Writing MA dissertation on Nerdfighteria! Any ideas on the participatory nature of Nerdfighteria?

Hi guys! I'm a bit stumped writing this paper- trying to prove that Nerdfighteria is a heterotopic space which moves beyond Henry Jenkin's original notion of participatory culture through the platform of YouTube.

1) Can anyone see how Nerdfighteria might fit into any of these categories?
“Heterotopias always presuppose a system of opening and closing that both isolates them and makes them penetrable. In general, the heterotopic site is not freely accessible like a public place. Either the entry is compulsory, as in the case of entering a barracks or a prison, or else the individual has to submit to rites and purifications. To get in one must have a certain permission and make certain gestures… There are others, on the contrary, that seem to be pure and simple openings, but that generally hide curious exclusions" (Foucault 7-8).

Can anyone think of any secret facets of Nerdfighteria only members can access? Critically speaking, do we need certain permission from someone to be a Nerdfighter? I know Nerdfighteria is an open community but are there barriers which stop specific members from entering/ being accepted into the community? I know the hand gestures come into play also with the notion of nerdfighteria as a heterotopia but need further evidence to prove my theory!

2) Where do you think authority lies in the community? With John and Hank or with the audience (and why)?

3) Do you think this space is public or private (or a bit of both)?

Any ideas would be extremely appreciated (I will also credit your comments in my paper!)

Thanks,

Natalie

Comments

  • RolloRollo Operative 6081, MiniTrue Airstrip Three, OceaniaPosts: 1,883 ✭✭✭
    1) This sounds too much like trying to make a thing fit into a category.

    Nerdfighteria is not:
    - a crisis or ritual heterotopia: it's activities are published on public fora and on Youtube.
    - a deviation heterotopia: fandoms generally aren't that far outside the norm.
    - a place heterotopia: because it doesn't reside in a "real" place. (See Foucault's garden).

    In fact, Nerdfighteria is more like Oldenburg's third place, as is the internet generally, but isn't exactly centralised. There are facebook pages, the Ning, this Vanillaforums as well as YouTube.

    2) Authority to do what exactly? Authority either implies the administration of power and control and the ability to enforce obedience. I'm not sure if that's necessarily valid here.

    3) Nerdfighteria is definitely public - most of the internet is.


    "I speak an infinite deal of nothing and I am not bound to please thee with my answers."

    I've written four books - you might like to buy them: Linky - Doobly Doo
  • natalie_bubblesnatalie_bubbles Posts: 5
    Hi Rollo,

    Thanks for the response! Perhaps I didn't explain correctly, I will be taking this topic from the angle of Nerdfighteria as a progression of Foucault's initial theoretical approach, analysing Nerdfighteria as a heterotopic space online in the digital age. I will be using Henry Jenkin's theory of participatory culture and looking at media ritual. (I will also be looking at time and space online/ the afterlife online in later chapters in line with Foucault's theoretical approaches to these topics).

    1) Whilst I appreciate your interjection and suggestion of Oldenburg's third place (which I will follow up on during my research), I do disagree with your approach to Nerdfighteria as a potential heterotopic space. Nerdfighteria is comprised of mainly adolescents (specifically labelled as a group in crisis by Foucault). It is a place of deviation in that the adolescent Nerdfighter's behaviour, insofar as interest in self-education, politics, watching and supporting two men in their mid-thirties is outside the norm of what western educational systems and adults expect of adolescents. Finally, the place of Nerdfighteria exists in cyberspace as simulacra of reality, acting as a space of illusion which exposes every real space (to the purpose of educating those in crisis on politics/religion/anything talked about in vlogbrothers related channels).

    2) I mean authority to control content and how this implicates thoughts and feelings on specific sociopolitical topics within the community. Do you personally think John and Hank create content with their own interests and beliefs at the core of their videos and philanthropic projects, or do their audience ascertain control through view count on specific videos/comments/other means? I was trying to stay neutral and say as little as possible on this to get a wide variety of answers. I personally believe while the Vlogbrothers create content, looking at the example of the annual census, authoritative power over content creation largely (but not solely) lies with the audience and Nerdfighteria.

    3) I think your answer is a bit too reductive here, the commenting participant on YouTube (or other facets of Nerdfighteria) has to divulge personal information in order to sign up and fully participate in the group. This creates an entry requirement for full participation (part of my argument that Nerdfighteria functions similarly to Foucault's anaolgy of the 'ship' as a heterotopic enclosed yet exposed vessel). Also there are private meet ups and private chats that act as facets of Nerdfighteria and the fact it is such a large community means that the majority of interactions will not be seen by the entire fandom community- are these then somewhat private? I agree obviously the internet is a public space, I'm just trying to consider every possible aspect before arriving at a conclusion (and this is where quotation from Nerdfighteria's point of view comes in handy!).

    Thanks,

    Natalie

  • RolloRollo Operative 6081, MiniTrue Airstrip Three, OceaniaPosts: 1,883 ✭✭✭

    Nerdfighteria is comprised of mainly adolescents (specifically labelled as a group in crisis by Foucault). It is a place of deviation in that the adolescent Nerdfighter's behaviour, insofar as interest in self-education, politics, watching and supporting two men in their mid-thirties is outside the norm of what western educational systems and adults expect of adolescents

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bvb6GcGCqIg&feature=youtu.be

    At about 3:17, Hank looks through the last census data on the basis of age and just by eyeballing the graph, I can see that a little over half the population is aged 19-29. Education and politics is very much part of a lot of people in their early 20s; notwithstanding the fact that they're the ones more likely to be in university.
    It's also worth rememebering that this data set is very much subject to self-selection criteria.


    Fun fact:
    Brotherhood 2.0 started when Hank was 27; which is an age of infamy among creative people.
    Speaking as someone younger than John but older than Hank and someone who remembers Brotherhood 2.0, then personally for me, this was (and still is) like watching a contemporary.
    Watching people in their mid to late 20s (which is what Brotherhood 2.0 was) is completely normal in the world of media and music.
    "I speak an infinite deal of nothing and I am not bound to please thee with my answers."

    I've written four books - you might like to buy them: Linky - Doobly Doo
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