Fan studies in psychology: A road less traveled

Research Paper

by Gayle S. Stever, September 15, 2019

Transformative Works and Cultures, Vol. 30

This article describes the methods and materials used in my various studies of fan cultures in the years from 1988 to 2018. It delineates a mixed methods/multi-perspectivist approach and describes the process by which fan groups were selected and studied. Contrary to the concept of “aca-fan,” an academic who studies a fan group of which she or he is already a part, this article describes the engagement of a number of fan groups with whom I was not already involved. I traveled throughout North American and Europe in order to observe fan behavior across the lifespan and across a number of different cultures . Both pop star musicians’ fans and television fans were included. Immersion in the fan culture was the goal in each case with each study lasting anywhere from four to twelve years.