March 31, 2014 11:53 PM   Subscribe

"Generally speaking, media fandom operates on a labor theory of value—not necessarily in the Marxist sense of the phrase, but in the sense that value derives from work. Fandom's gift economy assigns special worth to "gifts of time and skill" (Hellekson 2009, 115), gifts made by fans for fans. The worth of these gifts lies not simply in the content of the gift, nor in the social gesture of giving, but in the labor that went into their creation." -- Fan work: Labor, worth, and participation in fandom's gift economy by Tisha Turk.
posted by MartinWisse (4 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
The article doesn't mention how much of that free labor is by women, perhaps partially explaining why it has not been fully monetized.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:34 AM on April 1, 2014

I find this a beautiful and interesting paper. Thanks for linking it, MartinWisse.

I've been tentatively edging my way into fandom over the last year or so, and thinking a great deal about what that means and why I want to do it, after ten or fifteen years of being interested in the phenomenon but just not getting the appeal. This paper will be food for thought and, I hope, discussion with my fannish friends. It also makes me feel better about my deeply ingrained lurking tendencies. I'm not an artist or vid-maker, and though I read fanfic and write other stuff, I've never had the urge to write it. It's nice to have some reassurance that one can participate validly in fan culture without being a producer.
posted by daisyk at 6:18 AM on April 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

FIJAGDH. (Fandom is just a god damned hobby.)
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 9:10 AM on April 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

Fandom feels like it's changed a lot. Not better or worse - just different. I've been a member of the Thief fandom since the original back in 1999, when enthusiasm for the game meant sharing hints on playstyles, story in-jokes and glitch exploits. Later when the editor was released, enthusiasm meant creating fanmissions and sharing those. The fanbase (at least, the whole fanbase I knew about) was congregated around a set of forums and a single website we used as a hub. For years, only a trickle of new people would arrive every so often, with a larger bump each time a sequel came out.

The new reboot was released two months ago, and now what I see springing up everywhere are screenshots, stories, cosplay and artwork, across dozens of tumblrs, deviantart accounts, dreamwidth communities, AO3, etc. The atmosphere has changed almost beyond recognition.

(Although I do hope that the editor for this new reboot gets released soon, so we can get stuck into making fanmissions as well)
posted by talitha_kumi at 1:47 AM on April 2, 2014

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