Always already Nerdfighters: Constitution of an activist fan community through interpellation

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Applying Althusser’s concept of interpellation, this study proposes a discourse theoretical approach to help understand the constitution of activist fan communities. In a discursive process, an ideology (defined as a framework of ideas through which we understand social existence) opens up a specific subject position that some people recognise and identify with. They are thus drawn into a certain way of thinking, speaking, and acting – as well as into a group or a community. The paper extends ideology theory by arguing that interpellation involves two stages: ‘recognition’ and ‘reaction’. Recognition involves ideology grabbing someone’s attention, and reaction, in turn, refers to that person either accepting or rejecting the ‘call’ of that ideology. The metaphor of interpellation helps make sense of how discourses and ideologies are acquired and spread and how groups and communities form around them. It is also suggested that ideology, in this sense, can inspire fan activism and empower members by making them aware of the possibility to act collectively. Empirically, the interpellative constitution of communities is demonstrated using the case of Nerdfighteria, an activist fan community formed around the YouTube channel Vlogbrothers.
Original languageEnglish
JournalParticipations : Journal of Audience and Reception Studies
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)47-66
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - May 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 512 Business and Management

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