Toward an understanding of political enthusiasm as media fandom:: Blogging, fan productivity and affect in American politics

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Abstract

Blogs, alongside being an increasingly visible part of the contemporary public sphere, are spaces of communication that offer insights into the motivations and practices of political enthusiasm. Based on the analysis of the one hundred most commented on, most recommended and most ‘hotlisted’ blogs per week on the popular progressive blog Daily Kos during a 22 week period from September 2012 to January 2013, this paper argues that political enthusiasm is best conceptualised as a form of media fandom, in which blogging and commenting on blogs constitute forms of enunciative and textual productivity motivated by the affective bond between citizens and politicians as fans and fan objects. This study offers no support for recent suggestions that blogging leads to general political polarisation, and instead indicates that polarisation effects vary among different political fan cultures and across the political spectrum. However, its findings suggest that the affective basis of political fandom – fans’ self-reflective investments in given symbolic forms (such as politicians and parties) rather than substance (values and beliefs) – problematises the efficacy and legitimacy of indirect, representative democracies in the digital age.
LanguageEnglish
Pages252-296
Number of pages45
JournalParticipations; Journal of audience and reception studies
Volume10
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2013
Externally publishedYes

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Cite this

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abstract = "Blogs, alongside being an increasingly visible part of the contemporary public sphere, are spaces of communication that offer insights into the motivations and practices of political enthusiasm. Based on the analysis of the one hundred most commented on, most recommended and most ‘hotlisted’ blogs per week on the popular progressive blog Daily Kos during a 22 week period from September 2012 to January 2013, this paper argues that political enthusiasm is best conceptualised as a form of media fandom, in which blogging and commenting on blogs constitute forms of enunciative and textual productivity motivated by the affective bond between citizens and politicians as fans and fan objects. This study offers no support for recent suggestions that blogging leads to general political polarisation, and instead indicates that polarisation effects vary among different political fan cultures and across the political spectrum. However, its findings suggest that the affective basis of political fandom – fans’ self-reflective investments in given symbolic forms (such as politicians and parties) rather than substance (values and beliefs) – problematises the efficacy and legitimacy of indirect, representative democracies in the digital age.",
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