These days the label ‘fan’ is a common colloquialism and can be referred to an enthusiast of anything, from sports, food to even fashion trends. That is to say, we use the term ‘fan’ loosely to describe our preferences towards something and anything. However, this usage is incorrect, as fans are actually specific recipients of popular culture. Fans are actually distinctive audience of various types of media, holding in-depth knowledge of the product and have continuous consumption of the said product (Siuda, 2010). In fact, fans are also described to be socially minded people, for they often create and join fan communities with likeminded people of similar interests.
The word ‘fandom’ originated from the mashing up of ‘fan’ and …show more content…
In it, Hebdige argued that communities of punks dedicated to specific musical genres were distinctive cultural entities by themselves. These groups challenged the authority of traditional mainstream British culture through their choice of clothing, body piercings, and style, which were regarded as ‘unsettling and disruptive to the status quo’.
As such, fandoms can be said to be subcultures in the sense the fans adopt their own linguistic codes and symbolic forms. This could be represented in their particular mannerisms, distinctive use of short forms and slangs as well as the possession of certain exclusive objects such as limited edition merchandise. For example, fans of popular British boy band One Direction are called ‘Directioners’, while Taylor Swift’s fans call themselves ‘Swifties’. In each of these exclusive communities, fans are socialized into having their own sets of socially accepted values and behaviors, understood only by fellow …show more content…
One key dividing line in fan studies is between pre-digital and digital era accounts. In fact, fans have been early adopters of communication technologies and their social practices are not limited by geographies. (Jenkins, 1992) Although research on fandoms and fan culture only gained momentum in the 1990s but we shall examine the evolution of fan studies and how academic views of fans have changed over the years.
In the beginning, fans were always associated with negative connotations and often stereotyped. During this first wave, fans were considered to be immature or social recluses that had difficulty interacting with others and articles mainly described them as exemplifying radical behavior. They were also seen to be excessive consumers and fanatics that were manipulated by the mass media industry.
Following which, the second wave took place around 1992. Things took a turn for the better for fans as there was a more positive ring to the label. Researchers did not consider fans to be irrational individuals anymore, but instead, regarded them as creative beings and members of communities that created their own culture. This happened at the time when the use of Internet within fandoms proliferated. Fans began interacting through it and uploading amateur self produced content