Wikia Fandom Craze: Connecting, Participating, Creating, and Re-negotiating Boundaries

Despoina N. Feleki

Abstract


This article draws attention to latest online fandom practices that take place in online participatory environments as a result of intersecting technological and economic variables. After tracing the origins of fan practices in literary theories that regard readers as active agents in reading and meaning-making processes, the present study investigates fandom as a cultural event that is determined by changing technological, economic, and generic conditions. Through the study of Wikia—a vibrant online fan community—the article explores the de-territorialization of fan-fuelled media production and its re-territorialization as one of fans’ ways to enter what Pierre Bourdieu calls the industry’s “circle of belief.” Its wiki structure and technology as well as the latest smart Web tools that it employs allow fans to access, edit, and share media content, as they push the fuzzy boundaries between corporate and grassroots production further. The article maps out the efforts of media platform producers, of the industry, and of the fans to re-negotiate their roles and relationships, and looks into the different types of fan subjectivity that evolve as fans voluntarily succumb to the policies of the popular culture industry.

Keywords


convergence, corporate, grassroots, production, consumption, fans, online fandom, popular culture, sharing, participatory culture

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