Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Arts


Media Studies


Dr. Susan Knabe


Fans who launch campaigns to “save our show” or protest storytelling decisions typically see their efforts as standard fannish practices, but these “labours of love” must also be considered, as the name suggests, as labour. Using affect theory, I argue that fan activities and activism are motivated by affect, which in turn drives the affective, immaterial, and digital labour that makes up fandom. While fandom operates on a gift economy, the world of media production is fundamentally capitalist, and as fan labour becomes increasingly visible to producers, it also becomes increasingly susceptible to co-option and monetization. Through analyses of fan campaigns targeting As The World Turns (CBS, 1956–2010), Torchwood (BBC, 2006–2011), and Chuck (NBC, 2007–2012), this thesis explores the ways in which fan labour intersects with the dominant capitalist interests of mainstream media culture and considers how fans understand and position their own fannish practices and labour.