I began my PhD at Cardiff University in 2010 by considering how audiences decode gender in specific cult television programmes and rewrite their understandings of it into fanfiction. Through the course of the research for my literature review I started looking at different aspects of fandom, including non-fandom and anti-fandom, and have written multiples journal papers and book chapters on anti-fandom.
After a somewhat circuitous route, I'm now pursuing my PhD by prior publication. Titled Fandom Is Beautiful (Except When it Isn’t): Hate, Dislike and Toxicity Online the PhD collects a range of articles and chapters I’ve published on anti-fandom and toxic fandom and demonstrates how my work in these areas has made an original contribution to the field.
My research interests are many and varied, and include (but are not limited to) participatory culture, gender, transformative works, fandom, cult television, anti-fandom and fan/producer relationships. At the moment I'm focusing on dislike, hatred and anti-fandom, with papers forthcoming on dark fandom, QAnon and The X-Files' latest season.
I’m a founding board member of the Fan Studies Network, social media coordinator for the SCMS Fan and Audience Studies SIG and on the editorial board of the Journal of Fandom Studies and Transformative Works and Cultures.
Recent publications include:
“The Walking Dead Family is a real thing, not just a hashtag”: Experiencing Fan Tourism and Transmediality in Woodbury, Atlanta. Jomec Journal (Invited paper for special issue on Transmedia Tourism)
“Jafar Wars: Fan Created Paratexts in Alderaan Places,” in Proctor, W. and McCulloch, R. (Eds) Disney’s Star Wars: Forces of Participation and Reception. University of Iowa Press.
““If even one person gets hurt because of those books, that’s too many.” Fifty Shades anti-fandom, lived experience and the role of the subcultural gatekeeper” in Click, M. (Ed) Dislike, Hate and Anti-Fandom in the Digital Age. New York University Press.
“Stop moaning. I gave you my email. Give me a solution”: Walker Stalker Con, fantagonism and fanagement on social media. Participations: International Journal of Audience and Reception Studies
“#AskELJames, Ghostbusters, and #GamerGate: Digital Dislike and Damage Control” in Booth, P. (Ed) A Companion to Fandom and Fan Studies. Wiley-Blackwell.
““My Music Was on Shuffle, One of Their Songs Came On and I Had to Hit Next…”: Navigating Grief and Disgust in Lostprophets Fandom,” in Williams, R. (ed.) After The End: Transitions, Endings, and Resurrections in Fandom, University of Iowa Press.
““Are you ready for this?” “I don’t know if there’s a choice.” Cult reboots, The X-Files revival, and fannish expectations” in Click, M. and Scott, S. (Eds) The Routledge Companion to Media Fandom. Routledge.
‘When there’s blood involved, a line been crossed’: Spike/Eric slash and the fascinations of the crossover text. Journal of Horror Studies vol. 8, issue 2.
Jones, B. “‘I hate Beyoncé and I don’t care who knows it’: Towards an ethics of studying anti-fandom”. Journal of Fandom Studies, vol. 4, no. 3.
“Crowdfunding independence: British cinema and digital production/distribution platforms” in Hunter, I., Smith, J. and Porter, L. (Eds) The Routledge Companion to British Cinema History. Routledge. With Bertha Chin.
“Love Me For A Reason: An Auto-ethnographic Account of Boyzone Fandom.” New Directions in Music Fan Studies, special issue of iaspm@journal. Vol 6, no. 1. With SImone Driessen.
“‘I will throw you off your ship and you will drown and die’: Death threats, intra-fandom hate, and the performance of fangirling” in Bennett, L. and Booth, P. (eds) Seeing Fans: Representations of Fandom in Media and Popular Culture. Palgrave, pp. 53-66.
“Between Ethics, Privacy, Fandom and Social Media: New Trajectories that Challenge Media Producer/Fan Relations” in Davisson, A. and Booth, P. (eds) Controversies in Digital Ethics. Palgrave, pp. 107-122. With Lucy Bennett and Bertha Chin.
Jones, B. (2016) “‘My Inner Goddess is Smouldering and Not in a Good Way’: An Anti-Fannish account of Consuming Fifty Shades“. Intensities Journal of Cult Media. Vol. 8. Spring 2016
Guest Lecture: Anti-fandom. Affect, Activism and Ambivalence: Anti-Fandom in relation to MTV’s The Valleys and Lostprophets. Cardiff University, 17 March 2020.
Guest Lecture: Anti-fandom. Affect, Activism and Ambivalence: Anti-Fandom in relation to MTV’s The Valleys and Lostprophets. Cardiff University, 18 March 2019.
Methodologies Workshop. Fan Studies Network Conference, University of East Anglia, 25-26 June 2016.
Research Seminar: Affect, Activism and Ambivalence: Anti-Fandom in relation to MTV’s The Valleys and Lostprophets. Centre for the Study of Media and Culture in Small Nations Seminar Series, University of South Wales, 11 May 2016.
Guest Lecture: Fifty Shades of Grey. EN654 Visual and Digital Rhetoric, University of Alabama, 5 November 2015.
Ethics Workshop. Fan Studies Network Conference, University of East Anglia, 27-28 June 2015.
Guest Lecture: Fan Activism. MCS 550: Fandom and Active Audiences, DePaul University, 29 May 2014.
Fandom Is Beautiful (Except When it Isn’t): Hate, Dislike and Toxicity Online
Fandom is beautiful. It is also messy, full of spats and disagreements, comprised of people with differing opinions and politics, and increasingly spills over into wider society. In some respects, fandom is more often ugly than it is beautiful. Comprising of seven articles, covering topics from BDSM bloggers’ responses to Fifty Shades of Grey to X-Files fans’ reaction to the Season 10 revival, my PhD by prior publication take this ugliness as their starting point to examine anti-fandom, its whys and hows, and the ways in which it complicates the ‘opposition-to’ discourse of early studies.
I draw on existing work from fan studies’ first, second and third waves while using a combination of textual analysis, autoethnography and participant surveys to push the boundaries of what this prior research has found. Throughout the articles I trace the ways in which anti-fannish behaviours and practices have become increasingly more visible online and argue that these new modes of engagement must change the way fan studies scholars theorise fandom, anti-fandom, and make broader connections to contemporary society.
Anti-fandom is no longer about those who hate a text; rather it permeates all aspects of our lives: our politics, interactions, and affective engagements. Whether we want to or not, we can see anti-fandom in the response to Black Lives Matter protests, the latest blockbuster, and the political handling of Covid-19. From newspapers to social media to in-person interactions, hatred, toxicity and dislike are visible, and I argue that understanding this is important for making sense of both the current moment and our culture more broadly.