The Secular Religion of Fandom : Pop Culture Pilgrim
At the same time, participation in organized group activities are dropping. One of the largest down turns in the US and the UK can be seen in the steep decline of attendance at traditional religious venues. This trend dovetails with the radical uptick in on-line sites dedicated to pop culture and celebrities, as well as an array of niche-focused real-time tours allowing fans to experience the spaces, places and scenery featured in their favorite entertainment medium.
The Secular Religion of Fandom: Pop Culture Pilgrim examines the function of fandom, specifically the visiting of spaces which have been recently deemed worthy of sanctification and a newly elevated status of importance. It examines how such pilgrimages are used as a means for forming and maintaining a common language of culture, creating a replacement apparatus based on more traditional frameworks of religious worship and salvation, while becoming an ever more dominant mechanism for constructing individuality and finding belonging in a commodified culture.
Looking at television shows such as The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones, bands like The Stone Roses and Joy Division, and authors like J.K. Rowling and the Bronte sisters, The Secular Religion of Fandom: Pop Culture Pilgrim delves into these issues by examining spaces, fan communities and rituals, providing a unique and provocative investigation into how technology, media and humanistic need for guidance are forming novel ways of expressing value, forging self and finding significance in an uncertain world.
- Hardback | 120 pages
- 148 x 210 x 12.7mm | 290g
- 01 Dec 2015
- Sage Publications Ltd
- London, United Kingdom
Other books in this series
01 Dec 2015
05 Jan 2016
05 Feb 2015
25 Mar 2019
14 May 2019
Table of contents
Chapter 1 Symbolic Pilgrimage
Chapter 2 Mr. Mojo Risin'
Chapter 3 For the Love of Blood Suckers
Conclusion: The Mighty Hoards
Like many of the facilitators of pop culture pilgrimage who populate her book, the author is a knowledgeable and engaging tour guide. She doesn't shy away from pushing the envelope, provocatively characterizing Christians as Jesus fans and traditional worship as the ultimate parasocial relationship. As she examines the appeal of sites of fan pilgrimage, the author explores not only the psychological impact of such an experience, but the sociological and economic impact as well. From Elvis to The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones to Jane Eyre, The Secular Religion of Fandom: Pop Culture Pilgrim takes the reader along on the fans' journey, opening up new possibilities for understanding and insight along the way. -- Lynn Zubernis The Secular Religion of Fandom is an essential addition to an increasing body of literature examining the impact of fan activity in contemporary society. In this book, Otter Bickerdike furthers the field of study by arguing that fandom is actually replacing religious activity and explores a wide field from music, literature and popular culture. This book is well written - theoretical but accessible; incisive but playful. -- Dr Gail Crowther The Secular Religion of Fandom: Pop Culture Pilgrim is a timely and often provocative examination of a phenomenon that has always been with us, and yet feels suddenly new again. Jennifer Otter Bickerdike asks why we seek solace, spiritual fulfillment, and connectedness in spaces that are not traditionally religious in nature, creating our own sacred spaces as we go. In the process she paves the way for us to reflect on how we confer meaning on the everyday via our new sacred texts, providing an excellent entry into our ongoing conversation about what constitutes religion in an increasingly secular world. -- Katherine Larsen The secular religion of fandom permeates and animates our late modern lives. In a media-saturated society, pop-culture and fandom provide the sights and sites of a type of religious devotion, pilgrimage and search for enchantment and meaning that are widely experienced, but little studied and even less understood. This is the religion we live amongst, a religion constantly being remade and relocated, a polytheistic religion of places and people, texts and images re-enchanthing the world through technology and capitalism. Thankfully we have Jennifer Otter-Bickerdike who, in a groundbreaking drawing together of fieldwork and theory, has provided a fascinating, intelligent, lively and accessible guidebook to this widespread phenomenon. If you want to understand the late modern Western search for meaning in a technologically driven world then you need to read this book. -- Professor Michael Grimshaw
About Jennifer Otter Bickerdike
Embodying the unique combination of real-world experience and academic knowledge, she has over 20 years experience of working with taste-makers and cultural provocateurs like Facebook, Interscope Geffen A&M records and L.A.M.B.
Jennifer was previously program leader and Senior Lecturer of Arts and Culture Management at the University of East London, where she was voted by her students as the best lecturer at the school and was shortlisted in the category of Most Innovative Teacher in the UK by the Times Higher Education Council. Her research interests include celebrity, youth culture, popular music, popular culture, dark tourism, and the doomed heroine in British literature.