The author in the postinternet age: Fan works, authorial function, and the archive


  • Hannah E. Dahlberg-Dodd The Ohio State University



Anime, Authorship, Doujinshi, Fan fiction, Fandom, Manga


Fifty years since Roland Barthes proclaimed the death of the author, there still exists difficulty in framing the nature of interaction between commercial (professional) creators and fan (transformative) authors. In the postinternet age, the visibility of unsanctioned (or tacitly sanctioned) derivative fictional works has only increased, as have the number of commercial creators with experience in creating derivative works for a fan audience. It has therefore become necessary to interrogate whether the author has truly died in the Barthian sense, and if not, what role the construct of the author plays in today's popular mediascape. In an analysis of the Foucauldian author function (that is, the role discursively constructed authors play relative to their work) assessing both Euro-American and Japanese histories of fan practice, a move to a more open-source style of fan practice is evident. The author in an open-source fandom functions as a heuristic device through which fans may access and search the database, as well as a means of decentralizing commercial authority over media content.