Fannish tattooing and sacred identity

  • Bethan Jones Aberystwyth University
Keywords: Émile Durkheim, Identity, Performance, Totem


Pleasure is an important motivation for fans to adopt texts. Fannish tattoos function to demonstrate affective investments in a text; they are also a performance of fandom and an example of sacred fan identity. Like engaging in cosplay or wearing clothing that features logos, fannish tattoos mark people as fans of a text. Furthermore, the more obscure the logo or fannish reference, the more performative the tattoo. Fannish tattoos help to construct a sacred fan identity. The sacred experience (as theorized by Émile Durkheim and his concept of the totem) is imbued with meaning through choices that set it aside from the mundane. Within the context of fannish tattoos, fan affect gains similar significance.

Author Biography

Bethan Jones, Aberystwyth University
PhD candidate at Aberystwyth University researchingThe X-Files fanfiction and gender.