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Session Overview
461: Ideology and Affect in Political Polarization and Fandom Online
Friday, 20/Oct/2023:
8:30am - 10:00am

Location: Hopper Room

Sonesta Hotel

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Ideology and Affect in Political Polarization and Fandom Online

Sebastian Svegaard1, Renee Barnes2, Eloy Vieira3, Maria Clara Aquino3, Driele Ferreira3, Beatriz Blanco3, Adriana Amaral4, Cassia Schuch3, Kyle Moody5, Allegra Rosenberg6, Samantha Vilkins1

1Queensland University of Technology, Australia; 2University of the Sunshine Coast; 3Unisinos University; 4Universidade Paulista; 5Fitchburg State University; 6New York University

In recent years, scholarly attention has indicated the increased enmeshment of the political and entertainment media spheres, a change that has happened so gradually that it has not been as remarked upon as it should be. This is perhaps most observable in studies of community dynamics around both political figures as fandom objects and media engagement as political signifiers. The backdrop of digital surveillance capitalism, and the specific platform affordances on which these communities exist and interact, exacerbates both. Furthermore, beyond these inverse scenarios whose distinctive boundaries grow blurrier by the day, there is a third domain in the overlap, of the exploitation – or compensation – of fans, fandoms, and fan labor for political and financial gain. This, too, exists in a reactive feedback loop with the always-on conditions of our contemporary digital political economy. As consequence, there are prominent recent streams of work explicating what exactly the fields of fan studies and political sociology can offer each other for researching communities online in such contexts.

Responding to both the current landscape and recent exemplary and novel scholarship in the field, our panel presents four papers which each delve into an intersection of identity, community, and their ideological and affective ties. They investigate online affective community practices in reaction to fractured sociopolitical polarization, and contribute to the expanding picture of interdisciplinary frameworks and methodologies available — and increasingly, required — to comprehend the motivations, justifications, and trajectories of community dynamics under such drivers.

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