After the Match and Beyond: Football Fanfiction and the Mediatization of Football
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This thesis studies footballslash, an online community dedicated to writing slash (homoerotic) fanfiction about football players. It analyzes how its participants utilize football to construct their stories, drawing upon football’s media landscape and presentation in order to creatively expand its narratives. It looks at how they transform what is there through their own creative practices, refashioning the information they encounter in order to better suit their own needs and desires.This thesis draws upon the history of fanfiction practice and community in order to comprehend this viewpoint. It argues that fanfiction and slash fanfiction, as it has moved to the Internet and become more expansive, has become a way to interact with potentially any media narrative. Those familiar with the practices expect there to be fanfiction for everything. This thesis, therefore, also investigates the corollary to this: how did football come to be seen as a media narrative to expand? It utilizes the concept of “mediatization” to present a long-term, historical account of the media’s influence on football. It explores the different stages of football’s mediatization, from the Edwardian printed press to newsreels to digital television, and argues that football, in some way, has always been understood as a media object. It also explores the role that new media plays in contemporary football fan practice, and how media convergence both intensifies and complicates previous models. As a whole, this thesis presents a study of “convergence fandom,” the way in which previously separate fan cultures interact and hybridize in the current media environment. In doing so, it comes to an understanding of footballslash and its practices, but also the context in which it exists.