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‘Get out of my fandom, newbie’: A cross-fandom study of elitism and gatekeeping in fans

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In the present article we discuss three studies aimed at better understanding elitism in the context of fan groups. The studies assess different facets of elitism, predictors of elitism and the potential outcomes associated with holding elitist beliefs. The survey studies were conducted on members of three distinct fan groups: furries (fans of media featuring anthropomorphized animal characters), bronies (adult fans of the television series My Little Pony) and anime fans (fans of Japanese animation). Elitism was found to include both self-inflation and other-derogation and is predicted by two components of fan identity (fanship and fandom). Elitism was also significantly associated with pro-gatekeeping attitudes and behaviours. Practical and theoretical implications for fan culture are discussed. We also discuss the limitations of the studies and their ability to contribute to a discussion about creating inclusive fan spaces.

Keywords: anime; brony; elitism; fandom; fanship; furry; gatekeeping

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: 000000041936842XBishop’s University 2: 0000000419370087Texas A&M University-Commerce 3: 0000000094778585New Mexico Highlands University 4: Renison University College-University of Waterloo 5: 0000000089303497Niagara County Community College

Publication date: June 1, 2020

More about this publication?
  • The multi – disciplinary nature of fan studies makes the development of a community of scholars sometimes difficult to achieve. The Journal of Fandom Studies seeks to offer scholars a dedicated publication that promotes current scholarship into the fields of fan and audience studies across a variety of media. It focuses on the critical exploration, within a wide range of disciplines and fan cultures, of issues surrounding production and consumption of popular media (including film, music, television, sports and gaming), The journal aims to address key issues in fans studies itself, while also fostering new areas of enquiry that take us beyond the bounds of current scholarship.
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