Fandom, brandom and the limits of participatory culture

  • Guschwan M
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This article approaches sports team supporters from two lenses: (1) that of branding, which defines supporters as loyal customers and potential commodities; (2) that of fandom, which understands supporters as agentive meaning-producers who use fandom for their own uses. This juxtaposition reveals how fans sense of symbolic ownership is both impelled and disavowed. I use the term brandom to refer to brand-controlled fan communities that lack real autonomy. The case study of the Lazio Irriducibili ultra fan club in Rome Italy, demonstrates the potential of organized fans to create and promote branded commodities and, furthermore, it shows the potential of organized fans to threaten the symbolic and financial legitimacy of sports team/brand ownership, and the typical relationship that exists between fans (consumers) and teams (brands).

Author-supplied keywords

  • Italy
  • branding
  • fan culture
  • football

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  • Matthew Guschwan

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