To dismantle negative stereotypes of fans, this book offers a media ethnography of the digital culture, conventions, and urban spaces associated with fandoms, arguing that fandom is an area of productive, creative, and subversive value. By examining the fandoms of Sherlock, Glee, Firefly, and other popular franchises, the author appeals to fans and scholars alike in her empirically grounded methodology and insightful analysis of production hierarchies, gender, sexuality, play, and affect.
Professor Henry Jenkins (Textual Poachers, Convergence Culture) on Productive Fandom:
‘Nicolle Lamerichs’s new book, Productive Fandom: Intermediality and Affective Reception in Fan Cultures, embodies at least four key trends that seem important to me, each of which will get discussed over the next four installments, First, she represents the greater emphasis on the national specificity of fandom. Too often, early work — my own included — reads Anglo-American fan culture as “universal” or at least was not especially interested in its cultural specificity. Lamerichs, however, introduces a specifically European (and more particularly Low Country) vantage point within fandom studies. More than that, her interest in games and anime fandom encourages her to think about transcultural exchanges. A strength of her book are a series of ethnographic observations of different fan conventions and the cultural contexts within which they operate.
This focus on local particulars grows out of a second trend she represents — a shift back towards the physical world after several decades of emphasis placed on on-ine fandom. Of course, more and more, we recognize the complex integration that occurs across our physical and virtual lives, but she’s pushing us to reconnect with what we are missing about the material aspects of fandom.
And I see this focus on materiality as leading to a third concern with bodily performance. She is part of a growing emphasis in the field on cosplay, fan fashion, and the use of textiles as a means of expressing fan identities. Some of this has to do with bringing performance studies more decisively into conversation with fandom studies and some of it has to do with connecting fan studies with interests in fashion and craft
Finally, her work points to a larger and overdue engagement with affect studies within our field. In my own early work, I pushed back against the emotional dimensions of fandom in favor of what Matt Hills called the cognitive dimensions, though I still contend that the study of meaning is linked to the idea of meaningfulness which for fans has to do with affect as well as cognition. But we lacked the rich vocabulary for thinking about affect that has emerged across disciplines in recent years. I am excited to see some of that language begin to find its ways into fandom research.
Lamerichs is not alone in any of these interests, but her work makes serious contributions on each of these levels. – Read more in this interview with Henry Jenkins