180MC – Fans, prosumers, activists

Today’s lecture discusses how participatory audiences engage with texts in a specific fashion and under specific conditions of cultural production. We can call these audiences prosumers in terms of their practices, or fans in terms of their affective engagement. They constitute alternative interpretive and social communities, and their desire to influence textual production makes them poach and create transformative works. Their work can be understood within a gift economy framework, and it needs reading in the context of current copyright legislation.

Lecture slides

Project brief:

As a group, choose a specific fan community, and analyse their cultural practices of textual production and circulation in the digital world. What type of transformative work they engage in? What is its cultural context? How can you understand their culture and work? You should apply the concepts discussed today to understand the ideological, legal and economic factors shaping the cultural practices you are analysing. Make sure you:

  • do not confuse a genuine grassroots prosumer community with a corporate initiative.
  • focus on the community, the practices and the culture, not on the platform hosting them.
You have 10 minutes to present your findings.


Jenkins, H. (2006), Fans, Bloggers, and Gamers: Exploring Participatory Culture(Chapter one) NY: NYUP. pp. 1-36.

Jenkins, H. (2006) Convergence Culture (Introduction). NY: NYUP. pp.1-24

Lyman, P. et al. (2009) Hanging Out, Messing Around, And Geeking Out: Kids Living and Learning With New MediaCambridge: MIT press.

Murray, S. (2004) “‘Celebrating the story the way it is’: cultural studies, corporate media and the contested utility of fandom” Continuum: Journal of Media & Cultural Studies 18 (1): 7-25