Professional women's fan fiction as literacy practice and online community

Thumbnail Image
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
University of Alabama Libraries

Over the past decade, awareness and acceptance of fan fiction as a legitimate literacy practice—an activity involving reading and/or writing—has grown. Fan fiction refers to new narratives fans write about media properties, including books, movies, television shows, and video games, and it is a genre primarily authored by girls and women. The aim of this study is to determine the literacy practices professional women engage when reading and writing fan fiction, and to investigate whether they use these same literacy practices while reading and writing for work. The study also asks how the participants define being part of an online fan community and what literacy practices they engage within their communities. The researcher conducted oral interviews with five adult American women in professional careers, transcribed the interviews, and analyzed them with a mixture of narrative research and discourse analysis methodology. Results of this analysis indicate that each participant engages different literacy practices from all other participants, both while reading and writing fan fiction and while participating in online communities. Most participants do use at least some of their fan-related practices to accomplish literacy tasks at work, and they use work-related practices while composing fan fiction, as well. Based upon these findings about the participants’ productive blending of literacy practices, further research could uncover ways others may adapt literacy skills they already possess to read and write more effectively at work. Additional research also remains to be done on a wider demographic of fan fiction authors, particularly fans of color.

Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
Rhetoric, Women's studies, Web studies