Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Fans and Fandom

I'm looking at the definition of Fandom and Science Fiction Fandom a bit.... in general, I find the useful definition is that fandom is a community of fans. There are, as one would expect, many different communities that all have the same interest.

And this all goes back to what does it mean to be a fan of something, and perhaps even more importantly, what does fandom actually mean?

If you've spent any time in any fandom, you'll realize very quickly that this isn't a non-controversial question.

I don't think the poltical sides of fan communities is all that different from any other ideological "virtual" community -- the same sorts of things appear in religious groups, political groups, civic groups, and probably all sorts of enthusiast groups and so on -- if there's any truth to Best in Show, there are elements of that in Dog Show communities, and I've seen it in the music-fan groups as well.

The comparison that I come back to is a religious one -- as part of the Lutheran service that I grew up with, one professes to believe in One Catholic Church -- of course, in a Protestant congregation, that's a bit strange. And I've encountered people who confuse a particular denomination with the religion as a whole -- people who assume that all Christians are Catholics, or that a particular belief is carried by all people of a certain faith, when there aren't a lot of beliefs that are shared by all people that might identify with a particular religious label.

I keep circling around this topic of what these communities mean -- and someday, I'd really like to focus on What It All Means in some extended, focused format, but I haven't quite figured out how I would want to go about it. It's a topic that interests me -- as a technological professional, as someone who is a science fiction and comic book enthusiast, and as someone who has done his share of organization and community building in those communities. And how these communities relate to what they are built around -- the community is not just about the material, as there are people that may be members of a fan community but have little current interest in the material that inspired the community.

I'm sure I'll get back to this topic again, as little things remind me of it from time to time...

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