Being of service: "X-Files" fans and social engagement

  • Bethan Jones Cardiff University
Keywords: Gillian Anderson, Celebrity, Celebrity activism, Celebrity culture, Civic engagement, Fan activism, Fan charity, Fandom, Participatory culture


I explore the ways in which celebrity charity and fan activism can lead to civic engagement and social change. Fan studies has moved away from the traditional view of fans as psychologically deficient and has begun to examine resistance within the cultural productions of fandom—fan fiction, for example, addressing gender imbalances in popular TV shows. However, scholarship on celebrity-focused fans still retains much of the stigmatizing language that mars early writing about fans. I examine the relationship between celebrity and fan; examine the role celebrity plays in framing fan charity; assess how fan investment affects celebrity charity work; and argue that fans are active participants in encouraging social awareness and charitable giving.

Author Biography

Bethan Jones, Cardiff University
PhD candidate in Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies at Cardiff University. Research interests include the portrayals of gender in film and television, fandom and social engagement and the appropriation and adaptation of texts.