Fan Studies

Fan Studies is a field of research that places a focus on media fans and fan cultures (Oxford Bibliographies).

So, what are you (Olivia) a fan of?

Me admitting this may sound ridiculous. I’m 18 and should ‘grow up’ but I’m a die-hard fan of…. Ariana Grande! I have loved her since her Victorious days and have grown up listening to her music and watching her career blossom into doing a clothing line with Lipsy London in 2015, her merchandise, perfumes, her MAC cosmetic line and of course her concerts.

All of my images

What can the study of fans tell us about audiences, and their relationship with media content?

I’ve always seen a fan as a person who participates in activities and shows support to a person/s, TV show or movie etc. By studying fans, we learn that there are two aspects to fandoms. One element, the social aspect, refers to fans coming together in formal or informal groups to share their mutual interest with one another (Sullivan, 2019 p. 195). The second element that focuses on fandoms is fans as interpreters and producers of media content also known as the interpretive aspect. These fans like to recreate in some form to show their appreciation of their TV show, movie, artist etc (Sullivan, 2019 p.195).

Fans of Ariana Grande communicate and support her by creating fan pages, and even meeting each other before concerts. I once had a fan page where I reposted pictures she posted. Through this page I met a bunch of other girls who I became friends with. I would also make sure that I went to her concerts and supported her by buying products of hers. I once asked the manager of a Priceline store if I could have the signage from her first perfume launch and she did! I still have all those items till this day!

How might this represent a change from earlier studies models?

Although fans now have the internet and social media to connect with one another, it has not changed the fact that fans interact with one another and have been doing so prior to the internet. In 1995, Harrington and Beilby conducted a study surrounding fans of soap operas, surveying 706 TV soap opera fans asking questions in relation to the social element of being a fan. 96% of those surveyed had said that they talked to other fans on a regular basis and with 37% of those said they spoke to 4 or more other fans about their favourite soap operas. (Sullivan 2019, p. 195)

Now days, with the internet we are able to connect to fans from all over the world without having to leave our homes. Now, all you need is a hashtag or a quick simple google search to find other fans, fan accounts, blogs and forums. Before the internet, fans would have to come together and meet at conventions or concerts or physically leave their homes to meet in person. This hasn’t changed much since I still meet people in person when I go to Ariana’s concerts.


Jenkins, H., 2019, “Fan Studies”, Oxford Bibliographies, 18th of June, [online], Viewed 20th of April 2020,

Lamerichs, N., 2018, “Productive Fandom: Intermediality and Affective Reception in Fan Cultures” Chapter 7:Conclusion Prospects of Fan Studies, Amsterdam University Press, [online], viewed 20th of April 2020,

Sullivan, L, J., 2019, ” Media Audiences, Effects, Users, Institutions, and Power” (ed 2), Media Fandoms and Audience Subculture p.189-210, Sage Publications.

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