"On not being a fan: masculine identity, dvd culture and the accidental collector"
by Caroline Bainbridge, Candida Yates
(Wide Screen, Vol 1, No 2 (2010))
Abstract: Recent work on DVD and home cinema technologies, audience and the context of reception has tended to focus on fandom, privileging the fanaticism that underpins the etymology of that term. This article is premised on focus group work that suggests, in counterpoint, that many contemporary collectors of DVDs do not see themselves as ‘fans’. What does this mean for the discourses that are developing around the consumption of new media technologies and their role in everyday life? Drawing on interview material, this article discusses the relationship between Western masculinity and the phenomenon of DVD collection. It considers the pleasures of this activity alongside the spaces of resistance it produces and we argue that commentary that interprets such phenomena in terms of fetishism does not account fully enough for what is at stake. Drawing on object relations psychoanalysis, we suggest that the material object of the DVD works in tandem with its psychical equivalent to produce new spaces of exploration and creativity for men. Against the backdrop of the commonplace assumption that masculinity is in ‘crisis’, we suggest that men make use of technologies to forge new spaces of interaction with one another, arguing that this creates new formations through which to think about the cultural structuration of homosociality and its creative potential.
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