While googling around for stuff to add to my lit review, I came upon an interesting geek culture bibliography by William L. Svitavsky in Reconstruction. Svitavsky hits on some of the points I’ve wanted to consider further in my own work, and pretty concisely sums up why I have been hoping to help bridge the gap between popular knowledge and academic consideration of media cultures:
When a study profiles a group engaged in one of these activities, it is not unusual for the group’s participation in the other activities to be mentioned as well. In popular culture (as opposed to studies of popular culture), this overlap has been recognized all along. Each of these groups has been ridiculed as “geeks” or “nerds”, and each has subverted those terms into proud self-identification. In his work on media fandom, Henry Jenkins observes that active audiences are “textual poachers” who move from one text to another, and cannot be accurately defined by their relationship with a single text; it may be useful, then, to study geek culture as a whole rather than to focus exclusively on its component areas of interest. This bibliography is an effort to support such a study of the interrelated “geek” subcultures.
Most studies of fandom, in other words, focus on a particular fan group or attempt to give a broad picture of “fandom” as a concept. But how do we account for overlapping subgroups of fans?
I wish I had the time right now to propose some amendments to Svitavsky’s list, such as the inclusion of Hills’s Fan Cultures and an entire category for video games, but I’ll have to cut the blogging short today. Maybe this is something worth returning to for a future project, though. The plan for this article (noted in the journal’s table of contents for that issue) was to make this a “living bibliography” that the author could update over time. This was back in 2001, and the last update was 2002, so perhaps a geek culture wiki would make more sense. Arguably, Wikipedia is already a geek culture wiki, seeing as how the entries for things like Star Wars are more extensive than entries for things like some state legislatures or the entire Pacific Ocean. A specifically academic bibliography wiki, however, formatted somewhat like Svitavsky’s article, would fill a niche that may not be filled elsewhere, and would certainly be less cluttered.