Discourse, Fandom, Methodology

[Post by Lelangir]

warning: meta junk.

Brother ghost has written us another post, and a reply we shall conjure.

He writes:

Stories have become primary methodology of education. It’s not that really different now. We have enormous variation in terms of media, but stories perform many of the same purposes: to educate the listener/reader/viewer in language and culture, and to be entertaining while doing so.

As I interpret and extrapolate, ghost establishes a methodology of learning via stories. Here, media acts as a vehicle for stories, which themselves are vehicles for values and norms (i.e. I learn through the bible that raeping women is r..wrong).

I add that stories have a meta-value here. The original methodology that we speak of – that is, the simple transmitting of values – can form the foundation of what some theorists might call critical consciousness, or, in other words, awareness, reflexivity, etc. Reflexivity occurs when people are critical of methodology: “no, ur doing it wrong!” “____ is cancer!” “only weeaboo like teh Narutos.” etc.

Because we’re intrinsically speaking of people here (people are basically the operative factor in talking about “transmitting values”), we have to frame all of this in terms of populations. For the sake of anime relevance, and we’ve probably spoke about this already somewhere down the road, fans are those who partake in methodology but are not critical of other fans. Once, however, a fan becomes critical (or remotely aware of other fans and their methodological behaviors) of another fan, they enter the fandom.

Yet here is the central problem: can fandom exist merely by the nonverbalized consciousness of individuals? – or does fandom require discourse? This is kind of a Foucauldian take on Marxism: critical discourse makes up the material base upon which the superstructural “fandom” is situated. Because this is the internet, discourse is necessarily “material”. It’s significant to consider, however, that in this perspective, fandom is not a material entity but an ideology whose territory engulfs its own constituents. So to speak, the process of becoming conscious (entering fandom) then expands the “mass” of the ideology of fandom.

But anyway, I would say that fandom requires discourse to exist.

An interesting turn on this is what you might call the “counter-meta methodological faction”. Of course, we’ve seen the sections of fandom that scoff at critical discourse, instead emphasizing focus on methodology, without all the wwwwwww stuff. It’s a good point, but it’s interesting because it’s a discourse that runs counter to itself in order to end itself.

There’s some more to this, but I forgot, so that’ll be part 2, maybe.

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1 Comment

  1. That was quick! Good stuff here.

    Meaning takes place through discourse… first between subject and the self, then between the self and the self’s own ideas/memory etc, and then goes further via sharing with others.

    It is in the latter part of the process where I place your ideas on the emergence of the fandom, as an ideology. The fandom trades with itself ideas as material:

    “What does Haruhi mean for us?”
    “How do we feel when outsiders tell anyone who would listen that Haruhi is overrated?”


    Then there is the interesting phenomenon of jockeying within a perceived internal hierarchy within fandoms! Check out fandom-specific forums (i.e. Macross World Forums) and you’ll see very overt status symbols taking note of records such as number of posts made/level of participation. There are contests based on trivia and minutiae regarding the respective subjects. Participation in/exhibition of such behaviors seem to answer the question “who’s the bigger/better fan?”


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