Fanatics and Frowners: Struggling Discourses of Fandom on Wieisdemol.com
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This thesis has looked into Wieisdemol.com, a fan forum of the Dutch television show Wie is de Mol?. A discourse analysis was done to see how different academic discourses of fandom interact, combine and/or contradict each other. By analysing the firsts posts of all the discussion threads, this thesis argues for a categorization of its fan practices in four categories: 1) theory and speculation, 2) the production and consumption of fan content, 3) the maintaining of WIDM canon and 4) the evaluation of the quality of WIDM. Within the last category, one specific discussion thread dedicated to giving feedback was analysed. All the forum posts within this discussion thread were examined and analysed through the lens of critical and anti-fandom. Lastly, the same discussion thread was analysed to see how fans themselves makes sense of different forms of fandom. By building on works, theories and concepts of active fan practices, non-fandom and anti-fandom, this thesis argues that these seemingly separated discourses can be used to help understand each other. The thesis positions itself in the struggle between the academic discourses and demonstrates that within one community the practices of the different discourses are closely tied. The main purpose of this thesis is to argue for more research into the relation between negative and positive fan practices and see how they relate to each other within one specific (fan) audience. This will help to understand the complex relation between consumer and text better.