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Welcome to Fantasia: An Introduction

Hello, and welcome to Fantasia.

A place for exploring the ins and outs of fandom online, what it is, how it works, and how it has changed.

Our purpose is to explore the digital world of fandom in every sense, to educate for the uneducated, and to discuss with the uninitiated. Our goal is to explain fandom and fan culture easily to those who have absolutely no idea what we’re talking about and investigate how the rise of the Internet has changed fandom. For better or for worse; that is something you’ll have to decide as we go along.

What Is Fan Culture?

Football fans waving flags at a game

If you’re new to the concept of fan culture, you may be confused. If that is the case, some simple definitions may be in order.

In some sense of the word, we are all aware of the meaning of the word “fan”. We are all a fan of something, in some way or another. It could be your favourite sports team, it could be a film you love, it could be the YouTubers you watch, it could be the TV show you wait for new installments of every week. We’re all fans of something.

To use the online Oxford Dictionary definition (just in case anyone was unclear), a fan refers to:

“A person who has a strong interest in or admiration for a particular person or thing.”

(OxfordDictionaries.com, 2018)

And “culture” is defined as:

“The ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or society.”

(OxfordDictionaries.com, 2018)

Fan culture, then, is the amalgamation of the two: it means the ideas, customs and social behaviours of fans as a whole. And this is precisely what Fantasia aims to explore – how fan culture (that is to say, how fans express their beliefs and values) online.

What is Fandom?

Young Captain America fan holding copy of Highlights and blow up shield in cosplay

As well as “fan culture”, the word “fandom” will also be used liberally throughout Fantasia. Fandom is slightly different from fan culture in the way that it describes not how fans express their beliefs, but how they join together to do so.

Another definition, this time from Grinnell College’s Subcultures and Sociology Department:

“Fandom is a term which describes communities built around a shared enjoyment of an aspect of popular culture, such as books, movies, TV shows, bands, sports or sports teams, etc.”

(Grinnell College, 2018)

So fandom is the community, and fan culture is their shared values and actions. In this way, fandoms exhibit aspects of fan culture in how they engage with each other, how they express their shared love of whatever it is they are a fan of.

If any of these definitions aren’t clear, feel free to explore our glossary, where any words or phrases that may need some extra explanation will be listed to help with the experience.

Who’s Behind Fantasia?

Selfie of creator and author of Fantasia

Now that the formalities have been cleared up, you may be wondering who is behind Fantasia, and what it is that we aim to do.

To answer these: the author of Fantasia is Jess, a 20-year-old student at Bournemouth University. Currently in the second year of her Undergraduate Communication and Media course, her aim is to use Fantasia to educate anyone with an interest in fan culture about how it has changed since the introduction of the Internet.
With personal experience in fandom as a teen and the goal to share knowledge in accessible and simple ways, Jess has a large interest in media fandom in particular and is very much looking forward to sharing her research in the field with the world.

What’s Coming Up?

Multitude of birds in a line on a telephone wire

So, what can you expect from Fantasia? A lot, mostly.

There will be new posts every Monday that delve further into fandom and fandom online, including the history of fandom, how fans interact in the digital age, some discussion posts about well-versed subjects in fan communities, and, yes, lots of talk about fanfiction.

We hope that you are as excited as us to explore the world of fandom from the outside-in and look forward to seeing you next time.

 

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