Fan Words: Towards a New Vocabulary of Fan Theory

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In 1976 Raymond Williams cemented his position as a central theorist of cultural studies with Keywords, a book that used the format of the glossary as an intellectual device to start rethinking social analysis. Word-by-word musing offered Williams a platform to both summarize the terrain of cultural theory and to extend it. His writing was based on the profound truth that academic thinking primarily takes place through language. While the academic process of ‘keywording’ has continued for pedagogic reasons in subject glossaries and text books, there seems to be precious little space to explore keywords as tools to advance theory. In this paper I will use a small handful of keywords to begin rethinking how we might study popular music fandom. The emphasis will be both on deconstructing existing words and suggesting some which have the potential to take fandom theory in new directions.

Dr Mark Duffett, University of Chester