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Understanding Fandom: An Introduction to the Study of Media Fan Culture [Paperback]

Mark Duffett

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Book Description

Aug. 15 2013 1441166939 978-1441166937
Fans used to be seen as an overly obsessed fraction of the audience. In the last few decades, shifts in media technology and production have instead made fandom a central mode of consumption. A range of ideas has emerged to explore different facets of this growing phenomenon. With a foreword by Matt Hills, Understanding Fandom introduces the whole field of fan research by looking at the history of debate, key paradigms and methodological issues. The book discusses insights from scholars working with fans of different texts, genres and media forms, including television and popular music. Mark Duffett shows that fan research is an emergent interdisciplinary field with its own key thinkers: a tradition that is distinct from both textual analysis and reception studies. Drawing on a range of debates from media studies, cultural studies and psychology, Duffett argues that fandom is a particular kind of engagement with the power relations of media culture.

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In a world in which digital media are near ubiquitous, facilitating unprecedented access to and participation in mediated content, the affective preferences and attachments by which fans choose to engage with certain content over others out of the digital plethora of texts become central to understanding contemporary life and culture. Understanding Fandom offers an impressive overview of unparalleled scope in examining the many traditions, concepts and methodologies in the study of fans. It is an indispensable text for students and scholars alike. -- Cornel Sandvoss, Senior Lecturer, Department of Sociology, University of Surrey, UK An accessible overview that defines, organizes and develops fan studies as an area of inquiry. Mark Duffett is inclusive in his assessments and insightful in his suggestions. He offers a valuable compendium of what fandom can tell us about how we make--and are made by--our connections to popular culture. -- Joli Jensen, Hazel Rogers Professor of Communication, University of Tulsa, US Really useful text, the layout is very clear and easily accessible both for myself and for my students. The book is divided in to clear chapters with sub-headings throughout, making it easy to access specific information quickly. The research is current with a wide variety of useful examples relating to fandom. -- Emily Bowers, Swindon College, UK 20131107

About the Author

Dr Mark Duffett is Senior Lecturer in Media and Cultural Studies at the University of Chester, UK.

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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic overview of the field Feb. 10 2014
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Duffett's book is a much needed addition to the field of fan studies. It provides a thorough examination of the field and does not shy away from the messy and conflicting material and theories that underpin much of fandom studies. His writing is clear and not too heady, but certainly suited to the academic realm.

What makes this introduction so useful to the field is that it is far-reaching, combining multiple fandoms (with a stronger emphasis on televisual, music, and celebrity than others) in his examination, and also confronting many of the hot topics in the field (gender studies, online/offline practices, fan stereotypes). This book is clearly designed to be used in a media studies classroom, with opening questions and epigraphs for each chapter, a thorough glossary, and expansive reference list. In a particular bonus, he gives a nice overview of research in the field, examining the possibilities and restrictions of different research methods. This kind of approach to the text makes it highly adaptable to other areas/disciplines as a thematic approach to classes in sociology, anthropology, communication, and more. As a composition instructor, I have found it useful in my own classes to provide students with applications for examining literacy, genre, and research practices through a fandom studies lens.

While I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone who doesn't want to dive into complexity of fandoms, I found this book an important addition to the field, presented in an engaging and critical way. Duffett neither patronizes his readers by dumbing down the material nor alienates them by obscuring his prose in academese.
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