So here is a post relating to the elective I am doing at the moment (Popular Culture).
I wrote this Annotated Bibliography to submit for the final assessment piece (we had to write 3 bibliographies).
I want to know what people think of the idea between Fan-Celebrity interaction. It was previously discussed in a lecture for Media 1 and I myself am definitely apart of this fan-celebrity culture which is why I am so interested in it.
Here it is below.. enjoy!
Ferris, K 2001, ‘Through a Glass, Darkly: The Dynamics of Fan-Celebrity Encounters’, Symbolic Interaction, vol. 24, no. 1, pp. 25-47.
In this article, Kerry O Ferris examines the interaction between celebrities and their fans, further suggesting that perhaps there could be a theory developed for fan-celebrity interaction. The article explores the dynamic relationship between fans and celebrities, and the ways in which some “fans make and take advantage of opportunities for prestige encounters at public events” (Ferris 2001, pg. 25). However some fans actively pursue celebrities to create fan-staged encounters often blurring the line of being an, ‘active fan’ and showing similarities to ‘celebrity stalkers’. Whilst Ferris acknowledges the face-to-face contact between celebrities and their fans, she also brings attention to the interaction between fans and celebrities via mass media and the way in which it “can incorporate the fictional and the extraordinary into their real, ordinary, everyday lives” (Ferris 2001, pg. 25).
To form a deeper understanding of fan-celebrity relationships, Ferris collected observational and interview data over a two-year period from ‘active’ Star Trek and ABC soap opera fans. She describes active fans as “pursuing beyond interest, consumption and enjoyment of the television show”, whilst also “forming social bonds with other fans and participating in activities” (Ferris 2001, pg. 28). Collected were a series of twenty in-depth interviews with active fans (fifteen women and five males), who discussed their “television viewing habits and practices, personal histories of fan ship and fan-celebrity contact” (Ferris 2001, pg. 29).
The article provides a deep insight into the developing theory of fan-celebrity relationships, recognising that not all fans blur the line between ‘active fans’ and ‘celebrity stalkers’. Whilst also having collected subjective data from interviews, Ferris gathered notes whilst attending “conventions, autograph signings, and personal appearances at store openings” (Ferris 2001, pg. 29) in which fans can interact face-to-face with celebrities, providing an ‘in the field’ perspective. This enabled her research to have a multi-faceted approach supporting the theory of fan-celebrity relationships.
Whilst the article provides a range of data to suggest that there is a potential for a theory of fan-celebrity relationships, there are some limitations which include the fact that Ferris has used an unbalanced male to female ratio (15 females and 5 males) potentially giving an inaccurate result, as the results could be gender-affected. However, this ratio could perhaps suggest that there are in fact more female ‘active fans’ than there are male ‘active fans’, implying that further research within this area is suggested. Ferris also states that the data is focused primarily on fans, as it is “solely from the fans perspective” (Ferris 2001, pg. 30), giving no other outlook (that of the celebrity/celebrities involved). Nevertheless, this could also be seen as a strength of the data, as it is purely “naturalistic data” (Ferris 2001, pg. 30) which enables for the examination of “indigenous perspectives and meanings” (Ferris 2001, pg. 30) of these active fans.
The article is useful for individuals looking into the fan-celebrity interaction as it provides a multi-faceted approach to the developing theory of the contact between these two groups. Potential research into different fan-celebrity groups is however required as this article only looks at Star Trek and ABC soap opera viewers. In addition, it may also be necessary to gain a perspective from the celebrity’s viewpoint.