Loz (lozenger8) wrote,

Fandom as capitalist society...

I read a throwaway comment recently which stated fandom was not a capitalist society. For some reason, I immediately disagreed. Despite all of my personal ranting about fan fiction not being a consumer item, it appears I do actually view it as such after all. By stating emphatically that fan fiction was not a consumable, I was opening up the binary view that it was.

I see fandom in hierarchical terms. The currency of the capitalist fandom is not money. It is attention. When I am being facetious, I usually refer to my reading audience as my "market". Even when I am not joking, I tend to think of the fan domain as a marketplace. We exchange goods and services (fan fiction, fan art [by which I include icons and other graphics], fan mixes) for profit (platitudes, attention, good will.)

The private ownership of the means of production is skewed, of course. It can be argued that anyone can produce fan fiction, fan art and/or fan mixes if they have the inclination. It is also clear, however, that it is not the domain of anyone. There are more consumers than producers in fandom, even though they can sometimes be the silent majority.

Perhaps this is where the construct of fandom as capitalist society falls down. Not all consumers 'pay' for the products they consume. In this case, it is far more an arrangement of free distribution. The truth might be that I am so embedded in the capitalist ideology that I automatically attempted to impose it on a system which is not about capitalism at all.

What do you think?
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