Faculty Advisor

DeHart, Monica

Area of Study

Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Publication Date

Summer 2014


This project investigated fandom, a portion of the audience of a media text, like a TV show, that actively engages with the text by creating and sharing original content based upon it. This productive interaction with media texts creates artistic and intellectual content ranging from stories, to discussions, to analytic essays in global communities hosted online. Though the vast majority of fans use fandom spaces for the same purposes, the fandom of one media text is not a single community of like-minded fans, but instead a collection of many sub-communities differentiated by their interpretations of media text elements, particularly characters. This project uses the different interpretations of Dean Winchester in the TV show Supernatural to look at how people develop these specific interpretations, and why these interpretations are profound enough to create unity or discord with other fandom members, and how that unity-discord manifests in the fandom community. The fandom is further divided by different opinions on the appropriate relationship a fandom should have with its parent text and the text’s creators. While many fans argue that there should be little to no interaction or influence between the fandom and the text creators, many others argue for a reciprocal relationship between the two camps. I examine the correlation between these perspectives on the relationship between text creators and fandom and fans’ interpretations of the show, particularly as they relate to issues of the sacredness and comfort of tradition warring with the push for changes to celebrate representation and inclusion.


University of Puget Sound

fandom.jpg (501 kB)
Diagram of Sub-Community Relationships