Conclusion: Underground Hybridity, Popular Piety and Virtual Irony as Three Modes of Mediated Selfhood

  • Steve Bailey


In the case studies that preceded this conclusion, I examined three very different media fan formations; on the surface, underground film freaks, the Kiss Army and Futurama geeks would appear to have relatively little in common. The choice of three diverse sites was intentional, reflecting a balance of media, cultural milieux and demographic and economic scale. In this conclusion, though, I want to pose all three as more than just a diverse collection of audience communities and instead present them as a kind of allegorical collective, representing condensations of larger tendencies in the interplay of media and the self, and more specifically, of the peculiar dynamics of the fan identity. The seemingly absurd character of some of the analysis — the defiant vulgarity of Kiss bassist Gene Simmons refracted through the analytic philosophy of Ernst Tugendhat, or Mark Hejnar’s subcultural cinema posed as a form of self-affirming discourse — may seem less so within this context; here, these individual cases exist as exemplary forms of a much larger set of practices. In this final section, I examine the three case studies in more general terms, as reflective of hybridity, piety and irony as strategies for building an identity from the encounter with mass media. Rather than exploring each internally, the task of the preceding analyses, I will examine each mode across three other matrices — roles, regions and practices.


Media Audience School Shoot Primary Text Ambivalent Relationship Symbolic World 
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© Steve Bailey 2005

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  • Steve Bailey

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