The Representation of Fandom in Mainstream Media: Production and Content Analysis of Flemish Television’s Superfans"

Hilde Van Den Bulck, Nathalie Claessens, Jelle Mast, An Kuppens

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paperResearch

Abstract

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 the reflection here upon by participants and tv producers. 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. Fan-idol relationships are shown to go beyond mere identification to include parasocial relationships and neo-religiosity. As such, results confirm the theoretical paradox between the television industry's promotion of celebrity to attract loyal audiences and the rejection of fandom as 'freaky business'.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Communication Association 64th Annual Conference
PublisherAll Academic
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2014
Event64nd annual conference of the International Communication Association (ICA), Communication and the "Good Life" - Seattle, WA, United States
Duration: 22 May 201426 May 2014

Conference

Conference64nd annual conference of the International Communication Association (ICA), Communication and the "Good Life"
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySeattle, WA
Period22/05/1426/05/14

Keywords

  • fandom
  • celebrity
  • media representation
  • popular culture

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