Revisiting parasocial theory in fan studies: Pathological or (path)illogical?

  • Rivkah Groszman John Molson School of Business
Keywords: Audience psychology, Celebrity studies, Fan communities, Fan fiction, K-pop


Parasocial theory is not currently in favor within fan studies because it is seen as depicting fan behavior as pathological. However, an examination of the original text and its modern interpretations reveals the true, neutral image of fans that parasocial theory portrays, which allows it to be applied to fan communities and fan works. Accordingly, these applications are also discussed, with an emphasis on the K-pop industry, where the theory is particularly relevant.