The professionalised fandom of careers in cult

“Passionate work” within academia and industry

Authored by: Matt Hills

The Routledge Companion to Cult Cinema

Print publication date:  December  2019
Online publication date:  November  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138950276
eBook ISBN: 9781315668819
Adobe ISBN:


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Cult film has become an established part of academic analysis, often linked to a “subcultural ideology” (Jancovich et al. 2003: 1) of fan distinctions (Jancovich 2002). As I.Q. Hunter affirms in Cult Film as a Guide to Life, the “current integration of cult into academia [has occurred] within pretty strictly defined parameters – as transgressive texts to be understood in relation to subcultural fans” (2016: 20). But these parameters have not only emphasised subcultural fans, they have also raised the question of cult fandom entering “a realm of intersection” (Roach 2014: 36) by becoming part of what’s been termed “aca-fandom” or “scholar-fandom” (Hills 2002). How are cult fan identities intertwined with the scholarly labour of professional academics studying cult? And beyond academia, what of “petty producers” (Abercrombie and Longhurst 1998: 140) who combine fandom with related industry work, perhaps in “paratextual industries” (Consalvo 2007: 183) such as fan presses or specialist DVD/Blu-ray labels? So-called fantrepreneurship (Carter 2017) highlights the pertinence of I.Q. Hunter’s rhetorical question: “what better ambition could there be for a cultist than to make a career out of what you love?” (2016: xiii).

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