Autobiography and Long-term Fandom

Recent ethnographic research indicates that the participant observer must be direct about involvement in the culture about which she writes; therefore, autobiographical reasoning seemed like a good topic to examine.

I may be going in too many different directions, but with all these notes I was kind of “scoping out” the range of possibilities. While I won’t be able to post the chapter here (or it wouldn’t get published, which would not help me), I am going to be taking readers on the educational journey. When I need to know something, I usually want to know everything possible; after that I can figure out what I am going to use.

For me, focused research is too narrow. I have to see all the connections and make a giant basket of intertwined ideas in order to carry my thoughts into writing.

Is that how you do research? Is there a different (read better) way?

steampunk_icon_for_Safari_by_yereverluvinuncleber-d4zhax0Harrington, C. Lee and Denise D. Bielby. “Autobiographical Reasoning in Long-Term Fandom.” Transformative Works and Cultures 5 (2010). Web. 8 June 2014.

explore the social psychological processes through which fan-based experiences become situated in fans’ larger life narratives. … we examine how the psychological mechanism of autobiographical reasoning functions in fans’ construction of self-narratives over time. [0.1]

Here, we focus on one specific psychological mechanism—autobiographical reasoning—and explore its role in long-term fans’ construction of self-narratives. [1.1]

StudentAs part of the narrative turn taking place throughout the academy, psychologists have begun empirically researching the connections between narrative and self-development. Among developmental psychologists, for instance, storytelling is proposed to be “at the heart of both stability and change in the self” (McLean et al. 2007, 262), with the life story defined as a “selective set of autobiographical experiences that, together with interpretations of those events, explain how a person came to be who he or she is and projects a sense of purpose and meaning into the future” (Pasupathi and Mansour 2006, 798). [2.3]

We are particularly interested in how autobiographical reasoning may be attuned to different life stages, and how those in turn may be related to understanding a fan’s developmental trajectory. [2.5]

In a study comparing younger (late adolescence to early adulthood) and older (65 and over) persons, the older group had more narrative coherence to their reasoning and had more situated stories representing stability, while the younger group had more stories representing change (McLean 2008). This finding might help fan scholars account for the “I used to, now I…” dimension (or the past/present register; see Kuhn 2002, 10) of fans’ changing relationships with media texts as they age. [5.2]

there are at least three related reasons why media texts are important to consider from a developmental perspective: (1) early exposure to media texts shapes the legitimacy of such exposure (crucial with highly stigmatized texts such as daytime soaps); (2) this legitimized exposure, in turn, renders the fictional narrative a normatively appropriate developmental resource to call upon; and (3) fictional narratives such as soap operas offer powerful conceptions of emotional/experiential authenticity by which fans come to measure, appraise, or otherwise make sense of their own developmental and/or maturational processes. [6.2]

RMCF (Rhetorical Memory Cosplay Fandom)

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