HPEF presents Infinitus 2010, a Harry Potter conference            TEXT  MENU

July 15-18, 2010
Orlando, Florida

Beyond the `Bring-and-Fly Sale': Fannish Practices, Gifts, and Inalienable Possessions
Suellen Rader Regonini

Taking a viewpoint of economic anthropology applied to fandom practices, this presentation examines fan fiction, filk, vidding, and other creative practices of media fandom, and discusses their relationships to common economic structures underlying trade and social relations, such as the gift economy (Mauss 1990), ritual economy (Wells 2007), and the concepts of “inalienable possessions” (Weiner 1992) and “tangible durability” (Helms 1998).  Based on published case studies of fan practices, particularly those relating to aspects of studio canon versus “fanon,” as well as my ongoing research involving entrepreneurial fans involved in the “gray economy” of unlicensed/unsanctioned fan products for sale, I will examine various types of fan activities and their relationship to these economic structures, which, other than the gift economy concept, have not been greatly studied in relation to fan practices and underlying motivations and rewards. By examining these practices in a more anthropological and economic vein, it may be possible to develop new types of fan/industry relationships that meet the needs and desires of media fans, as well as challenge and reform existing copyright and licensing agreements surrounding these creative activities.

Suellen Rader Regonini is a Doctoral Candidate in Applied Anthropology at the University of South Florida (Tampa). Her dissertation research, currently in process, is an ethnography of entrepreneurial fans and other independent media producers who are experimenting with new models of entertainment media and associated product creation and marketing.
Formal Programming