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Finding the child fan: A case for studying children in fandom studies

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As fan studies increasingly explores understudied fan communities this article calls for the inclusion of children as a crucial overlooked group of fans. Drawing upon research that considers fandom throughout the life course, it argues that fandom is an important part of childhood and one that may look different than it does for adult fans. I argue, the extent to which children’s media consumption practices resemble fan practices has obscured the fact that children can be fans. In this article I consider the impediments to considering the fandom of children, the ways in which children may be acting as ‐ if not labelling themselves as ‐ fans, what doing so can offer both fandom studies and children’s media studies and I lay out some suggestions for beginning the process of examining the practices and sites of children’s fandom.
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Keywords: children; fandom; life course; play; third-wave fandom studies; youth media

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2019

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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