With reference to research, critically discuss how knowledge of 'fandom' and 'fan' activities has contributed to our understanding of media audiences.
Audience is an essential and necessary part in the transmission of information. The decoding of information and signs delivered through media relies on individual audience’s perceptions and perspectives. Fan and fandom is a crucial proportion in the media audience. As stated in the Fandom: Identities and Communities in a Mediated World (2007, p1), “most people are fans of something”. The status of fandom and the culture of fan are becoming more and more pervasive in the contemporary society because of the development of transmission technology and the popularity of mass media.
Definition of Fan and Fandom
The word “fan” is coming from its etymological Latin root “fanaticus” which means enthusiastic and frantic and it is recognized as individuals who are fanatically obsessed with certain subjects. In general, the group of fans can be further defined as fandom. Fandom is more than merely an individual activity of being a fan, but rather, it is a collective behaviour and communal strategy forming an interpretive community of certain sub-cultural cohesion “evaded the preferred and intended meanings of the power bloc” (Gray, Harrington and Sandvoss, 2007). Fandom takes the form of group through which participants will socially share imagined concept and ideology of the community. It consists of observable network of identifiable individual as fans.
Anti Fans and Non fans
The characteristics of subculture decide that the fandom is only possible to be accepted and supported by a certain group of audience rather than the whole. There are also anti-fans group and non-fans group existing as parts of media audience. According to Gray (2003), the anti-fans group is not against fandom. They are those who dislike the text or genre supported by fandom and consider the subculture of fandom