Representation of fandom in mainstream media : analysis of production and content of Flemish televisions SuperfansRepresentation of fandom in mainstream media : analysis of production and content of Flemish televisions Superfans
Faculty of Social Sciences. Communication Sciences
Media, policy and culture
Visual and Digital Cultures Research Center (ViDi)
European journal of cultural studies. - London, 1998, currens
(2015), p. 1-16
University of Antwerp
By means of a qualitative analysis of Superfans, a five-part reality television series in which fans are followed in their daily activities, ranging from singing along at concerts to intimate camera confessions in a room dedicated to their idol, this article studies the representation of fandom in mainstream television and participants and TV-producers reflections upon it. Empirical content analysis and interviews reveal different aspects of fandom, as identified by Abercrombie and Longhurst, to dominate the representation: intense media use and fan productivity, strong hierarchical communities and a lack of critical interpretative skills. Fanidol relationships are shown to be based on emotions and to go beyond mere identification to include parasocial relationships and neo-religiosity. Results thus confirm the theoretical paradox between the television industrys promotion of celebrity to attract loyal audiences and the rejection of fandom through a carefully constructed representation hereof as freaky business.