Bookblog: Back to the Fandom Study

Sadly, my investigation into the bullying phenomenon is going to have to wait for a professional or academic backer. In the interest of not making this project too difficult for myself, I am considering other options to build a support network before beginning the interviews, rather than networking through the project.

However, a recent read I picked up at the library, The Art of Immersion: How the Digital Generation Is Remaking Hollywood, Madison Avenue, and the Way We Tell Stories, has renewed my interest in my folklore studies project on the consutrction of narrative using social and cultural ideas. The book is a nerd’s read for sure, referencing multiple video games, science fiction and fantasy films, and comic books. But as Rose notes, these particular genres are ripe for fandom, which is the psychocultural phenomenon that most piques my interest and the best demonstration of how contemporary humans relate and create according to their stories.

My interest in the passion for story-sharing and making characteristic of geek culture began, of course, with my very nerdy friends in college who had an almost obsessive worship of all things “Star Wars” and James Bond. Though familiar with and fond of the franchises, I hadn’t realized the anthropological potential of this kind of fandom…nor the similarities between Bond and “Star Wars'” resident anti-hero, Han Solo, that empower such fandom.  Inspired, I wrote a literary analysis paper exploring the sociocultural construct of the “folk hero” as expressed in two distinct genres, and analyzed why these figures were of such importance to Americans, especially young male Americans. The possibilities of this research go far beyond the reach of a standard term paper, but I am still interested in expanding the project.

However, I would rather focus on the construction of narrative, which in a nutshell is what Rose does in The Art of Immersion.  Rose focuses on how stories are constructed socially, in particular with the benefits of modern technology. I, however, would focus on how stories are constructed using our common cultural experience and then distributed, reconstructed, and deconstructed through culturally prescribed means of storytelling. In other words, archetypes, myths, and sociophilosophical “truths.” Like Rose, I can think of no better way to explore this than the fantasy and sci-fi genres. And I suppose any genre would do, but I’d rather analyze the questions of gender and sexual power in “Buffy” than in “Jersey Shore,” thank you very much.