Year

2011

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

School of Social Sciences, Media and Communications, Faculty of Arts

Abstract

This thesis documents and analyses the contemporary community of (mostly) female fan video editors, known as vidders, through a triangulated, ethnographic study. It provides historical and contextual background for the development of the vidding community, and explores the role of agency among this specialised audience community. Utilising semiotic theory, it offers a theoretical language for understanding the structure and function of remix videos. This thesis explores the role of gender in this female-dominated community, and argues that vids are socially constructed as women’s responses to popular culture along paradigmatic lines. The construction and negotiation of community among vidders is also analysed: despite academic work to the contrary, this thesis demonstrates that face-to-face and offline markers of identity are still of great importance to online communities. It also supplements academic research into copyright issues in Web 2.0 remix environments by providing ethnographic insight into how fears of legal action for infringing copyright have affected and shaped a particular community, and details the strategic work of the vidders to mitigate these perceived risks in relation to legal discourses. This study has implications for larger debates of method, meaning, and agency in fan studies, and supplements existing theoretical and textual research into vidding by highlighting tensions among the community through ethnographic inquiry.

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