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The approach to fan culture

shared by Bacon-Smith and


Jenkins and the features of
fan culture they distinguish
Examples from: Harry Potter fandom

About fans:

Fans, mostly women, are not who many people think they are.
They are educated, often married and beyond their teenage
years.

They have masters degrees, this woman is a chemist, this woman


is a botanist, this woman is an English literature professor So I
had this real peculiar dichotomy, difference, between the
perception of women in the science fiction community and what
those women really turned out to be. (Bacon-Smith)

About fanfiction:

People borrow the material and use it to create their own stories,
focused on different things than the original source:

You can think about Robin Hood as a classic poacher, who steals
from the rich and gives to the poor. And, essentially, what I see
taking place in fandom is that process, where we steal the cultural
resources that belong to the networks and we remake them, to speak
to what we as fans want them to be, be they concerns as women, or
racial concerns, sexual politics questions or whatever. (Jenkins)

Copyright and individual autorship are ultimately the death of


culture (Jenkins). People who watch or read stories have a right to
rewrite them because they are a part of their culture.
Creators of the original stories do not have rights to determine how
to interpret their characters and their behaviour. Every person sees
them from their own point of view and interprets in a different
way, therefore the possibilities for new stories are countless.

Just thousands and thousands of stories. Billions and billions of


stories. And every one of them had sentient life. Well, most of them
had sentient life; some of them just had mad rutting sex. (BaconSmith)

On a well-known site FanFiction.net there are currently about


700,000 stories set in the Harry Potter Universe (or Potterverse), the
lenght of which varies from 50-100 words (drabble) to a few
hundres of thousands (e.g. Harry Crow 737,006 words).

An interesting fact about fanfiction is that although authors do


not ask for permission to use the original characters, they do ask
for it when it comes to characters created by other fanfiction
writers. For example, Polish author Arthur Weasley in Jak oswoi
smoka used characters created by Ida Lowry and Toroj only after
both of them gave their permissions.
People do not only borrow characters but also other things for
example, a spell Tormenta created by Enahma is now a part of
fanon (canon consisting of well-know things and motifs, often
used by fans); Draco Malfoy often cannot function without his
morning coffee.

Fanficition authors and readers have direct contact . Readers are able
to comment every new chapter of a story, make their suggestions,
show mistakes and discuss about the story with other people it is
available through comment sections and private messages on sites
and forums, such as Fanfiction.net and forum.mirriel.net

That creates a channel in which the reader can become a writer, the
writer is always a reader, the roles are not as rigidly bound up apart
from each other, and that sense of possessiveness and profiteering is
absent, in favor of a sense of community, of sharing, of giving back.
(Jenkins)

Authors do not gain any profit from their creations, readers are not
customers. People offer their product for free, to simply share their
stories with others.

You write your stories to be read by your friends, you dont write them
to be read by your customers, and I think that that is something thats
really important about fandom. (Jenkins)

Stories created by fans are varied, there are certain categories


that help readers to find a story they will be interested in. Those
categories may indicate the time of events (e.g. pre-Hogwarts,
Founders era), the main characters, main pairings, including
those homosexual (e.g. Harry Potter/Draco Malfoy or simply
drarry), main motifs (e.g. dark!Harry, vampire!Harry,
hurt/comfort, angst, severitus) and many more. Filters on sites
allow to specifically choose a story accoriding to ones taste a
story J.K. Rowling would probably never wrote or even think of.

References:

Henry Jenkins and Camille Bacon-Smith at Gaylaxicon 1992 (Part


One) & (Part Two):

http://henryjenkins.org/2010/02/gaylaxicon.html
http://
henryjenkins.org/2010/02/camille_bacon-smith_and_henry.html