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SUSSEX STUDIES I N CULTURE AND COMMUNICATION Series Editor: Jane Cowan

University ofSussex
Books i n this series express Sussex's u n i q u e c o m m i t m e n t t o interdisciplinary w o r k at t h e c u t t i n g edge o f c u l t u r a l and c o m m u n i c a t i o n studies. Transcending the interface between the social a n d t h e h u m a n sciences, t h e series explores some o f t h e key themes t h a t define the particular character o f life, a n d t h e representation o f life, at t h e e n d o f one m i l l e n n i u m a n d t h e b e g i n n i n g o f the next. O u r relationships t o each o t h e r , t o o u r bodies and t o o u r technologies are c h a n g i n g . N e w concepts are r e q u i r e d , new evidence is needed, t o advancc o u r u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f these changes. T h e boundaries between disciplines need t o be challenged. T h r o u g h m o n o g r a p h s a n d edited collections t h e series w i l l explore new ways o f t h i n k i n g a b o u t c o m m u n i c a t i o n , p e r f o r m a n c e , identities, a n d t h e c o n t i n u a i refashioning o f meanings, messages, and images i n space and time.

FAN CULTURES
Matt Hills

CULTURAL Edited by Elizabeth

ENCOUNTERS Hallam and Brian Street

T H E HOUSE OF DIFFERENCE C u l t u r a l Politics and N a t i o n a l I d e n t i t y i n Canada Eva VIRTUAL Edited by Mike Crang, Mackey GEOGRAPHIES Phil Crang and Jon May

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B L O C O J

Bodies, Space and Relations

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VISUAL DIGITAL CULTURE Surface Play and Spectacle i n N e w M e d i a Genres Andrew FAN Darley

CULTURES MattHills

P U B L I C RAPE: Representing V i o l a t i o n i n F i c t i o n a n d F i l m Tanya Horeck

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Taylor & Francis Group

LONDON AND NEW YORK

Milton Park.HS5 2002 306. or other means. Oxon OX14 4 R N Simultaneously publishcd in the U S A and Canada by Routlcdge 270 Madison Ave.Psychology. Suflblk Ali rights reserved. now known or hereafter invented.1-dc21 2001051092 I S B N 0-415-24024-7 (hbk) I S B N 0-415-24025-5 (pbk) I N L O V I N G MEMORY OF ERNEST 'JIMMY' HILLS. N o part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or urilised in any form or by any electronic. 2. Tide. British Libtary Cataloguing in Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British library library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data Hills. 3. New York. including photocopying and recording. 4. I. mcchanical. without permission in writing from the publishers. 1. Bury St Edmunds. N Y 10016 Rcprínted in 2 0 0 4 . Matt 1971Fan Cultures / Matt Hills Includcs bibliographical references and index. Abingdon. 2 0 0 6 Kmtltigc is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group © 2002 Matt Hills Typesct in Galliard by Taylor & Francis Books Ltd Printed and bound in Great Britain by St Edmundsbury Press L t d . WINIFRED HILLS AND MARY L E W I N . Motion picture actors and actresses. Celebriries in mass media. or in any infòrmation storage or retricval system. 5. Subculture.Psychology.First publishcd 2002 by Roudedge 2 Park Square. Television viewers . Fans (Persons) . HM646 .

and throws them into a position of justificador). attachment. (Heúiich 1996: xiii) M y focus in this chapter o n ethnographies o f fàndom will lead me to suggest that ali too often fan 'justificaqons' are acceptcd as cultural fàcts by ethnographers. I have considcrcd h o w Bourdieu's model is unable to account for the moral dualisms which emerge within class fractions and within fan (sub)cultures. and this use o f the fàn has rcsulted in an extremely partial and limited examination o f fàn practices.. We were struck repeatedly i n our interviews and informal conversatíons with fàns by the strength o f their passion for. one forces them out of their participatory stance . and sheer 64 65 .. it is not just bccause the subject 'speaks for itseir... it cannot be assumed (as is so often the case i n cultural studies) that fàndom acts as a guarantee o f self-presence and transparent self-undcrstanding: We should emphasisc from the outset that the pleasure can be so intense that it almost cannot be articulated by those experiencing it. in inducing intcrviewees . but also because in matters of admiration and celebratíon every request for jusuficadon produces a backlash. and cven passion"" as wcll_a^ « u c ^ y ^ í l i e r "cDmensions o f commodificaSõn through w h i c h these p r o c e s s ê s a r e enablcd and cõnsttãined" "'" """ ' " ~ Fan ethnographies: emphasising the knowledgeable fan T h e significandy affcctive nature o f the fàn's attachment renders ethnographic methodology problematic i n this context. I w o u l d argue that the rccent boom in 'fan studies' has produced the figure o f 'the fan' within a highly specific cultural studies' narrative. T h i s means that Bourdieu and his followcrs ali have a tendency to read moral and aesthetic differences off from the master-grid o f class difference. to provide an account of their experience. FAN CULTURES BETWEEN 'KNOWLEDGE' AND 'JUSTIFICATION' [I]f I have not sought to get people to speak about .BETWEEN COMMUNITY AND HIERARCHY rationality'.. [their passion or fàndom]. By examining work o n psychotronic film. devotion to. or through a limited 'dommanty'subordinate' model. I w o u l d suggest.. Work o n fàndom has formed a key part o f the move towards valorising active audiences. rather than being subjcçted to further analysis. F a n d o m has been curiously emptied o f the dimensions w h i c h . For. most clearly define it: dimensions o f affect.

. Analysing the affective nature o f the fan-text attachment means that 'asking the audience' cannot act as a guarantee discusses i n the Doctor Who fanzine Skaro. and instead depicting these processes as fan 'knowledgcability'. these are o f t e n m e r e l y the e m p t y h o m i l i c s o f u n i m a g i n a t i v e p l o d d c r s . played a big part I still already be interested i n The Prisonerl do not knowí .is neatly encapsulated w i t h i n ( t h e n .. and for.P r e s i d e m o f 'Six o f O n e ' .. and immersion in the text concerned. w h a t d o w e share? Is i t the acting o f Patrick M c G o o h a n . as an alibi for the ethnographic process: given the fan's articulate nature. ' T h i s is w h a t makes Doctor Who so great' they ali say. failing to considcr processes o f auto-legitimatíon within fan culture. d r a w i n g their f a n pensions. Addressing the question ' w h y are y o u a fan o f this particular text?'. M y aim here is to reconsider fan discourse as a justification for fàn passions and attachments. . t o name b u t a f e w o f its m u l t i p l e genres. sci-fi. The Prisoner Prisoner: A p p r e c i a t i o n Society) Roger Langley's c o n t r i b u t i o n t o The Masterpiece (Carraze and O s w a l d 1 9 9 0 ) : in my life ofover 20 years? A Televisionary hostility. t h e n an equivalcnt defence f o r Star Trek fans w o u l d c o n c e r n the progressive politics a n d m u l t i c u l turalism o f t h e o r i g i n a l crew. t o members o f the greedy brat-pack. I t assumes that cultural activitics can be adequately accounted for i n terms o f language and 'discourse'. t h e n . and o n the display o f knowledge.. a reductíon which operates as a foundational legitímation of. acts. from h a u g h t y academics. m a n y reasons f o r its appeal. the unusual music o r the striking costumes? These t h i n g s .merely a way o f defending the fan's attachment against externai criticism: Harken to . T h i s is not to argue that fans cannot discuss their fcelings. fantasy.o f their o w n média c b n s u l n p t i o h ! T h i s is n o t necessarily t o recap the 'failacy o f 66 67 . Cultural studies' 'ethnography' has rarely pursued this insight. as i f it is somehow grounded i n the fan's (supposedly) pre-existent form o f audience knowledge and interpretive skill.. t h e beauty o f P o r t m e i r i o n . w i t h most o f us doubtless having suecumbed t o using this stock favourite slice o f hyperbole i n the past . ethnographic methodology. (Langley i n Carraze and O s w a l d 1 9 9 0 : 12. T h i s emphasis o n the fan's knowledge. the strange happenings i n the V i l l a g e . It must also be interpreted and analysed in order tofocus upon its gaps of self-consciousness and constructions in the face of which are 'externai' and its repetitions or privileged (or subcultural) by w h i c h mean a relatively stable discursive resource w h i c h is c i r c u l a t e d w i t h i n niche media a n d fanzines a n d used ( b y w a y o f c o m m u n a l r a t i o n a l i s a t i o n ) t o w a r d o f f the sense t h a t the fan is ' i r r a t i o n a l ' .e. passions and personal histories o f fàndom in any meaningml manner. H o w e v e r . my italics) T h e ethnographic process o f 'asking the audience'. the move to ethnography seems strangely unquestionablc. without fceling.e t h n o g r a p h y w o u l d readily u n c o v e r this discursive mantra. fc? «cíewf o/frr» beyond their own compre- comedy. but these justifications are .to a great extent . ?' itself causes the fan to cut into the flow o f their experience and producc some kind o f discursive 'justification'. the excitem e n t o f the episodes o r the strange atmosphere o f the episodes as a whole? Is i t the issues raised by the stories. I f Doctor 1 Who f a n d o m relies o n the j u s t i f i - cation o f a ' c u l t phrase' stressing the f o r m a t ' s flexibility. are ali vital ingredients o f The Prisoner. 10) I (Harrington and Biclby 1 9 9 5 : 1 2 1 . constitutcs a potcntiaUy reductive approach.. and m a n y m o r e . i n part. before then failing back i m m e d i a t e l y o n t h e i r particular f a n d o n f s discursive m a n t r a . i. although usefui in many cases. i f 'asking the audience' is sufficient i n itself. something about its narrative range incorporating horror.BiiTWiibN 'KNUWLtUUli' AND 'JUSTIFICATION' • . Fandom is largely reduced to mental and discursive actívity oceurring without passion. Far from it. without an experience o f (perhaps involuntary) sclf-transformation. Alas. some'stirring rhetoric about ' W H O ' having the most flexible format o n British tclcvision. perhaps t o hide the fact t h a t w e cannot agree o n w h a t Doctor Who is o r s h o u l d be. rather than considering h o w the quesdon Svhy are y o u a fan o f . albeit socially-licenscd and communal ones. a cult phrase repeated p a r r o t . T h i s process the m a r k e d absence o f an explanatory f r a m e w o r k f o r one's intense d e v o t i o n w h i c h i m m e d i a t e l y shifts o n t o the f i r m e r g r o u n d o f discussing textual characteristics . y o u m u s t So. (Haslett 1994: F a n . m y italics) providing cally presents particular justifications o f its collective love for the programme. This ethnographic version o f fan culture seems to have n o inkling that discursive justifications of fàndom might be fragile constructions. o f knowledge.. i t seems that fans typically register some c o n f u s i o n o r d i f f i c u l t y i n r e s p o n d i n g . lovc o f daytime tclcvision. hension. I f y o u are r e a d i n g this n e w b o o k . concerned with communal cannot be accepted merely as evidence within narratives narrative justification offan knowledge. I t is n o m o r e t h a n a c l o u d o f smoke. its moments of failure self-reflexivity. As Michael Haslett Who fàndom as a community typi- Why has a television series . historical adventurc and T h e fan c a n n o t act. t h e n such discursive structures a n d repetitions w o u l d t e n d t o be accepted at face value rather t h a n b e i n g considered as defensive mechanisms designed t o render the fan's affective r e l a t i o n s h i p m e a n i n g f u l i n a r a t i o n a l sense. Instead I am trying to emphasise that fan-talk and dislocations.. t o g r o u n d this relationship solely i n the objective attributes o f the source text a n d therefore t o l e g i t i m a t e the fans' love o f ' t h e i r ' p r o g r a m m e .f a s h i o n . as the u n p r o b l e m a t i c source o f the m e a n i n g . Previous fàn-ethnography has largely erred on the side o f accepting fan discourse as interpretive 'knowledge'. A n d yet this grounding figure of 'the fan' is itself a reduction o f subjectivity. .

w h e t h e r they are psychological. T h i s is because Jenkins's w o r k doesn't present an 'outsider' e n t e r i n g intó .S m i t h i n terms o f her o w n e t h n o g r a p h i c quest narrative: 68 69 . starts to explanations hidden . the community sidetracks with something o f value. T h e assumption here is t h a t sense and u n d e r s t a n d i n g are securely present inside the fan c o m m u n i t y . m o r e f u l l y deserves ' f a n . a subcultural fàn world charged with meaning. W h e n the investigator gets too close.the ' f i e l d ' o f f a n d o m . f o r their fandoms as a 'fallacy o f i n t e r n a l i t y ' .passed over. By doing so. . She is the seeker o f knowledge.w h i c h emphasiscs the Instead I w o u l d describe the belief t h a t fans can f u l l y account ritual- istic rather t h a n p r i m a r i l y semiotic use o f media such as w o m c n ' s magazines. what made it community.: 2 8 2 ) . . the intrepid ethnographer finds herself swamped with data questions with no loose ends to unravel. T h i s they a t t e m p t t o explain away (see. w h o has t o come t o understand a d i f f e r e n t way o f life. Jenkins argues t h a t another s t u d y o f f a n d o m . T h i s narrative construction resembles the principies o f Sherlock Holmes's 'empirical imagination' where 'the truth is right there to be read o n the surfàce o f things. B u t w h a t o f the various fan-ethnographies that have been p r o d u c e d . She concedes her desire to 'jump up and d o w n and scream " L o o k what I found! A conceptual space where w o m e n can come together and ercate . ( 1 9 9 2 : 2 2 4 and 226) ethnograthat agree too closely with one another. but a state o f b e i n g " ' (ibid. Bacon-Smith's presentation of the fan community plays its o w n narrative games o f expectation. T h e t e r m ' e t h n o g r a p h y ' is o f t e n used rather loosely i n m e d i a and ctutural s^tuáes/sõmetirnes i n d i c a t i n g littíe m o r e t h a n Hõur-Tõhg" m t ê r v i ê w r w i t h respondents. conclusions validate her m e t h o d o l o g y v e r y precisely and w i t h o u t r e m a i n d e r : she veritably scrapes away at the layers and layers o f misdir e c t i o n w h i c h the f a n c o m m u n i t y presents t o her as an i n i t i a l ' o u t s i d e r ' w h o gradually. casually dismissed by those in the know. using the conventions o f the murder mystery or detective-thriller to frame her account of fandom. evidence. but 'a colder mind prevails' and we are rcturned to the hallowed halls o f strictly objective and affect-less academia. learns the ropes. which I have quoted above. psychoanalytíc o r sociological are s o m e h o w f r a u d u l c n t o r i m p o s e d u p o n the p h e n o m c n o n that f o r example B a c o n .to investigate new forms for their art and for their living outside the restrictive boundaries men have placed o n women's public behaviour! N o t a placc or a time. community: I found myself searching for the heart of this tick? . I n its original a n t h r o p o l o g i c a l c o n t e x t . as the importance emerge from the dense fog o f apparent communal indifference. A n d Bacon-Smith's version o f events. I t neglects the sociological dynamics w h e r e b y the culturally devalued ' i n . the character who will prevail. p r o o P (Atkinson 1998: 109).BETWEEN 'KNOWLEDGE' AND 'JUSTIFICATION' B E T W E E N ' K N O W L E D G E * AND ' J U S T I F I C A T I O N ' as an ethnographer. This is because Bacon-Smith 3 the label o f a traditional she self-consciously Bacon-Smith's presents a participant-observatíon o f sectíons o f Star represents herself as 't he Trek fan c u l t u r e i n w h i c h e t h n o g r a p h e r ' e n t e r i n g an u n k n o w n s u b c u l t u r a l field. a community gives certain signals w h e n an outsider approaches the heart o f its culture. but it is hard to see how her o w n account could refute such an aceusation. Later. Bacon-Smith announces her academic identity as 'Ethnographer' (see also Bacon-Smith 2 0 0 0 ) . .g r o u p ' is a source o f pristíne k n o w l e d g e . distractions and diversions o f the fan communiry. Bacon-Smith chides Jenkins for using the fan community to further his own 'pohtical agenda' (ibid. fits entirely and uncannily into o f media c o n s u m p t i o n i n ali contexts a n d modalitíes) o n the basis t h a t the positivism o f such empirical w o r k is insufficiently i t typically ignores the s t r u c t u r e d gaps a n d replications w i t h i n the discursive frameworks w h i c h are used by fans t o account f o r and justify t h e i r f a n d o m s . sometbjng that conserves the risk the pher knows is present but that does not exposc too m u c h .) O n the basis o f these definitions o f the t e r m ' e t h n o g r a p h y ' as i t has been used i n classical ant hrop o l o g y .the o y e r ^ t t e n ' m t t ç p i d l s d ^ g r a r i b ^ o n bravely through the 'fog\e her exaggerated presentation o f such a narrative. this Bacon-Smith is clearly highly aware o f the self-mythologjsing narrative o f her áccòunt . pub l i shed i n the same year as Textual Poachers a n d w r i t t e n by C a m i l l e B a c o n .S m i t h 1992).and discovering the c u l t u r a l t r u t h o f .g r o u p ' o f m e d i a f a n d o m is c o m p e l l e d t o a c c o u n t f o r its passions. d e t e r m i n e d t o u n d e r s t a n d its practices a n d activities. Bãcõn-Smith nonetheless relies o n it to determine her account o f the 'evasive' fan community. she positions herself as a kind o f detective. I t is her 'colder m i n d ' w h i c h is able to circumvent the stalling tactics. Bacon-Smith's account is one o f a world o f clues and misdirections. T h e deeper I penctrated the meaningfulness' u n c o v e r e d by H e r m e s ( 1 9 9 5 ) . the p o w e r struggle b e t w e e n insider and ethnographer-outsider is explicitíy depicted by B a c o n . ( A n d this ' f i e l d ' is typically t h o u g h t o f as b e i n g alien t o the analyst.clues. A s such. and w h i c h f o r m the c â n o n o f ' f a n studies'? H e n r y Jenkins ( 1 9 9 6 : 2 6 3 ) contrasts his own Textual Poachers t o m o r e 'traditíonal partícipant-observer approaches'. disruption and delay with the reader. had we the wit to see.hençe_. whereas externai academic narratives .S m i t h . . that ofíer tidy answers to her 'fallacy o f i n t e r n a l i t y ' neglects the extent t o w h i c h i n t e r n a i f a n c o m m u n i t y understandings are collectively negot i at ed precisely i n o r d e r t o w a r d o f f the t a i n t o f i r r a t i o n a l i t y .often in plain sight . O f course. I n d c c d . the t e r m implies a l e n g t h y i m m e r s i o n i n theffielcl_béing studied. M u n d a n c faets become marvels and wonders . I n the beginning the heart is o f the practice . and i n order t o present a p u b l i c a n d ratíonaliscd face t o the w o r l d outside the fan c u l t u r e . over the course o f years o f research.e t h n o g r a p h y ' . T h e fallacy o f internality assumes t h a t the ' i n .: 3 ) . the more elusive my goal became. I precise instance 2 am hence r e f u t i n g the adequacy o f ethnographic m e t h o d o l o g y in ( a n d n o t across ali instances positivist. T h i s introductory admission is presumably intended to reassurc the reader: Bacon-Smith wants to jump up and down.

or a sense of 'communal creatívity' to be recognised and valued by the scholar-fan (Jenkins). T h i s suspension of theoretical debate in favour of 'getting on with things' also implies that what counts as the 'real' is self-evident and can be detached from the arguments over its interpretation. may not be able to articulate the full meaning o f their own experiences. . meaning^that chis cannot be used as a way of (morally) devaluing. too.: 166). but also the possible absences in discourse. while. I will n o w turn to the practice o f autoethnography 'ethnographies of the s e l f are produced.othcr_subcul*Mres and communities. M y o w n narrative of fandom is less detective-based and is equally less concerned with depicting fàn cultures as inhercntly positive or as miniaturised modcls o f academia. and the potential gaps i n both academics' and fans' reflections on their o w n identities and cultures. therefore n o longer existing i n a fantasised 'authoritative' space outside any cultural strugglc over meaning. however. is dresscd up to draw attentíon to itselP (Bayard 2 0 0 0 : 2 1 . By way of illustrating these possibilities. T h e work o f Jenkins and Bacon-Smith seems to embody two sides o f the same coin: both refuse to let go o f onc-sided views o f fandom. This resemblance means that such accounts are unable to construct more complex characterisations o f fàn culture beyond a sense o f 'communal conspiracy' to be battlcd by the detective-ethnographer (Bacon-Smith).BETWEEN 'KNOWLEDGE' AND 'JUSTIFICATION' BETWEEN ' K N O W L E U U E ' A N D ' J U S T l h l (J A T I U N Pierre Bayard's analysis o f the detective novel. Where the truth of a fan culture is always i n plain sight. that ali theories are also stories). 2 4 ) .: 195). non-judgemcntally. narratives of the self I n acquiring one's conception of the world one always bclongs to a \ particular grouping w h i c h is that of ali the social elements w h i c h sharc the same mode of thinking and acting. what counts as the 'field' to be observed will differ if a psychoãnalytic critic is interpreting ethnographic 'data' as opposed to a sociologist.. T h i s . O n the contrary. M y o w n position herc is dose to that established by Jensen and Pauly (1997). to my mind.. Jensen and Pauly concludc that ' i f subjeets are imaginçd as deficient in their articulation o f their o w n experience. the 'rcality' o f fandom that each sceks to capture in broadly ethnographic terms may well exist between their respective moral positions.. that their accounts may so elosely rescmble the conventíons of certain genres. T h i s highlights a further problcm with fan-ethnographies. to one side'.-J (Gramsci 1 9 7 1 : 324) / . i j \ ! However. I t may be impossible to avoid writing academically without providing a narrative shape to one's 'theoretical' account (meaning. As Van Maanen has observed: 'literary tales [ethnographies using the conventíons of literature] may be so tied to the representatíonal techniques o f rcalistic fictíon that they distort the very rcality they scek to capture' (1988: 135). A n d oddly enough. is a view which assumes that 'learning' is only possiblc on the basis of the o t h c r ' s full or 'non-deficient' sclf-artículatíon. . always man-in-the-mass or collective m a n . she castígates his work for presenting a falsely positive view (Bacon-Smith 1992: 2 8 2 ) . I t is still a problem for ethnographers. This abandonment of moral dualism is perhaps an academic version o f 'anti-hero' fictíon in which characters we are expected to sympathisc with ('the academic' and 'the fan') may also possess unwanted or undesirable attributes. Another related and very real problem for fan ethnographies is what they assume will count as 'the real'. thereby allocating certain narrative functions to their respondents and the fan community. we find: 'the principie of truth hidden by its obviousness . but where fans attempt to distract the detectiveethnographer. I would argue that ethnography needs to be based on a reconceptualisation of empiricism so that 'the real' consistently encompasses not only the discourses and routines o f everyday life (Silverstone 1 9 9 4 ) . T h e first thing to do is to make such an inventory. [and the second mechanism. . T h i s time we are dealing with a negative disguise. the character o f 'the academic' abandons the construction o f easily legible moral dualisms (thereby creating a meta-dualism between those who champion a cause or a fàn community and those who refuse to draw moral and communal lines elcarly around ' u s ' and 'them'). a perfect restatement o f academic imagined subjectivity. would suggest that what academics need to learn is that their o w n accounts lu-êTalso 'deficient'. rather than accepting the 'abstract' and supposedly 'unreal' space o f overly-generalising G r a n d narrative of ethnography as an encounter with the 'real' (which is superior to T h e o r y ) . however. but that the false . .. faintly optimistic ( C o u l d r y 2 0 0 0 b : 14). I n my o w n rather less heroic narrative template.. T h e starting point o f critical elaboration is the consciousness o f what one really is. .. Although few fan ethnographies dwell on this question. Jenkins sees Bacon-Smith as presenting a falsely negative view o f fans (Jenkins in Tulloch and Jenkins 1995: 2 0 3 ) . that of] [djistraction. .. in which Autoethnography: narratives of the fan. I 70 71 . T h i s possibility is closed off by Jensen and Pauly's assumption that the ' g o o d ' subject is self-present. the extent to w h i c h they use narrative conventíons from popular fictíon. without leaving an inventory. W h a t academics can learn from 5 subjeets who are unable to articulate their o w n experiences is that they. .. I t is not that the truth is made unrecognisable.. T h e notion that these sorts of problems of academic knowledge and interpretation can be 'put . T h e personality is strangely composite: it contains Stone A g e elements and principies of a more advanced science . H o w e v e r . W e are ali conformists o f some conformism or other. then therc is n o t . m u c h chance that the rcscarchcr will learn anything from those subjeets' (ibid. articulate and always capable of full self-explanation without remainder. in turn. and is 'knowing thyself as a product of the historical process to date w h i c h has deposited in y o u an infinity of traces. T h e y decry the way that theories o f media audiences tend to construct these audiences as 'other' to the investígatíng academic (ibid. seems.

W is c ( 1 9 9 0 ) and W o l f f autoethnog( 1 9 9 5 ) . the obvious give me great pleasure. never to resurface. Fiske does not claim that his own audience responses are in any way 'typical'. Fiske ( 1 9 9 0 ) . and because o f t hei r s t t u c t u r i n g absences and familiar repetitions. w h i c h is where t h e q u e s t i o n o f cultural politics can enter the e q u a t i o n . Fiske identifies three discourses: the professional. I am not convinced that the problem o f 'endless self-interrogation' expressed here is a pressing one. the radical component in Hollway and Jefferson's work is that they view themselves. T h i s is possible because a u t o e t h n o g r a p h y asks the p e r s o n u n d e r t a k i n g i t t o q u e s t i o n their self-account constantly. not least because they contradict the tastes and positionings o f the class to which..not navel-gazing but instead complacently caliing a day o n the analysis o f how the self is formed inside culture . Amesley 1 9 8 9 ) . T h e logic o f that b o r r o w i n g is rarely evident t o us. so good. while the first two types cover Fiske's work as an academic and his sense o f himself as a fàn of the popular with 'vulgar tastes: the garish. I will then concludc this chapter by presenting my o w n 7 I n 'Ethnosemiotics: Some Personal and Theoretical Reflections'. But I am concerned by the possibility that narcissism place~~wh~êrêwe stop self-interrogãiÍõJi. objectively. I " b e l o n g " ' and 'semantic' discourses. T h e last type covers ali topics 'that both infused . i n w h i c h the tastes. o r by its one-sided accounts o f f a n d o m either as a social c o p i n g mechanism (Bacon-Smith 1992) o r a valuablc 'interpretive c o m m u n i t y ' (Jenkins 1992a. the real problem is the absolutc What reverse. . A u t o e t h n o g r a p h y also displaces the problems o f assuming that the 'real' is always p r i m a r i l y discursive. as researchers. . w h e n and why do we call a halt to our self-interrogations? cultural categories. equally. these l i m i t s reveal t h a t certain discourses are p o w e r f u l because o f the ( n o n discursive) investments that w e make i n t h e m . So fàr. F o r me. A n d it is this sense o f narcissism . As a f o r m o f voluntary self-estrangement. Fiske's aim is to consider h o w social discourses in the text link into the social discourses w h i c h he draws o n to construct his sense o f self. Fiske notes that. ( C o u l d r y 2000b: 126) theory' .. and their self-accounts o f their self-accounts. as equally 'anxious. .e t h n o g r a p h y has typically been l i m i t e d by its v i e w o f ' t h e real' as a matter o f discourse a n d a r t i c u l a t i o n . a professional discourse is dominating 'popular' academic. producing an article which has to meet the standards expected o f a major internationaí Journal. equally. in reverse .is always b o r r o w e d a n d alien. . H o l l w a y and Jefferson refer t o these m o m e n t s as the 'discursive 72 73 . o u r identities are c o n s t r u c t e d t h r o u g h relatively homologous systems o f cultural value. Bukatman ( 1 9 9 4 ) . p r o v o k i n g an i n v e s t i g a t i o n o f w h y w e self-analysis by refusing t o privileged discourses. language and theoretical framework with whic h we analyse ourselvcs.the heart o f the self a n d t h e x o r e o f o n r cultural i d e n t i t y as w e p e r f o r m i t . in his article.). A n d . i t indicates t h a t the personal . a certain p o i n t The and inadequacy of our claims or personal to be is our own most intensely private fragility moments However.BETWEEN 'KNOWLEDGE' AND 'JUSTIFICATION' B E T W E E N ' K N O W L E D G E ' AND ' J U S T I F I C A T I O N ' investments' o f the 'defended su|>ject' (2000: 19). A u t o e t h n o g r a p h y does n o t s i m p l y indicate that the 'personal is p o l i t i c a i ' . o n l y the interference p a t t e r n p r o d u c e d by m u l t i p l e systems o f value w h i c h c a n n o t readily be made t o line u p and w h i c h are. T h i s process o f persistent q u e s t i o n i n g t h r o w s the self i n t o the realisation t h a t explanations o f fan and cons umer activity are themselves culturally c o n v e n t i o n a l . defended subjeets' ( 2 0 0 0 : 45). b u t t h e key statement o f any a u t o e t h n o g r a p h y is that the 'personal is c u l t u r a l ' . A u t o e t h n o g r a p h y aims t o create a partial ' i n v e n t o r y ' o f the ' i n f i n i t y o f traces' deposited w i t h i n the self by c u l t u r a l and historical processes. 6 culturãTvãTúé(s) and identity fixed I n place as somehow authentic.that I will examine in four autoethnographies: raphy. T h e s e are moments when a core o f self-identity is protected by an investment i n a particular discourse. Q u i t e the reverse. daily life and were callcd up by the program' (1990: 8 6 ) . I f f a n . However. a u t o e t h n o g r a p h y c o n f r o n t s the subject w i t h a variety o f possible interpretations o f their self-accounts.Javiiíg emergesat preciselythe a comtortable " s ê n s e o f our o w n o f discursive accounts challenge exposed by this persistent q u e s t i o n i n g . A U refuse t o question aspeets o f i d e n t i t y w h i c h the w r i t e r is attached t o and w h i c h 'self-reflexivity' therefore cannot easily dislodge. v a l u e i . I w i l l n o w demonstrate w h a t this can mean i n m o r e practical terms by exami n i n g a n u m b e r o f academic-fan autoethnographies and s h o w i n g h o w they are 'deficient' i n t h e i r self-accounts. This realisa/ tion can o p e n u p the possibility o f i n s c r i b i n g other explanations o f the self. he is writing as an (ibid. he observes that self-introspection Instead. o p e n i n g the 'subjective' and the i n t i m a t e l y personal up t o the c u l t u r a l contexts i n w h i c h it is f o r m e d and experienced. I n other words. T h e i r work therefore meets with the key criteria o f 'accountable suggested by Nic k Couldry: Quite simply: the language and theoretical framework with which we analyse others should be always be consistem with the . T h i s e n d p o i n t o f self-analysis does n o t reveal t h e ' t r u e ' discourse t h r o u g h w h i c h w e can account f o r o w n cultural practices. Instead. t h e n h o w can the limits o f b o t h fan and academic self-expression be e x p l o r e d differently? A useful exercise here is a u t o e t h n o g r a p h y . ^ t a c l v ments a n d investments o f the fan a n d the academic-fan are placed under the microscope o f c u l t u r a l analysis. the popular and what he terms the 'semantic'. T h e reversibility of the principie is crucial: it is what prevents us from failing into a spiral o f endless self-interrogation. the sensational. John Fiske sets out to explore his o w n responses to The Newly Wed Game. n o t entirely u n r e l a t e d . T h i s means that n o single 'system o f value' can be isolated. i t / can p r o m o t e an acceptance o f the fragility I able to 'explain3 and and 'justiff L— of fandom stop media at consumption. common sense narratives and systems o f value do we leave i n place by assuming that we have reached rock-bottom in our self-justifications? I am not at ali interested in initiating some endless and narcissistic navel-gazing.

Instead. These p r e m a t u r e closures p u t an e n d t o self-reflexivity. remaining sccmingly unquestioncd and unchallengcd. Layers u p o n layers o f self-exploration are revealed. I w o u l d argue t h a t this is the narcissism i n h e r e n t i n Fiskc's autoethnography.b a d ' f a n ' i d e n t i t y is itself a version o f t h e c o m i c b o o k narratives he is analysing. meaning different things in different discourses. Fiskc's narrative o f himself as 'critically rcsisting' capitalism is left firmly in place. Bukatman's account is a u t o e t h n o g r a p h i c because i t combines a t h o r o u g h c r i t i q u e o f the cultural positions w h i c h he adopts as a cultural critic a n d a fan. a n d leaving this r o u t i n e ' b e l o w any conscious a r t i c u l a t i o n ' rather t h a n 'raising' i t i n t o the space o f t h e o r e t i c a l reflection.). Academic i d e n t i t y is a threat as w e l l as a f o r m o f salvation. b e i n g ' [ v j e r y h e r o i c . can therefore be linked to the 'cultural system'(s) through w h i c h the self is constructed. of T h e approach is questioned.. in the practices everyday life. a l l o w i n g t h e ' g o o d ' self t o settle i n t o its h a b i t u a l boundaries. the adolescent d r e a m i n g o f b o d i l y s t r e n g t h a n d cosmic consciousness.Fiske analyses both his antiquc furniture and his homemade T V stand and cheap tcchnology as examples of his~TêKTcTance~"to enter uncKfically into the capitalist commodity economy' (ibid. T h i s moral dualism.). because he t h e n confesses t h a t this u n e n d i n g struggle o f g o o d . Fiske then broadens the scopc o f his study to take i n his living room.b u t I n o l o n g e r deal w i t h i t by r e a d i n g a b o u t m u t a n t muscle m e n a n d t h e b i g . and to articulate that which. . the adult academic w h o feels c o m p e l l e d t o w r i t e a b o u t comic b o o k s ' ( 1 9 9 4 : 9 6 ) . and Fiske's attachment to his o w n 'good' and apologctically 'masculine' lcftist subjectivity. Although Fiske's work presents a number of points which allow theory to illuminate experience and vice versa. Fiske claims that autoethnography. b u t m e . as a 'defended subject' does he demonstrate an investment in certain discourses and identities w h i c h prevents any further self-reflection? I w o u l d argue that this oceurs primarily in Fiskc's account o f his politicai position: 'my call for an extension o f this methodology (with its policies. but not through subordination to theory. T h e same anti-capitalism 'semantic' discourse is therefore reflectcd i n a variety o f different cultural artifacts. Fiske's version of autoethnography is one where the subject is able to participate in their o w n construction o f meaning. whilc . Superhero comics are i m m e d i a t e l y p r o p o s e d as some kind of compensatory reading. U n l i k e Fiske. B y contrast. Rather like Fiske. sinec these are vicwed as approaches where theory is imposed o n experience. a n d thus therefore justified o n moral grounds: autoethnography does not privilege 'the theory and the theorist' by assuming that the theorist has a privileged insight into the experiences o f his or her respondents. progressive academic (albeit a male. autoethnography is contrasted to psychoanalytic and ideological approaches. . s o m e t h i n g vaguely d y s f u n c t i o n a l t h a t can be used t o assuage a sense o f n o t m a t c h i n g u p t o a masculine ideal. Instead. B u t this investment i n a c o n t r o l l i n g academic i d e n t i t y w h i c h magically displaces his adolescent lack o f c o n t r o l is n o t taken f o r granted. W e l l . B u k a t m a n also sounds a f a i n t l y apoiogetic n o t e w h e n discussing his masculinity: ' I d o n ' t read superhero comics anymore. M y w r i t i n g s validate m y o w n past. i t is an element o f Fiske's self-identity a n d his experience o f self w h i c h is n o t sufficicntly ' o p e n e d u p ' as p a r t o f a c u l t u r a l system o f value. though hopefully not too masculine a o n e ) ' ( 1 9 9 0 : 9 1 ) . B u k a t m a n worries away at his sense o f self. his politicai stanec remains outside the frame o f self-reflexivity. its desire t o c o n t r o l causes i t t o become overly n a r r o w a n d overly disciplined: ' t h e academy keeps refusing t o tell me a b o u t w y s e l f ' (ibid. is never 74 75 .t i t t e d w o m e n w h o love t h e m ' ( B u k a t m a n 1994: 9 3 ) .based o n cultural theory is important because although '[njeither I nor my readings are typical . b u t the narrative closures o f his a c c o u n t are. Fiske also observes that the same object can operate 'multidiscursively'. a n d r i s k i n g the embarrassment a n d loss o f ( s t u d e n t ) respect w h i c h this m i g h t i n v o l v e . B u k a t m a n questions this separation o f identities. S c o t t Bukatman's 'X-Bodies ( t h e t o r m e n t o f t h e m u t a n t s u p e r h e r o ) ' begins w i t h a provocative set o f statements. can be used to 'open up the realm o f the interior and the personal. then.). are the hmits to Fiske's autoethnography? Where. H i s analysis o f his o w n l i v i n g r o o m and his o w n subjectivity is n o t i n h e r e n t l y narcissistic. N e i t h e r i d e n t i t y is a u t o m a t i c a l l y the ' g o o d ' c o u n t e r p o i n t t o t h e deficient o r ' b a d ' other. F m p r o b a b l y n o t as w o r r i e d a b o u t m y dick as I used t o be. and the types o f texts that are consumed. lies below any conscious articulation' (ibid. B u k a t m a n is 'f or ce d t o realize t h a t the autobiographical subject i s n ' t m e . coming to view their sense o f self in an altered and expanded way through the use o f theory. constantiy refusing t o a l l o w a stable narrative o f t h e 'valued' a n d 'secure' self t o emerge. the n e x t male a u th or whose w o r k I w o u l d describe as ' a u t o e t h n o g r a p h i c ' seems i n t e n t o n confessing a l i . after a l i .)..b a d 'academic' versus g o o d . H e explicitly c o m m e n t s that perhaps n o t ali o f his early (adolescent) anxieties have been e n t i r e l y left b e h i n d (ibid. the process by which I produced them is evidence o f a cultural systcm' (ibid. where he as the ethnographer 'is both producer and product' ( 1 9 9 0 : 9 0 ) . N o r does Bu k a tma n 's self-reflexivity e n d here. suggesting t h a t the adult academic i d e n t i t y a n d the adolescent superhero c o m i c b o o k reader can't be separated o u t ( 1 9 9 4 : 1 2 6 ) .: 125). T h e objects contained in the room are analysed in relatíon to the discourses through w h i c h Fiske realises his sense of self: the 'chcap plastíc toy T V s ' (1990: 88) o n top o f his actual T V are linked to a 'popular' discourse. W h a t . A n d the d o u b t . come t o an e n d i n Bukatman's a ccou n t. Both the physical environmcnt in w h i c h media consumption takes place. and the contradiction between his o w n ('duly traincd' and privileged) ability to manipulate theory and a sense of autoethnography being 'non-imposed' is not uncovered and explored. ethics and theory) comes from a left-wing. that i s n ' t exactly t r u e . E x a m i n i n g this supposedly singular 'system'. the fragility and the impossibility o f any sustained i d e n t i f i c a t i o n w i t h this ideal does n o t .

then the same old ' c o m m o n sense' oppositions and moral dualisms will be reproduced through discourses of. L i k e Fiske. Is B u k a t m a n ' s account therefore a better autoethnography? Yes. We are not confronted with an analysis o f cultural order (as i n Bukatman 1 9 9 4 ) or discussions o f cultural agency (as i n Fiske 1 9 9 0 ) . T h e tone o f Wise's account is what immediately strikes the reader. autoethnography academic thought as embedded in one industry among exposes others. B u k a t m a n u l t i m a t e l y has n o o p t i o n o t h e r t h a n t o s u b o r d i nate f a n discourses t o academic discourses. structure both fan and academic identities. recapping the banality o f the b o h e m i a n m i n d . T h i s seems t o i m p l y that the best autoethnographies s h o u l d succeed i n a type o f self-deconstruction and self-destructiveness i n w h i c h ali possible g r o u n d s f o r legible c u l t u r a l value are e r o d e d .). as a marker o f academic reputation. Perhaps the m o r e useful i m p l i c a t i o n is that a g o o d a u t o e t h n o g r a p h y s h o u l d reveal t h e narcissistic l i m i t s o f 'intellectual rigour' as w e l l as the narcissistic l i m i t s o f ' c o m m o n sense'. w h e t h e r this is a narrative o f 'criticai e l a b o r a t i o n ' . Élvis is too securely placed within a particular version o f cultural history. far past the safety o f the narcissistic. B u t even this sounds rather optimistically avant-garde.t h e r i g o u r o f the i n t e l l e c t . cannot remain fixed in place as a surreptítious restoration o f the value of autoethnography. She begins very conversatíonally: ' " W h o s c are ali those É L V I S records? A r g h ! " is a commonly heard question i n my home. B y running into its o w n final limits. B u k a t m a n ' s investment is i n a discourse o f the ' p r o u d academic . A l i such t e r m s merely expose the non-discursive a n d affective investments i n discourses o f ' u s ' (cultural critics) a n d ' t h e m ' (fans). F o r w h i l e t h e latter leaves o u r sense o f self securely i n place. commodification self-justification/rationalisation feminist identity and f a n d o m . This means t h a t 8 sarily moving beyond the point where it can defend its o w n value as an exercise. to the cultural undermine. this juxtapositíon between criticai thought as ideal and affect as material. i n a sense. and as a token o f 'academic' versus 'fan' cultural difference. I want to move o n to discuss autoethnographies w h i c h deal with issues o f 9 Sue Wise ( 1 9 9 0 ) has rcflected o n her Élvis fandom. Autoethnography should through which the self is and instead contexts constructed. running up against and exposing its o w n affective roots. Perhaps. exarnining h o w processes of 'common sense'. w e arrive at the p o i n t w h e r e self-reflexivity proves t o be an idealisation. b u t w i t h o u t r e f l e c t i n g o n this. A s l o n g as criticai thought operates as a commodity. t h e r e f o r e . a u t o e t h n o g r a p h y achieves its fullest aims o n l y w h e n : (a) i t refuses t o stop q u e s t i o n i n g the narcissism o f ' c o m m o n sense' a n d its narrative closures. i t also needs t o be d i s r u p t e d w h e n i t becomes t h e ' c o m m o n sense' o f academia. but also moving beyond the point where 'criticai' thought has any relevancc.is littíe m o r e t h a n an idealisation a n d a ' c o m m o n sense' cultural category. By running into its own final limits. T h e ' c r i t i c a i ' academic o p p o s e d t o narcissistic ' c o m m o n sense' is certainly a very useful l e g i t i m a t i o n f o r this type o f academic t h o u g h t . sustaining t h e fantasy t h a t w o r d s a n d t h o u g h t alone can change t h e w o r l d . B u k a t m a n ruthlessly exposes the c u l t u r a l value systems w h i c h operate w i t h i n his w o r k .w i n g academic. H e arrives at a sense o f h a v i n g validated his o w n i d e n tity. Intellectual rigour cannot f o r m the unchallengeable alibi f o r a u t o e t h n o g r a p h y . A n d this c o m m i t m e n t . a narrative in which his female fans were 'overwhelmed by his animal by t r a v e l l i n g t h r o u g h the w i d e s t variety o f discursive battles a n d legitimations that scholarly t h o u g h t can offer. C o n t i n u i n g t o q u e s t i o n the investments o f t h e self m u s t also call i n t o q u e s t i o n this very investm e n t i n t h e process o f ' q u e s t i o n i n g ' as essentially ' r i g o r o u s ' . 'intellectual rigour' proposed by rather curiously. secure l e f t . ultimately.). E v e n this convenient twist. w h i l e ( b ) s i m u l t a n e o u s l y a c k n o w l e d g i n g that ' i n f i n i t e traces' o f the self cannot ever be f u l l y enclosed by any alternative narrative. t h e g o d o f geeks' (ibid. T h e l i m i t s t o his self-exploration are reached w h e n a final c o m m i t m e n t is uncovered w h i c h cannot be called i n t o q u e s t i o n . U n l i k e Fiske. (liscriminations and values. B u t i t is a v a l i d a t i o n w h i c h m u s t u l t i m a t e l y c o m e i n t o c o n f l i c t w i t h its o w n principies. Although both Fiske and Bukatman seek to distance themselves from ' b a d ' mascuhnity. autoethnographic thought is not heroically elevated into a new realm o f emotional awareness and material struggle. These identities are fèlt to be mutually exclusive: liking Élvis is a badge o f otherness for Wise's right-thinking feminist friends. b u t i t t o o fails t o b u i l d u p a w i d e r i n v e n t o r y o f the self.F m d i e e m p e r o r o f t h e nerds. Another false ending. I t is a taste and an attachment w h i c h doesn't belong within their cultural distinctions. and always has been ever since it has been regularly frequented by feminists' ( 1 9 9 0 : 3 9 0 ) . both also reinstate the figure o f the authoritative academic w h i c h autoethnography dcmonstrate aims. while Janct Wolff has written about her 'personal music history' as a fan o f American rock V roll singer E d d i e C o c h r a n (Wolff 1995: 2 3 ) . and investments i n . science fictíon. T h e puzzle w h i c h this generates is how Wise was ablc to be both 'a feminist and an Élvis fan' ( 1 9 9 0 : 391). A u t o e t h n o g r a p h y therefore goes o n questioning. the excessive autoethnography exposes the fact therc can never be cnough 'intellectual rigour'. s o m e t h i n g w h i c h Fiske does by p o s i t i o n i n g h i m s e l f as the l e f t .BETWEEN 'KNOWLEDGE' AND 'JUSTIFICATION' BETWEEN 'KNOWLEDGE' AND 'JUSTIFICATION' m y o w n self.still c o m m i t t e d t o r i g o r o u s intellectual i n q u i r y a n d supportive pedag o g y despite t h e narrowness o f so m a n y o f the " a p p r o v e d " academic discourses' (ibid. T h i s is a cultural space intent o n producing novel versions of thought's limited repertoirc and intent o n promoting and validating 'intellectual rigour' as an authentic subcultural value. Autoethnography leaves behind the concept o f the 'culture industry' and cuts through to the 'criticai industry'. Superheroes. Jerry L e w i s . neces- 76 77 . the rigour of the 'criticai' versus the laxity o f the 'untutored'. B u t . Wise does not immediately adopt a highly academic writíng style which is peppered with technical terms.w i n g politics o r 'intellectual r i g o u r ' . the f o r m e r n o t o n l y disrupts usual c o m m o n sense categories.

unlikc Fiske's and Bukatman's accounts where the academic-fan tends to appear as a lonely but heroic central figure. she realises that her Élvis fàndom will have to be rejected. T h i s reversal o f the typical academic a c c o u n t . the image swallowed. a private thing between bim'and c ! | is an 'agent o f c u l t u r e i n process'.UL.. i t is feminists .w h o are represented as c u l t u r a l dupes. . 395. Janet W o l f f writes: 'Wise . just as B u k a t m a n validates his o w n experiences.. the memories that were evoked had nothing to do with sex. G i v e n Wise's c r i t i q u e o f f e m i n i s m . First. .BETWEEN 'KNOWLEDGE' AND 'JUSTIFICATION' DDi H L L . Sure e n o u g h . comfort and security.t h e m e d i a hype has succeeded..he had always been important how or why . my emphasis) F o r Wise.). 394. Wise attempts to defusc the 'butch God' narrative. feels o b l i g e d t o justify his appeal by rejecting Élvis the " b u t c h G o d " ( a n image. where criticai activity dispels audience passivity.f o r . mii/ magnctism' ( 1 9 9 0 : 3 9 2 ) . Élvis is represented and experienced as more of a 'teddy bear' than a 'butch G o d ' . recounting that for her. tion' (1990: 398)... Wise therefore offers a practical illustration o f Fiske's argument that the self warmth and affection for a very dear friend. and it is therefore viewed as highly patriarchal and ideologically suspcct ('deficient') by 'duly traincd' feminists. T h i s b r i c f c o m m e n t a r y carries t w o i m p l i c a t i o n s . and as the passive victims o f ' m e d i a h y p e ' . be assumed t o be entirely ' i n t e r n a i ' t o the 'expressive' self. especially since Wise is a r g u i n g against a certain ' d o m i n a n t ' v i e w o f Élvis w h i c h is n o t simply ' o u t t h e r e ' i n the media: 'feminists have g o n e a l o n g w i t h this . her solitary fàndom as an adolescent provided her with a way of securing her o w n personal space within 'an overerowded household w h i c h was accepted as legitimate by my fàmily' ( 1 9 9 0 : 3 9 3 ) . This follows autoethnography's aim o f questioning ' c o m m o n sense' assumptions a n d categories. Expressions a n d experiences o f f a n d o m c a n n o t . t h e n we are d e a l i n g w i t h an unsustainable m o r a l d u a l i s m . . T h e overwhelming feelings and memories were o f (Wise 1990: 3 9 3 . she was n o t free t o express her fandom. Wise's a u t o e t h n o g r a p h y f u n c t i o n s as self-validation. I was surprised at h o w much his death touched me . m e a n i n g t h a t d i s t i n g u i s h i n g b e t w e e n the me . T h i s autoethnography placcs fandom squarely within the cultural and personal setting o f nctworks o ffriendsa n d fàmily. she says. and a source o f solace. Second. I t is feminists' discussions o f ' i d e o l o g y ' w h i c h are s h o w n t o be o u t o f step w i t h the consumer a n d fàn experiences o f the p r e . ' s autoethnography? She very acutely illustratcs h o w constructions o f ' u s ' a n d ' t h e m ' can be falsified. W o l f f seems t o i m p l y 78 79 . I n this case. nothing even to do with romance. Such a thing oceurred in 1977 w h en Élvis died. Élvis was her friend. intersubjective value) then it is likely to wither or to be temporarily abandoned.rather u n u s u a l l y .f e m i n i s t . w e can hardly expect later f e m i n i s t c u l t u r a l critics t o r e s p o n d k i n d l y t o her w o r k .o r p r o t o . rather t h a n figuring F o r example. remains trapped i n its terms o f reference. T h i s narrative contrasts Élvis as a 'butch G o d ' to his passive female conqucsts.as she 'personally' wished t o .. the f e m i n i s t r e w o r k i n g left u n d o n e ' W h a t are the l i m i t s t o W i s c (ibid. I n order to revalue her Élvis fandom. her a c c o u n t f o r m s the reverse image t o Fiske's: b o t h writers are c o n c e r n e d w i t h a u t o e t h n o g r a p h i cally p l a c i n g the personal w i t h i n the c u l t u r a l . B u t the main pressure carne from incrcdulous friends. F a n d o m does not seem to flourish in a resolutely hostile environment. its passions and attachments have to be linked to a localiscd sense o f cultural value and legitimacy. and Fiske validates his o w n politics. d r a w i n g a t t e n t i o n t o the possibility that f e m i n i s t 'critics' o f patriarchal p o p u l a r c u l t u r e may w e l l r e p r o duce 'male ideas a b o u t r o c k music' ( 1 9 9 0 : 397). W h e n e v e r agency is selectively a t t r i b u t e d t o one g r o u p o r character ( t h e a u t o e t h n o g r a p h e r as Élvis fan) a n d d e n i e d t o another g r o u p ( t h e feminist o p p o s i t i o n ) . c o n s t r u c t e d by m e n ) i n favour o f Élvis the " T e d d y B e a r " ' ( 1 9 9 5 : 26). The ' g o o d ' object o f f e m i n i s m is s h o w n t o be m o r e c o m p l i c i t w i t h w h a t i t opposes t h a n its o w n selfl e g i t i m a r i o n w o u l d in dic a te . She was enabled t o be a f a n ( b y her family's acceptance o f this) b u t was later constrained by a d i f f e r e n t (1970s f e m i n i s t ) cultural context. w h en Wise 'gets feminism' gradually i n her carly twenties. Wise uses her 'personal experience o f a p u b l i c p h e n o m e n o n as an example o f a t o t a l l y t a k e n .g r a n t e d v i e w o f reality w h i c h is o p e n t o a d i f f e r e n t i n t e r p r e t a and the ' e x t e r n a i ' ultimately becomes impossible (see a n d the the next externai self and its c u l t u r a l context. I t does not seem to fit with the cultural pressures which are brought to bear on her by her new cultural context: ' I don't remember reading or hearing any specifie feminist analysis w h i c h said that "Élvis can scriously damage your health" . H e was just there as an important part o f my life . i X V !> W 11 IvliL. as the years went by echoes o f my past (in the voice o f Élvis?) have from time to time suríàced . w h o were always quick to point out the idcological impurity o f Élvis' ( 1 9 9 0 : 394). I f a n y t h i n g . However.. . F a n d o m may well be experienced as intensely personal (having a kind o f intensified usc-value) but i f this sentiment cannot return to the cultural space o f exchangc-value (carrying shared.. Wise partially displaces the idea of the heroic academic-fan by focusing o n her o w n susceptibility to Cultural influences and pressures. As I listened to records and delved into clippings . t o Élvis.. I had never analysed my fondness for or to me and I had never questioned i | interest i n h i m as 1 grew up. b u t w h e r e Fiske subordinates his fàn discourse t o an academic one. Élvis carried a very different set of meanings: mostly my interest i n Élvis took the form o f a solitary hobby. even if this oceurs only within a household or a small circle o f friends rather than the 'imagined community' o f a fàn subculture. Experiences o f f a n d o m always have t o be negotiated b e t w e e n the i n t e r n a i self a n d its experiences 'internai' chapter). a m o r e complex r e w o r k i n g c o u l d have e x a m i n c d the c o n t e x t u a l agency o f the feminists opposed t h e m as passive. Wise seems t o s u b o r din a te academic discourse t o fan discourse. Wise also avoids the technical a n d specialised academic language w h i c h is favoured by Fiske.. therefore.

refusing to have its personal significance undermined. Particular discourses might be shared across what. She focuses on the 'role of culture in the autoethnography can chart h o w multiple fandoms are linked through the individual^ realisation o f a self-identity. self-reflexivity acts as part o f acadcmia's 'criticai industry'. dwelling on problems with fans' justifications of their fandom. H e r admission that this is contradicted elsewhere rcturns her work to the predictable academic norms o f cultural studies which suggest that 'the immediacy o f the body' ( 1 9 9 5 : 3 8 n 2 3 ) cannot be trusted or assumed. Work on youth culture has shown. to the emotions' ( 1 9 9 5 : 2 7 ) . at least. O f course..). indicating that E d d i e Cochran was important to her because of his music. before suddenly varying her account and adopting an academic perspective: I have been talking as though the appeal o f rock ' n ' roll (of E d d i e Cochran) is simply there. Cochran's music. I w o u l d characterise her account o f E d d i e C o c h r a n . Wolff does indeed toe this line in a chapter o n dance criticism ( 1 9 9 5 : 6 8 . this requires the constant use o f sclfrcflexive questioning. Autoethnography can also achieve something w h i c h fàn-ethnographies to date have neglected. 2 Autoethnography must constantly seek to unsettle the use of theory as a disguise for personal attachments and investments. operates in conjunction with a complex process o f individual and social identities.to the body. 3 Self-reflexivity cannot legitimate autoethnography as an exercise. objeets in the continuai process o f our o w n production o f selP (ibid. 4 Autoethnography should treat self and other identically. constructcd by m e n ' that Wise herself is avoiding the complexitíes o f interpretation by neady aligning one interpretation o f Élvis with a dominant sense of male 'media hype' while leaving her own interpretation supposedly outside the cultural system of power and dominance that her narrative constructs. B u t it seems to replicate exactly what Wolff has criticised in relation to Wise's account: the investment of the fan-self is protected from the intruding discourses of academia. Self-imagínings: autoethnography as an escape from singular fan culture Ali o f which sets up the ground which my o w n autoethnography must traverse.in the beat.BETWEEN 'KNOWLEDGE' AND 'JUSTIFICATION' BETWEEN ' K N O W L E D G E ' AND ' J U S T I F I C A T I O N ' fòrmation o f identity: the ways i n which we use certain cultural events. Again. like other aspects o f fashion and style. W h e n self-reflexivity is subjected to 'self-reflexive' critique then it becomes apparent that this term supports a fàntasy o f academic power and a fàntasy o f the idealist transformation o f society. the body and the voice. as the 'good' object o f a teenage fandom. and also acknowledges that this reversal is contradicted elsewhere in her study: ' I do want to argue that there is something in the music of early rock V roll w h i c h constitutes a direct appeal . different fandoms may also not clearly relate to one 80 81 . This requires the constant use o f sclf-reflexivc questioning. T h r o u g h the preceding discussions I have established four key principies for autoethnography: 1 Autoethnography must constantly seek to unsettle the moral dualisms w h i c h are thrown up by the narcissism o f ' c o m m o n sense' and its narrative closures. Wolff still preserves a privileged status for the cultural moment of her Cochran fandom. she says. but can be used to explore more general features o f a cultural m o m e n t ' ( 1 9 9 5 : 2 8 ) . The concepts o f 'intellectual rigour' and heroic reflexivity act as another form o f academic 'common sense' which sustains the criticai ' u s ' versus the duped 'them'. This should remind us once more that good autoethnography should attempt to be multivocal. but shifts the terms of her argument in order to disguise her personal investment in late 1950s rock V roll as a matter o f theoretical argument and cultural/musical specificity. using the same theoretical terms and attributions of agency to describe both.8 7 ) . T h u s . Why. and may therefore be selected on the basis o f affective criteria other than the sound itself. A t this point. of course. is split off from academic norms which refuse to allow value to emerge automatically from texts. and holding o n to a sense of her possession o f Cochran's music. These multiple fandoms and interests in different media forms may cohere in intriguing ways. T h a t is. and academic discourse is again subordinated to fàn discourse. does this writer accept the disciplinary norms o f cultural studies and feminism in one instance.: 10 in the interjection 'an image. then. Wolff begins by writing as a fan. good autoethnography does not simply validate the self and its fandoms by tAvisting theory to fit the preferences of tfie self. (Wolff 1995: 26) 29). practices.. WolfPs own account o f her Eddie Cochran fandom also raises a number of useful points. at first glance. as autobiography which distorts theoretical logic. for ali her claims to be 'working on the assumption that . but break those norms in her discussion o f Eddie Cochran? I w o u l d hke to view this as a challenge to academic assumptions. specific intcrtextual nctworks 1992. that music. Wolff describes her work as an 'ethnography o f the self' (ibid. appear to be very different objeets o f fàndom. rather than isolating single fan cultures (e. the study o f Star Trek fans as in Bacon-Smith 1992 and Pcnley 1991. 1997) or o f 'cult T V ' / ' t e l e f à n t a s y ' (Jenkins 1992a). it should not operate as a legitimation of the investments of the academic-fan self which are dressed up as theoretical 'critique'.g. Wolff therefore makes a theoretical exception for her object o f fandom. arguing that this does not substitute autobiography for theory. I n true autoethnographic style. Personal investment masquerades as theory. preferences are not purely personal or idiosyncratic. Wolff immediately reverses her position again. in the music .

I seem t o have avoided obviously 'bestselling'. B r i t i s h h o r r o r . w i t h band m e m b e r M a r k K i n g b e i n g referred t o as one o f the wor!d's Toto Levei 42 Figure 3. Autoethnography offers one possible solutíon to the problem identified by Nick Couldry. Although this type o f selfreporting cannot be assumed to be infallible or 'correct'. I w o u l d suggest t a k i n g as b r o a d a v i e w o f ' f a n d o m ' as possible.2). C o u l d r y rightly observes that V e should k n o w more about what individuais' "textual fields" are like . it is pragmatícally useful to attempt to chart ali one's objeets o f fandom.2 at specific times? These could be moments in a in the construction of age-based identities E o 30 25 20 " 15 I Doctor Who Horror Fiction Star Trek Toto I f I 10 5 0 1 i life-story (leaving h o m e but using fandom to remain connected with a familymoments ('childytcenageryyouth'/'adult'). a l t h o u g h this was n o t a calculated decision at the t i m e .BfciWfcfciN • L i U l i í - A M U • J U S 1 1 f 1 C A 1 1 U JN ' BETWEEN 'KNOWLEDGE' AND 'JUSTIFICATION' another. construct a sense of those texts that are relevant and meaningful to us. L e v e i 4 2 . T h e writers whose w o r k I f o l l o w e d ali t e n d e d t o use E n g l i s h settings ( n o r t h e r n E n g l a n d i n the case o f Gallagher and L a w s . ' m a i n stream' and A m e r i c a n h o r r o r writers. and i n c l u d i n g any d e v o t e d media c o n s u m p t i o n as w e l l as non-media-based quickly become overly-simplified. i 82 83 . intertextual links indicated. Laws. 'the 1980s'). First. indicating where there are intertextual or generic links. namely. moments when different cultural identities or moments w h i c h emerge Significant fandoms over time.1 -<—>• -<—>- Steve Lukather Mark King. enthusiasms the or part hobbies of the w h i c h may have l e d t o specialist media c o n s u m p t i o n . indicating when fandoms became less or more significant. by w h i c h I mean a m a r g i n a l i t y c o n s t r u c t e d against the tastes a n d practices o f the ' m a i n s t r e a m ' . autoethnographic diagrams of my fandom are presented below (Figures 3. This allows the autoethnographer to get a sense o f the variety and possible coherence o f their fàn objeets. h a v i n g little interest i n Stephen K i n g . and never f o l l o w i n g the w o r k o f James H e r b e r t and Clive Barker w i t h the same energy that I d e v o t e d t o reading Gallagher. Allan Holdsworth Fandoms grouped by subject matter. a n d television share a c o m m o n t h r e a d : I t e n d t o value bands and p r o g r a m m e s w h i c h lack obvious ' c r e d i b i l i t y ' b u t w h i c h nevertheless appeal t o h i g h l y insular fan cognoscenti. allowing different aspeets and dimensions o f self-idenrity to be realised through various cultural materiais. what common discourses are shared by my objeets of fandom? 'Britishness' seems t o be i m p o r t a n t : Doctor Who is o f t e n favourably contrasted and contexts become dominam ('fan'/'acadcmic'). through the popular construction of cultural history ('the 1970s'. w h i l e typically b e i n g m o c k e d as a p r o d u c t o f 1980s p o p by non-fans. L o n d o n as a focus i n Fowler's w o r k ) . w e r e and are valued by t h e i r fans t h r o u g h discourses o f musicianship.how do people select from the myriad texts around them. w i t h subjective sense o f variable intensity diagrams is w h a t he o r she is prepared t o c o u n t as a ' f a n d o m ' .1. is t h a t o f 'cultishness'. both past and present. and then over time. M y tastes i n music. M y own 3. identity irrelFigure 3. and o f h o w we. These diagrams can be analysed a u t o e t h n o g r a p h i c a l l y i n a variety o f ways. Beginning an autoethnography. a n d w h a t is b e i n g f i t t e d i n . but an passions. These diagrams can very awareness o n autoethnographer o f w h a t is being left o u t . as media consumers and fans. as well as asking the question: why do various fandoms become relevant and evant based to cultural identity). Equally. James. Clearly an issue the autoethnographer confronts when drawing up these Horror fictíon Stephen Gallagher Christopher Fowler Mark Morris Stephen Laws -<—)• Cult TV Doctor Who Blake's 7 Star Trek and ST:TNG The X-Files -<—• Gillian Anderson •<—• Cult TV celebrities Tom Baker w i t h 'US'-style telefantasy by its fans. can p r o v i d e the basis f o r later discussion. even t h o u g h there are n o o b v i o u s i n t e r t e x t u a l links b e t w e e n m y music a n d television fiction Pop Music (Groups) Music (Solo/Session Playing) fandoms. what c o m m o n patterns are there in what they select? Yct this is an area where cultural studies has done very litdc rescarch' ( C o u l d r y 2 0 0 0 b : 73). the type o f h o r r o r f i c t i o n t h a t I became interested i n d u r i n g m y teens was. M o r r i s et al. I would also suggest charting one's fandoms by subject matter. A n o t h e r discourse w h i c h is shared by ali m y objeets o f f a n d o m . c a r r y i n g positive values o f ' s t o r y / i n t e l lect/eccentricity' versus ' p r o d u c t i o n v a l u e s / a c t i o n / f o r m u l a ' (see T u l l o c h and Jenkins 1 9 9 5 ) . the problem of 'too many texts'. this is not really a problem sinec we will return to the issue o f self-reflexivity to examine how the autoethnographer construets a certain sense of self in their own account.

I c o u l d . my ethnicity and my sexuality. I was not able simply to pursue my fàndom. can certainly be challenged. are largely i g n o r e d i n t hei r h o m e m a r k e t . whcther or not this was true. as w e l l as K i n g ' s p l a y i n g was Music. Bollas). even if I cannot recall any direct challenge to my sense o f masculinity.BETWEEN 'KNOWLEDGE' AND 'JUSTIFICATION' BETWEEN ' K N O W L E D G E ' AND 'JUSTIFICATION* cultíshness (i. via the important to me. F o u c a u l t and M e l a n i e K l e i n ) .e. 84 85 . this type of u n t h i n k i n g o p p o s i t i o n t o the ' c o n v e n t i o n a l ' is i t sel f a set o f conventíons. is n o t l i n k e d w i t h values o f speed a n d o b v i o u s l y 'flash' p l a y i n g . their fan c u l t u r e is predominantíy E u r o p e a n and Japanesc.g. T h e r e is therefore also a constant sense o f seeking ( m o r e o r less consciously) n o t t o fit i n t o expected patterns o f media c o n s u m p t i o n a n d expected patterns o f taste. a l t h o u g h an A m e r i c a n A O R / M O R b a n d .B r i t i s h . instead. I have suggested. the fàct that this decision made cultural sense to me indicates the operation o f one aspect o f a cultural system o f value whereby media fàndom is/was linked to a sense o f 'fàiled' or inadequate masculinity. at the age o f fifteen. i t is also w o r t h n o t i n g that m y fan tastes are almost u n r e m i t t i n g l y masculine. provided a clearer sense o f 'enduring' masculinity and an imagined 'toughness' through whic h my cultural identity could be rcconstructcd. t h e n I feel a sense o f loss. Although my interest in Gallagher's writing initíally depended o n my Doctor Who fandom. A l o n g s i d e p r o . W i n n i c o t t . ( T h i s also places t h e m w i t h i n an ' a n t i . I n o t h e r w o r d s . or perhaps because of. here takes centre-stage. Despite having excluded academic theorists f r o m m y aut oet hnography. as has C h r i s t o p h e r Bollas's since I first w r o t e a b o u t this i n m y P h D . I subjected to the pressures o f cultural context. Making and Bassist. their w o r k is. instead his style is discussed as a m a t t e r o f chameleonic skill w h i c h never surrenders its individuality. this became less important as I started to read other horror writers. and later w h i l e I was at university. r e t a i n i n g the same structural o p p o s i t i o n t o theorists whose w o r k is deemed t o o ' o b v i o u s ' o r t o o ' m a i n s t r e a m ' (e. I have not focused o n the temporal shifts i n my fandoms. m y lack o f any real s p o r t i n g f a n d o m . A n d w h e n the theorist's w o r k I value threatens t o go m a i n s t r e a m . a major shift i n my fandoms oceurred at around the age o f fifteen. M y fandoms here from were Who. T h i s absence can also be challenged.) A l s o . I have constructed what seems to be an overly coherent account of my 'unified' subjectivity: do m y fandoms really ali line up so tidily along certain axes. T o t o . t o c o n s t r u c t a sense o f masculine p o w e r and agency. T h i s reinforces a sense o f my cultural power and. as is clear f r o m the cultural discourses w h i c h structure ali m y fandoms. or have I excluded more problematic and disruptive fandoms? So fàr. a n t i .A m e r i c a n ' discourse even w h i l e they c a n n o t be a l i g n e d w i t h ' p r o . sellcrs/ecccntricity). L i v i n g within this dimension o f cultural value. w h o w o u l d usually be i n the shadows. the bass player.A m e r i c a n and ' c u l t ' discourses w h i c h are shared across m y objeets o f f a n d o m . b u t this was o n an i n s t r u m e n t usually considered t o be the w o r k h o r s e o f a p o p / r o c k b a n d rather t h a n a solo i n s t r u m e n t . F o r example.e. O p e n i n g up this topic cah allow for a less 'active' and heroic view o f my media consumption. only to return to this fàndom in my mid-twenties? I n this case. w i t h guitarist Steve Lukather being t h o u g h t o f as a v i r t u o s o player w h o retains an i n d i v i d u a l playing style even i n sessions. M y sensed need to alter my fàndom. Now. What are the other problems with my autoethnographic considered how my self-identity remains account? I have albeit via an highly gendered. leaving these as unspoken and invisible categories. I f I used horror to perfòrm a different type o f masculinity. as somebody w h o actively makes use o f his media fandoms. I nst ead I steadfastly refused t o fali i n t o w h a t I viewed as the ' f a s h i o n ' o f the m o m e n t . in a million years. T h e theor is t is n o l o n g e r m y c u l t possession. d e v e l o p i n g a r o u n d male h o r r o r writers and male guitarists. by analysing the c o m m o n aspeets o f m y declared fandoms I have been able t o perceive links w i t h these o t h e r áreas.B r i t i s h ' discourses. Second. However. T h e music o f American A O R / M O R important. I also used more marginal forms o f horror literature rather than 'mainstream' film. I drifted away from Who fàndom because o f a tcenage estimation that i f I continued with this all-consuming passion I would never. 'discerning' consumption/musicianship/not obvious best- best bass playcrs i n nichc magazines such as Guitarist h a v i n g featured i n the ' m u s o s ' magazine. have any chance o f getting a girifriend. his showiness was revalued by fans t h r o u g h concepts o f the ' u n d e r d o g ' . rather anxiously. have i m m e r s e d m y s e l f i n the credible bands o f the t i m e . in this case. proféssionally legitimated) fòrm today. possibly also linked to an. B u t why this shift in fandoms? W h y did I start to move away Doctor cannot present myself as an active cultural agent. Like Wise. T h i r d . therefore produced a shift from T V sf fandom to horror fandom. M y fan objeets therefore a l l o w m e .urgent tcenage need to separate my identity from that of the 'child'. T h i s taste f o r the ' o p p o s i t i o n a P may also have f o l l o w e d me i n t o m y academic career. As m y interest in Doctor Who waned then new fan objeets started to become band T o t o became Who seemed to be transferred. t h r o u g h self-analysis. r e m a i n i n g interested i n T o t ó and Levei 4 2 . what does this account leave out? First. t h a t certain aspeets o f m y c u l t u r a l i d e n t i t y are p r o d u c e d by and t h r o u g h m y f a n d o m s : and Britishness (typically rcalised against the ' b a d ' other o f America). I have not discussed my class position. against the n o r m s o f s u b c u l t u r a l credibility. and p a r t o f a wider ' m o v e m e n t ' or m o m e n t i n t h o u g h t . u n l i k e o t h e r gui t ar heroes. I n d e e d . Hor r or . equally. A n d this despite. As Scott B u k a t m a n reports: 'there's m y i r r a t i o n a l fear o f l o s i n g m y self by j o i n i n g a c o m m u n i t y (any community)' ( 1 9 9 4 : 1 2 6 ) . L u k a t h e r . I felt under pressure to reject it. as a narrative o f self. p a r t o f a c u l t u r a l cânon. into British horror. since I actively seek o u t value against the perceived ' n o r m s ' o f the mainstream a n d . and my interest in Doctor mediating intertextual link provided by Stephen Gallagher's work. I n o w c o n s t r u c t a sense o f self-identity at least partially t h r o u g h i d e n t i f y i n g w i t h critics whose w o r k I value ( A d o r n o . retaining a sense o f unease with 'good' masculinity and tempering this w i t h an 'antí-mainstream' cultíshness and an 'anti-physical' bookishness that I possess in an exaggerated and 'vocatíonal' (i. I present myself as a cultural agent. T o t o are again valued by t h e i r fans through discourses of musicianship. masculinity (the virtuoso/the underdog/intellect/agency) deliberately showy.

F o r example. as C o r n e l l ( 1 9 9 7 ) notes. ' F m not one o f those sad fàns w h o hangs out at conventíons' this claim attempts to announce. p r e s u m a b l y feeling these are t o o close t o h o m e t o be subjected t o 'analysis'. T h i s shuttling between experience and theory illustrates h o w well theory can sometimes fit with our experiences. it is also vitally important not to lose sight o f the ways in which 'theory' fàils to fit w i t h 'experience'. (Why this should have been so. Organised fàndom. conventíons and ali.m a i n s t t e a m ' stance ( w h i c h takes me back t o m y p o i n t a b o u t relative h o m o l o g y at the e n d o f chapter 1 ) . I bid for alternatíve cultural capital i n precisely the way that Bourdieu's ( 1 9 8 4 ) model describes the dominated bourgeoisie. A l t h o u g h I have i n c l u d e d Gillian A n d e r s o n as one o f m y fan 'objeets'. Doctor Who. H e r e it does matter i f the [theoretical] interpretation does not fit experience' ( 1 9 9 5 : 35. s i m p l y by w i s h i n g i t away o r by creating m o r a l dualisms t o d o this w o r k f o r m e magically. I r e m a i n h i g h l y uneasy a b o u t professing that any element o f sexual attraction enters i n t o m y appreciation o f female c u l t celebrities. Although through autoethnography we can never entirely 'disprove' a theory.therefore i n t r u d e m u l t i p a l l y o n this account. n o r that o f an academic. this statement is a type of selflegitimation w h i c h fails in the very moment o f its performative claim. T h i s type o f reflection may seem t o o c r u d e l y fixed at the levei o f 'observable' e t h n i c i t y . I m u s t seek t o avoid d r a w i n g arbitrary lines b e t w e e n naturalised ' i m m e d i a c y ' a n d m e d i a t e d 'cultural systems'. m y a t t e m p t at bolstering m y masculinity. and my o w n autoethnography has sought to expose the limitations of studies which focus on single fandoms. instead i t a l l o w e d t h e significance o f m y f a n d o m t o 86 87 . ' C o m m o n sense' cultural categories .markers o f 'privacy' . is hardly alien t o concepts o f ' p o l y m o r p h o u s perversity' o r t o transgressions o f t h e codes o f heterosexuality. trying to ward off pathologising fan stercotypes by constructing a l s e l P / ' o t h e r ' split.. Despite m y criticisms o f Fiske a n d B u k a t m a n above. t h r e a t e n i n g t o fragment the self i n t o a series o f c o n t r a d i c t o r y investments a n d attachments. had i t n o t been f o r t h e e n c o u r a g e m e n t . t o o . I w o u l d never have e m b a r k e d u p o n t h e life o f a f a n . b u t i t nevertheless serves t o emphasise h o w c u l t u r a l discourses have a p o w e r f u l effect o n o u r j u d g e m e n t s o f w h e t h e r media texts are relevant t o us. w h e n Doctor Who became far more important to me. H u n t e r (2000: 1 9 7 ) . However. A n d h o r r o r f i c t i o n . This unease may stem from an i n v e s t m e n t i n a broadly f e m i n i s t academic p o s i t i o n w h i c h disagrees theoretically w i t h the o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n o f w o m e n w h i l e c o n t i n u i n g t o participate practically i n these ' b a d ' cultural mechanisms. and so on). W h a t o t h e r lapses have I u n c o v e r e d i n m y account? I n terms o f m y ethnicity. and subjectivities . as ' i n t e l l e c t u a l ' . having been a Doctor Who fan and a Star Trek 'followcr' at the same time (see also Tulloch and Jenkins 1 9 9 5 ) . has always h a d a sizeable gay f o l l o w i n g . As Wolff rightly observes: 'cultural studies is not just about texts or theories: it deals with lived experiences. Whethcr this was writing fan fiction for the Doctor Who Appreciation Society or reviewing for the horror fan magazine Samhain. W i t h regards t o sexuality. since I have absented b o t h m y sexuality a n d m y family. I was both a Star Trek fan and a Doctor Who fan up until about the age o f twclve.) Theoretical accounts have tended to emphasise hostilities between these two fandoms (Tulloch and Jenkins 1 9 9 5 ) . also opens up a further challenge to 'fan to attend conventíons or take part in studies': how can we theorise the cultural activities of fans who are not instituand who refuse 'stereotypical' fàn activities? I would describe myself as always having existed on the fringes o f organised fàndom: whenever it seemed that I was close to properly entering an organised fandom. the threat of being 'absorbed' into an organised community was always sufficient to send me scurrying back under cover as a solitary fan. have p r o d u c e d a s t r u c t u r i n g absence: m y 11 I have c o m p l e t e l y failed t o address the h o u s e h o l d a n d o t h e r cultural contexts i n w h i c h m y early fandoms w e r e f o r m e d . or at best as a fan w h o shared his knowledge and enthusiasm only with a highly localised and limited set of fellow fans (see Bacon-Smith 1992). T h i s autoethnography tionally aligned. o r the possibility o f i t b e i n g applied t o m e . unlike I . as a middle-class academic. However. as ' d i f f e r e n t ' . I c a n ' t rationally dispel t h e force o f this fan stereotype. m y whiteness has largely been m i r r o r e d back t o me t h r o u g h t h e texts that I have been a fan o f . I am not particularly distressed at being reduced to my class position. b u t o f t e n o n l y t h e basis o f a shared a u t h e n t i c i t y such as a celebratory ' a n t i . I have refrained f r o m discussing this u n t i l n o w . somehow or other I recoiled from this possibility. I still retain an affection for the programme. perhaps t h r o u g h a class-based sense that issues o f sexuality are n o t a ' p r o p e r ' t o p i c o f discussion. a n d w h e t h e r I argue m y case o r n o t . Winnicott's writing. T h i s h o u s e h o l d c o n t e x t d i d n o t simply enable certain fan meanings o r interpretations. W . always seemed like a bridge too far. indulgence a n d tacit l e g i t i m a t i o n offered by m y family. T h e cultural resources which I have used to construct my sense o f self cannot be separated from m y class position. or at having my fan 'authenticities' recontextualised as part o f a system o f value. I n s h o r t . I am unable to recount. Clearly fans can i d e n tify across ethnicity. making a new form o f sense out o f untheorised life. I t may w e l l be the case t h a t w h a t I w o u l d prefer t o pass over i n silence is an aspect o f m y cultural i d e n t i t y w h i c h begins t o problematise m y ' u n i f i e d ' self. O f course. we can suggest that the ideal-types of theory possess a limited s c o p c i n the face o f our own inhabitations o f culture.. Q . and with the intersections o f social structures. f o r m i n g a shared c u l t u r a l discourse. as inadequately 'masculine') w h e t h e r I like i t o r n o t . or where Doctor Who fans aren't also fans o f D . I also f i n d family. B u t .BETWEEN 'KNOWEEUGE' ANU 'JUSTIFICATION' 'intellectual' and masochistíc masculinity. upon rereading this a c c o u n t that I . m y objeets o f f a n d o m have n o t always clearly m i r r o r e d m y o w n lived heterosexuality. see also Milcs 2001: 165). u n l i k e W o l f f (1995). systems o f representation. A n d although my Star Trek fandom has not been greatly active since my childhood. B u t this a t t e m p t at self-legitimation simultaneously reveals that I cannot sustain this m o r a l d u a l i s m : I am far inside the fan stereotype (given m y self-construction as ' b o o k i s h ' . Theoretical accounts have tended to emphasise singular fandoms (where horror fans arcn't also fans o f guitarists.

T h e o n l y possible way t o d i s r u p t this narrative closure may be t o i n t e r p r e t fan culture (and the self) t h r o u g h alternative theoretical positions. Taking this p o i n t seriously. I have examined four autoethnographies o f different fandoms. the Summary • Fan-ethnographies have been l i m i t e d by a n u m b e r o f r e c u r r i n g p r o b l e m s such as the narrative structures that they have used. H e r e is the academic m o r a l d u a l i s m par c u l t u r a l o r d e r w h i c h is otherwise b u r i e d i n the u n t h o u g h t routines o f everyday life. like N i c k H o r n b y ' s account o f his Arsenal f a n d o m . G i v e n the q u e s t i o n i n g s p i r i t o f autoethnography. even while b e c o m i n g caught u p i n a performative c o n t r a d i c t i o n . n o matter w h a t . M y f a n d o m was respected by m y parents. T h i s defined m y 'uniqueness' i n the family. I am m e t h o d o l o g i c a l l y a n d theoretically o b l i g e d t o concede that m y account o f m y o w n fandoms arrives at a p o i n t o f narcissistic and narrative closure w h i c h privileges (present) academic reflection o n the non-academic (past) self. I w a n t t o r o u n d u p w i t h a f u r t h e r q u e s t i o n . and o n h o w fan desire becomes stuck i n the f o r m o f a n e n d u r i n g media attachment c u l t u r a l contexts and stages o f life. t r e a t i n g these fans as n a t u r a l l y . I T h r o u g h this process I arrived at f o u r key aspeets o f a u t o e t h n o g r a p h y . I was never banned f r o m w a t c h i n g m y favourite T V p r o g r a m m e s and objeets o f f a n d o m . T h e fans' discursive m a n t r a w h i c h works t o justify théir f a n d o m is therefore accepted at face value. B u t this associative ' c o n t a g i o n ' o f fandom's attachments and affeets . T h e t u r n t o a u t o e t h n o g r a p h y has s o u g h t t o address some o f these p r o b lems.e.o c c u r r i n g ( a n d spcctacular) c o m m u n i t i e s . H o w can such intense fan experiences o f subjective ' o w n e r s h i p ' and 'possession' o f the t e x t emerge t h r o u g h ' c u l t u r a l systems'? H o w does the c o n t i n g e n c y o f this c u l t u r a l system (i. Does m y academic discourse c o n s t r u c t a sense o f the c o n t e m porary T excellence: as knowledgeable i n comparison t o m y past fan self? M y account so the assumption t h a t i l l u m i n a t i n g theoretical eyes can perecive the far seems t o assume just such a d i v i s i o n . T h i s tends t o close d o w n t h e investigation o f h o w w e may. and the m o r a l dualisms 88 89 . a n d f o r m e d part o f m y distinctive i d e n t i t y i n the family: I was the Doctor fan. e m p l o y i n g psychoanalysis rather than c u l t u r a l studies. Was this. M y media c o n s u m p t i o n was regulated by m y parents w h e n I was a y o u n g c h i l d . t h e n applied these ideas i n m y o w n a u t o e t h n o g r a p h y .also poses a challenge t o cultural theories o f f a n d o m . w h i c h persists over time and i n d i f f e r e n t • • Who t h a t they have played o u t i n terms o f ' p a i n e d ' fan-victims ( B a c o n . So is the acadcmic's discursive mantra w h i c h w o r k s t o justify academia: n o t i o n o f ' c r i t i c a i ' o r 'self-reflcxive' t h o u g h t . negotiate o u r w a y t h r o u g h m u l t i p l e f a n d o m s o f v a r y i n g intensities at different times. we become fans o f s o m e t h i n g because o u r friends are. a way o f c o m m u n i c a t i n g w i t h m y father w h i c h t h e n became m y o w n private 'possession'? T h e beginnings o f f a n d o m can semetimes seem very clear t o us. Fan-ethnographies have assumed that b o t h fans and academics can fully account discursively f o r t h e i r c u l t u r a l practices. Fan-ethnographies have focused o n fans o f single texts o r n a r r o w intertext u a l networks. B u t I have already suggested that self-reflexivity cannot f o r m the u l t i m a t e legitimation o f autoethnography.either t h r o u g h social networks o r t h r o u g h intertextual networks . b u t regardlcss o f the (then • c u l t u r a l l y acceptable) use o f c o r p o r a l p u n i s h m e n t .S m i t h 1 9 9 2 ) versus ' p o a c h i n g ' fàn-victors (Jenkins 1 9 9 2 a ) . as subjeets. a n d the o f t e n used threat o f b e i n g sent to m y r o o m . a d i f f e r e n t associative l i n k c o u l d have been made f r o m t e x t t o t e x t or f r o m o t h e r t o self) become transformed i n t o the fan's insistence o n the necessity o f this t e x t o r this icon? B o t h fan-ethnographies and autoethnographies have a h i g h l y U m i t e d purchase o n these questions. I w i l l address this i n the next chapter. or because o u r brothers a n d sisters are.BETWEEN 'KNOWLEDGE* AND 'JUSTIFICATION' BETWEEN 'KNOWLEDGE* AND 'JUSTIFICATION' be preserved and t r u s t e d . T h i s familial idealisation raises the question o f the ' o r i g i n s ' p f m y Doctor Who f a n d o m .