A pragmatics of things: Materiality and constraint in fan practices

  • Benjamin Woo Simon Fraser University
Keywords: Collecting, Consumption, Domestic space, Fan practices, Geeks and nerds, Material culture


Although, as qualitative consumer research and material culture studies have demonstrated, objects can be rich sources of meaning and stability, they also entail basic limitations on human action. Interviews conducted as part of a study of one city's nerd-culture scene permitted analysis of the constraints that materiality imposes on fan activity. Fans must have access to certain physical objects in order to realize their practices, and collecting, storing, and purging these objects in domestic spaces constitutes a pragmatics that sets limits and exerts pressures on participants.