Integral and Apart. Placing Fandom in Media Fans’ Day-to-Day Lives

Activity: Talk and presentationAcademic presentationAcademic


“My phone – it goes with me everywhere. I can dip in and see what people are talking about on Discord or what new things have arrived on Tumblr whenever I have time during the day. It’s like a little key, a piece of fandom that I can take with me on those apps.” This is how one of my research participants responded when asked about the place of fandom in their day-to-day routine. In a time of mediatization (Hjarvard 2013) where mobile digital devices and technologies have become a ubiquitous presence, fans can quite literally carry their fandoms with them in their pockets. It shapes their fan engagement and affects how fandom may relate to other domains of life, such as work and family.

This talk will present preliminary findings based on online participant observation, semi-structured interviews and solicited media diaries among thirteen media fans, most of whom engage in fanfiction and other transformative works. Initial findings show that fandom has a strong presence in my participants’ everyday lives – from brief moments of scrolling on Tumblr and chatting on Discord to daydreaming while on the road to writing for several hours later in the day. Meanwhile, participants also consider fandom to be something separate from “real life”, drawing different mental, physical, and digital boundaries as to where, when and how fandom can freely be practiced and experienced.

The aim of this talk is to generate discussion about what fandom brings to fans’ day-to-day lives and what implications this may hold. For example, discussion could center on fandom, platform affordances, and perceptions of public and private online (e.g., Alberto 2021; Dym & Fiesler 2018); on fandom as generative of play and playfulness (e.g., Booth 2017, Petersen 2022); or on the performativity of fandom, including the performance and managing of emotion and mood (e.g., Bennett & Booth 2015).
Event titleFan Studies Network - North America Conference 2022: Inside Voices
Event typeConference
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • everyday life
  • mediatization
  • boundaries
  • affordances
  • online/offline
  • play
  • performativity