Music Fans as Mediators in the Age of Digital Reproduction

Authored by: Arturo Arriagada , Victor Cruz

The Ashgate Research Companion to Fan Cultures

Print publication date:  September  2014
Online publication date:  April  2016

Print ISBN: 9781409455622
eBook ISBN: 9781315612959
Adobe ISBN: 9781317043485


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In their recent Fandom: Identities and Communities in a Mediated World (2007), Gray, Sandvoss and Harrington note two levels of analysis that have shaped fan studies. At the ‘micro level’, fan consumption has focused on the relations between fans and their objects, as well as individuals’ motivations (2007: 8). Abercrombie and Longhurst (1998: 138) likewise define fans as ‘people who become particularly attached to certain programmes or stars within the context of a relatively heavy media use’. Considering the importance of individuals’ attachments to various cultural flows, such definitions treat fans as engaged but individualised consumers of media products, without considering the social relations and shared values that congeal around them. Indeed, contemporary fan studies for the most part remain wedded to the notion of the fan as a ‘prosumer’ of texts, that is, as defined by their desire and ability to endlessly circulate and ‘remix’ cultural objects in a variety of social forums (Ritzer and Jurgenson 2010). Yet despite the term’s implication of a more active relationship between fan and object, that relation is not figured as a mutual process of cultural creation, and the different practices through which those texts are enacted in different social contexts also tend to be left out (Miller 1995). In short, on this model, fans and cultural producers act in parallel, relatively autonomous from one another.

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