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Tuesday, June 16th, 2009 11:57 am
Well, hopefully I'll be presenting a paper at the Mid-Atlantic Popular/American Culture Association meeting in Boston in November. It'll also be the beginnings of my dissertation research, laying down the basis for the terms I'll be using and the groups I'll be looking at.

The abstract for the paper:

Caste Among the Outcasts: A Taxonomy of Fandom

Fandom is a collective subculture composed of fans of wide range of media whose shared interests serve as the basis of their communal identity. However, the term can be defined in a number of ways: narrowly to include only fans of a single celebrity, literary work, or television show, such as the Harry Potter fandom; widely to encompass all fans of a genre or hobby, such as Sci-Fi fandom; or broadly as Fandom, to refer to an interconnected social network of smaller fandoms, many of which have overlapping membership. Each fandom has its own jargon, body of common knowledge, and social mores by which it defines membership and excludes non-fans. Within this subculture members continually negotiate their own membership in relation to individual fandoms and Fandom as a whole, leading to a fluidly defined hierarchy of fans and fandoms. But, what makes Trekkies different from Trekkers when both groups identify as fans of the Star Trek franchise? Why is being a video gamer more socially acceptable than being a Live Action Role-Player or LARPer? This paper examines the negotiation of identity within Fandom and attempts to work towards a taxonomy of fans and fandoms.

I'll post the paper and an account of the conference in November and some notes on the research for the paper as I work on it.


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