Comparing Online Superhero Fan Discourse to Fascism: A Qualitative Analysis of Digital Fandom on Reddit
Sen Choudhary, P.
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This paper is intended towards analyzing, understanding, and identifying specific aspects of online fan practices, specifically focusing on the political expression through Superhero fandom on media platforms like Reddit that happen to resonate with and echo some of the fascist behavioral traits displayed by leaders such as Trump and Modi to name a few, on public forums. With the growing popularity of superhero films, television series, and other forms of transmedial entertainment across the globe, displays of superhero fandom through fan fiction, fan art, and fan discussions and debates on media platforms have become increasingly popular. However, with the evident similarities between elements of the superhero narrative and typical fascist behavioral elements, fans often tend to use a certain kind of online discourse in the form of specific phrases that may indicate a legitimizing glorifying or normalizing of typical fascist traits. This thesis aims to analyze such online fan discourse within a particular superhero fan community to identify and unravel similarities between narrative elements of discourse created through fan products such as fanfiction and fan-art and typical fascist aesthetics and dramaturgy.