What’s in a Name?

Another article about academics and fans; this time by a self-identified fan, interrogating her place in fandom and articulating the elitist residue of “high culture” versus “pop culture” beliefs.

Pearson, Roberta. “Bachies, Bardies, Trekkies, and Sherlockians.” Fandom. Eds. Harrington, C., Jonathan Gray, and Cornel Sandvoss. NYU Press. 98-109. 13 January 2013. Web. 8 June 2014.

steampunk_icon_for_Safari_by_yereverluvinuncleber-d4zhax0Which labels would people choose to apply to themselves and why? Do the words “fans”/”enthusiasts”/”devotees”/”aficionados”/”cognoscenti”/”connoisseurs” signal different degrees and kinds of engagements with the beloved object? (Pearson 99)

As John Frow argues, “There is no longer a stable hierarchy of value running from ‘low’ to ‘high’ culture, and ‘high’ and ‘low’ culture can no longer be neatly correlated with a hierarchy of social classes” (1995: 1). Frow’s cautionary quotation marks signal contemporary scholars’ uneasiness not only with correlating a hierarchy of value with social class but also with having to designate the steps of that hierarchy by distinct terms such as “high-”, “low-”, and “middle-brow.” (Pearson 99)

remainder of this article interrogates my own fandoms (Pearson 101)

Centrality to identity and social networks handily distinguish my fandoms from my enthusiasms. (Pearson 102)

if there truly is such a thing as a fannish disposition, then there should be many whose multiple fandoms range widely across fields of cultural production and up and down cultural hierarchies (Pearson 102)

Peterson and Kern provide empirical support for Gripsrud’s assertion, arguing that in the United States, there is an historical shift among the higher social categories from highbrow snob (one who does not participate in any lowbrow or middle- brow activity) to “omnivore” (capable of appreciating them all) (1996). (Pearson 103)

britain_william_shakespeare martinThe first and second generations of fan researchers insisted on attributing rationality to fans precisely to counter the popular image of the irrational fan so prevalent in the media (and still, it would seem, prevalent among Sherlockians). The third generation of researchers has insisted on the importance of fannish affect. (Pearson 107)

Expecting dissonances between Bachies and popular culture fandoms, I instead found harmony. Bachies are every bit as emotional as their popular culture counterparts and every bit as bloody minded about their own particular preferences… (Pearson 108)

RMCF (Rhetorical Memory Cosplay Fandom)

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