Media Text and Audiences: Discursive Constructions of Fandom


  • Helena Popović Faculty of Political Science, University of Zagreb


Fans, Fan practices, Discursive construction, Moderate fandom, Cult TV


This paper presents the research findings obtained from a research project investigating media audiences and their reception of a cult-television (Cult TV) text, namely Da Ali G Show. The audience research comprises 18 semi-structured interviews conducted in London (the United Kingdom) and in Zagreb (Croatia) aimed at establishing how fandom is discursively constructed. The analysis of the interpretive community in two distinct socio-cultural contexts showed that there were more similarities than differences overall. The practices engaged in by the interviewees mostly involved making a conscious effort to regularly watch the primary text as well as to show an interest in the future work of the author. The research showed that interviewees typically engaged in a type of ‘moderate’ fandom, whilst strong emotional attachments were seen as negative, as was intrusiveness into people’s privacy. This indicates a split between the signifier and the signified: the term ‘fan’ was readily adopted by interviewees in describing their relationship to the text; however, the meaning was negotiated and carefully constructed so as to disassociate oneself from the extreme, passionate, irrational connotation that the etymology of the term carries.