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Anomie Theroy and the Furry Fandom

Anomie Theroy and the Furry Fandom

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Published by Shonise Douglas

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Published by: Shonise Douglas on Apr 18, 2012
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 Anomie Theory and the Furry Fandom998066104Shonise Marcia DouglasDUE: March 22
nd
, 2012University of Toronto MississaugaSOC211H5S
 
 
Socially deviant subcultures normally stem from a
n individual’s
rejection to societalnorms (Murphey & Robinson, 2008). When people do not receive psychological or spiritualfulfillment from everyday life, they turn to more deviant forms of personal comfort. Somepopular examples of this concept in action are goth, punk and hipster movements. In all of thesecases, the people involved in the subcultures are brought together by a common dislike or hatredtowards something (Murphey & Robinson, 2008). Whether it is politics, the economy, abuse athome or society in general varies from subculture to subculture (Featherstone & Deflem, 2003).However, there exists a subculture of people unified by a common love. Ironically, it is veryrarely observed by outside participants and its members are often secretive of their attendance.This subculture is known as the
 furry fandom
.Robert Merton justifies many forms of deviance with his anomie theory. In a nutshell, hisanomie theory describes deviance as the product of an individual who fails to achieve their goalsthrough legitimate means (Murphey & Robinson, 2008). Once numerous attempts to lead adesired lifestyle are failed, an individual is driven to take actions which are not considered to be
normal by their society’s norms
(Featherstone & Deflem, 2003)
. An example of Merton’s
anomie theory in action could be when someone takes to dressing in a gothic fashion because
they feel that mainstream society’s dress code does not suit their 
mental or psychological state.Drawing back to the furry fandom, here it should be established what a fandom is. Afandom is comprised of a large group of people who all share adoration for a single, often broadtopic(Stein, 2007). There are
 fandoms
 
for mostly all TV shows, cartoons and movie series’
(Stein,2007). Members of 
 fandoms
often host large-scale conventions where they discuss their
 
admiration for the shared topic while partaking in themed events and activities. Andi Stein writesin her article regarding a Muppets convention she attended:I realized that while I had long been a fan of the zany antics of the Muppets, my interestwas tame compared to some of these attendees. These were FANS
 — 
people whose liveswere deeply affected by the Muppets and who were wildly passionate about the fictitiouscreatures they had come to celebrate.Andi Stein notes that many of the convention attendees she encountered were clad in variousMuppets-themed clothing (Stein, 2007). In this case, these people are strictly fans of thecharacters and the universe they belong to. However, the furry fandom encourages itsparticipants to create their own original character; an animalistic persona. Members of the furryfandom refer to this avatar as a
 fursona
and they may spend considerable amounts of timechoosing an appropriate animal in accordance to their personality, creating a biography for itslife, attending conventions and possibly even drawing the character (Gerbasi, Scaletta, Plante &Bernstein, 2011). The ultimate step some members of this fandom take is purchasing or sewingtheir own costume, or
 fursuit 
in an attempt to become their animalistic persona. These actions setthe furry fandom apart from other fandoms because many of the members are more than simplyenthusiasts (Booth, 2009). Many people who belong to this fandom (also known simply as
 furries
) adapt a lifestyle of zoomorphism. This paper works towards making sense of these
 people’s choice of becoming furries
through consideration of anomie theory. According to
Robert Merton’s Anomie Theory, participants of the subculture known as
 furries
partake in

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