Fan Practices and Doctor Who: "Nu Who," Fan Works, and Shipping Public Deposited
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With the advent of the Internet and the continually shifting state of digital technology, simply and concretely defining “fans” and “fandom” proves a somewhat daunting task. Accordingly, the complexity and uniqueness of the British science fiction series Doctor Who does little to ease this challenge. Followings its 2005 revival, a new influx of fans suddenly appeared alongside time-tested fans of the program’s original run, and if defining the fandom itself proves difficult for its diversity, observing the divide between old Who and “Nu Who” does not. Hadas (2009) has written much on old fandom’s transition to the Internet, but these newer fans have utilized the Internet throughout their entire fan experience, both to supplement old practices and to engage in new ones. Therefore, through two surveys handed out at New York Comic Con, at Saint Peter’s University, through snowball sampling, and via Tumblr, this study focuses primarily on those new fans and the practices in which they engage to examine what differences, if any, exist along gender lines and age lines. What emerges is a group of individuals who identify as strong Doctor Who fans but who do not necessarily engage in traditional fan practices, such as fan fiction writing. They do, however, engage passively in new ways through the Internet, allowing fan content to find them rather than actively searching for it. Perhaps they are fans without a fandom—a picture of the mainstream audience entering more traditionally “fannnish” culture through new media and examined through the lens of Rogers (2003) diffusion of innovations.
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