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Community and identity in fictional fandoms: a qualitative exploration of individual accounts.

Pereira, Vera (2017) Community and identity in fictional fandoms: a qualitative exploration of individual accounts. UNSPECIFIED. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

Research focused on identity and community aspects of fandoms has been largely quantitative (Groene and Hettinger, 2015; Obst et al., 2001; Chadborn et al., 2016), while qualitative research on these topics has not looked at the individual experiences of fans within their fandoms (Miller and Benqwitz, 2016; Delia, 2015; Hazlett, 2002). Using a critical realist approach, the aim of the present study is to look at fans’ experiences of identity and community within their fandoms with reference to the frameworks given by Social Identity theory () and Psychological Sense of Community (). By using semi-structured interviews, and analysing data with thematic analysis, fours themes were established: fandom as shared interest, knowledge importance within fandoms' hierarchies, negative meta stereotyping and complexity of fan identity. These themes provide information on how these frameworks are helpful for the understanding of individuals’ experiences, but do not account the whole spectrum of experiences that fandoms provide

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