Identity and authenticity in the filk community


  • Melissa L. Tatum University of Arizona James E Rogers College of Law



Filk, Wizard rock


As a result of several studies examining the relationship between identity and music subcultures, sociologists have developed a framework for analyzing those relationships. I apply this framework to the filk community, using the question "Is wizard rock filk?" as a vehicle for exploring slippery questions: What is filk? What is the filk community? What does it mean to be a filker? Part of the difficulty with defining these terms rests with the fact that people approach filk in different ways; it can be one of many activities at a convention, a genre of music, a subculture, or some or all of these. Although both wizard rock and filk are musical movements within fandom, I conclude that the answer to the question "Is wizard rock filk?" depends on the context of who is answering the question and what perspective that person holds with respect to the filk community. This dependence on perspectives is particularly important in the filk community and has repercussions for the larger fan community because one of the hallmarks of these fan communities is a tolerance of differing perspectives.

Author Biography

Melissa L. Tatum, University of Arizona James E Rogers College of Law

Research Professor of Law Associate Director, Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy Program