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[personal profile] tishaturk
Issue no. 15 of Transformative Works and Cultures came out today; it's a special issue on fandom and/as labor, and I am really looking forward to reading all the essays. (This is not, for the record, something I say about all the academic journals to which I subscribe.)

And now for the shameless self-promotion: one of the essays is mine! I wrote "Fan work: Labor, worth, and participation in fandom's gift economy" for the Symposium section, which means that it's relatively short and less ponderously academic than some of my other essays. It grew out of thinking about Rache's essay "The Fannish Potlatch" and Karen Hellekson's "A Fannish Field of Value: Online Fan Gift Culture" and agreeing with a lot of what's in both those essays but also thinking about what I wanted to add to the conversation about fandom's gift economy and how it works--and in particular thinking about what what I wrote at the end of this post from last year: "the behind-the-scenes work that goes into reccing, reblogging, running awards sites, administering prompt memes, tagging for meme archives, etc., is why I get so frustrated with definitions of "fan work" that focus primarily on writing fic and making vids and ignore or handwave all the other kinds of work that make my daily fannish experience what it is."

An excerpt from the TWC essay:
While art objects may be the gifts most publicly recognized or validated by fellow fans, and while these gifts are indeed a crucial part of fandom's gift economy, we can better appreciate the scope of fandom's gift economy if we recognize that fannish gifts include not only art objects but the wide range of creative labors that surround and in some cases underlie these art objects. We can better understand the relationship between gift exchange and community formation if we see fandom as a system not just of reciprocal giving but of circular giving. And we can better evaluate the relationship between fandom and production if we attend to not just the giving but the receiving of gifts.


This is the first thing I've published in fan studies that isn't specifically about vidding (although it is very much informed by my own experiences with vids and vidding, especially note 4, in which I am totally poking fun at my own history as a vidder). It was fun! I might do more of it. On the other hand, it turns out that I have a whole lot of things to say about vids, so that will probably keep me busy for the foreseeable future. :D

Date: 2014-03-16 06:32 pm (UTC)
ghost_lingering: bonobos (stability in the tramway)
From: [personal profile] ghost_lingering
Haha, Note 4 is perfect. The rest of it is great too; I've certainly been in small fandoms where one person is able to facilitate the growth of the fandom simply by virtue of promoting and reccing the show/book/etc or by "knowing everyone" and thereby acting as a kind of host, introducing fans, especially fan creators, to each other, all without ever writing fic or making fan art or vids themselves. That kind of work is essential to creating and maintaining fan communities.

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Tisha Turk

November 2016

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