforms and recent qualitative interviews with fans from a number of countries, I explore how the shared sense of fraternity, power, and temporality in fandom create this, the most imagined of imagined nations. The talk will provide examples on how Fandom Nation expresses and perceives these ideas, and on how peaceful, creative activities bind Fandom Nation's citizens together in a shared space with its own culture that is not only the labour of love, but the cultural output of a nation.
Period7 Oct 2017
Event typeConference
Conference number43
LocationChicago, IL, United States