A fan ([ fɛn ]; from Latin : Fanaticus - seized by the deity, driven into frenzied enthusiasm; English : fanatic - zealous, inconsiderate, enthusiastic) is a person who has a long-term passionate relationship with an external, public one , either personal, collective, representational, abstract or sporting fan object and invested resources such as time and / or money in the emotional relationship to this object. The intensity of the following varies greatly.
Fans often come together in fan clubs . If the enthusiastic following of the fans refers to people, the latter are referred to as stars . The enthusiastic following is usually expressed in rituals of worshiping the person, group or thing in question. The admiration that fans celebrate is also known as cult and has spawned an extensive fan culture . It is often based on myths surrounding the object of worship. The extent of the fan culture is an indicator of local and / or national moods. So have z. For example, German football fans at the 2006 World Cup in Germany ( summer fairy tale ) had a lasting positive effect on the image of Germans abroad.
The word fanatical , derived from the Latin ( fanaticus / -a / -um ) , was first used in German in the 16th century, but was only used in a religious context. Fanatical has also been used in politics and sports since the 19th century .
The word “fan” in its current usage and pronunciation has been translated from English ( fan [ fæn ], short form of fanatic = “ fanatic ”) into numerous languages, including German, Spanish, French and Czech ( fanoušek ). Despite the etymology , the fan has nothing to do with the negative connotation of the term fanatic in the political sense . In English, fans are usually referred to as supporters . The Italian term Tifoso, derived from typhoid fever , or in the plural Tifosi , which stands for fans as “those who are fevered”, is often used as a synonym for Italian fans at a sporting event. In Italy itself, the term partigiano is also often used , which would translate as “partisans”. Borrowed from Spanish and adopted into English and German is another synonym, the aficionado as "lover" of something.
As a personal acronym fan , it can be found in the worship of musicians and music groups, athletes, sports and teams, comic / series / novel and film genres, actors, YouTubers and numerous other people, activities and topics.
For fans of computer programs or game consoles, the mostly negative Anglicisms “Fanboy” and “Fangirl” are used in Internet forums . Even comic fans and particularly passionate fans of certain genres (especially science fiction ) are sometimes referred to as this, albeit with a far less negative connotation.
Fanboys and fangirls are usually characterized by the fact that they have a particularly extensive knowledge of the subject area they value (or the person they adore ), they passionately defend the relevant subject area or person in disagreements and they believe it to be true intelligent and eloquent people in the presence of or in direct contact with their idols are speechless.
For the latter context and similar involuntary overwhelming reactions , new word creations such as Fangasm , a trunk word for the English terms fan and orgasm ( orgasm ), or Stan , a neologism from "fan" and stalker , which describes obsessive adherence to certain celebrities.
Characteristics of the Fantum
Group dynamics and personality development
The focal point of being a fan is the personality of the fan - the development of a so-called self-identity . The personal development process lasts a lifetime and therefore everyone, regardless of age, can be a fan. But since the personality of young people in particular is not yet consolidated, most fans are young people.
An explanation of the Fantum can be derived from the personal and social identity. Social identity means one's own positioning in the social structure. Everyone divides society into different groups and assigns themselves to those of them with whom they can identify most. For example, a person can belong to the football, school and Madonna interest groups at the same time. The personal identity is made up to a large extent from the various group memberships and their weighting. Positioning within society therefore plays an important role in personal development. On the one hand there is a need to be separated from society and on the other hand there is a need for community. A fan tries to differentiate himself from others (e.g. family, work colleagues, classmates) by being a fan and at the same time seeks closeness to like-minded people, for example by joining fan clubs .
Identification with a star
The star can act as a role model and idol for his fan . If the fan sees his star as a role model, he can identify with the values, characteristics, behavior or appearance of the star, for example, and strives to be like him or her. However, if the fan sees his star as his idol, the star is worshiped as a whole person, the admiration is strongly emotional and takes place on an unreal level. An idol usually serves its fan to compensate for a deficiency (for example a lack of social ties or a lack of love affairs). In the extreme case, the idol assumes the role of a kind of god - as an "omnipresent, omniscient being [...] [who] gives the fan comfort and alleviates his loneliness."
"Escalation levels" of the Fantum
The boundaries between “normal” and “excessive” fanaticism are broad and difficult to define. However, it can be said that the limit to excessive fanaticism has been exceeded when the fan can no longer clearly separate fantasy and reality.
These fans can clearly separate reality and fantasy. They are, so to speak, rational to enthusiastic, but controlled music lovers who live out their fanaticism as a harmless hobby.
Fans usually come together in groups (e.g. fan clubs). Within these groups, the fans deal more and more with the respective star, swing each other up and step into it. A little crush can suddenly turn into fanaticism . One could also classify the groupies in the group of fanatical fans who accompany rock bands on their tours and in most cases sleep with the crew. This behavior can be observed especially among boy band fans. Typical behaviors in public include: loud screeching, crying, fainting , spending the night in front of hotel or concert hall entrances and defending the preferred group. In the private sector, it is common for this type of fan to put posters on the room walls or to set up small altars . In extreme cases, fans can become so dependent on the star that, for example, the breakup of a music group or the end of a star career can have dire consequences (e.g. depression or suicide ) for them. For example, when the boy band Take That broke up, four girls took their own lives.
Fanaticism cannot develop through membership in a group alone. The form of the obsessed fan means total separation from society and a complete focus on being a star and being a fan. This group also includes the mentally disturbed fans (for example strong forms of stalking ) who use their star to shape their own personality. An example of this would be Mark David Chapman . He dressed and acted exactly like Beatles co-founder John Lennon , married a Japanese woman and even called himself John Lennon. Chapman's fanaticism went so far that he killed his star in 1980.
"It's time people stopped talking about 'consuming' art and culture and so on and started thinking of art as an activity, something you do. Even buying and playing records are activities; the record is only the medium through which the activity takes place. "
Fan activities are divided into three areas: Consume, Communicate and Create.
The fan takes action himself by deciding which music to listen to / read book / game to see - and which album or ticket to buy therefore. In addition to the actual media object (the stadium ticket, the comic book, the DVD), a fan consumes various fan articles that are only produced when there is a very specific demand. This includes magazines, posters and information materials as well as TV and radio reports and sometimes even merchandise objects that are completely detached from the original context (e.g. printed bed linen, toys, clothing, food). The fan reinterprets media-conveyed content, for example interview statements or lyrics of "his" stars, for himself personally and integrates it into his life.
In the context of the marketing of stars and objects that have a fan base, merchandising articles (fan devotional items ) are often offered. In addition, fans of people try to get their stars ' autographs and take pictures with their loved ones. Some followers express their enthusiasm in fan art and fan fiction or on a fan poster . Webmasters present a fan page on the Internet.
Fans of certain consumer goods (e.g. products of certain brands or a certain genre) or a certain consumption-oriented lifestyle are motorcycle fans, fast food fans, etc. This also includes brand fans for whom advertising promotes identification with the manufacturers. Sports clubs, musicians and other groups that are adored by fans use the affection to sell various items, so-called fan articles , with their own logo or in the colors of a club.
The development of the fan base and the start is essentially shaped by the possibility of mass reproduction and reception . Milestones here are the first phonograph by Thomas Alva Edison in 1877, the radio in 1925, the invention of the vinyl record in 1930 and later the increasing digitization from 1983 onwards. These factors made it possible for a “ music industry ” to emerge . Borgstedt describes this as an interface between music and audience, which structures demand and sales-oriented offers into different segments. Through marketing , promotion is not just the music itself, but a complete way of life is sold to the consumer or fan and advertising. This attitude towards life is conveyed to the fan through concerts, CD releases, media appearances and merchandise products.
The culture industry is described by some as harmful and sometimes as a contradiction in terms. Theodor W. Adorno considers the culture industry to be a machine for manipulating people, but it is neither intentional nor controlled. The fan is reduced to the consumer role and fed with trivial, superficial trifles.
A fan communicates to the outside world that he is a fan, firstly by consuming publicly presentable merchandising items such as wearing band T-shirts, printed bags or jewelry. Like -minded fans can also exchange ideas, discuss and learn from each other within the respective peer group (family, friends, etc.) or in fan clubs. The internet offers the opportunity to communicate with other and occasionally unlike-minded fans. Popular meeting places are emerging in many areas of interest for larger fan groups. There are separate areas in football stadiums that are intended for particularly passionate fans. This passion sometimes turns into violence in some so-called ultras in combination with the increased alcohol consumption at larger events.
Followers of other genres usually meet at festivals (music, film, theater) and so-called conventions (literally conference / congress ; trade fairs for sci-fi, comic, game, anime fans or the like). Originally, festivals and conventions were used by representatives of a guild to get in touch with their supporters. At the same time, they enabled a lively exchange between the fans. The larger a fan base becomes, the more likely it is that business enterprises will also appear at these meetings, selling merchandise and the like. The makers of the popular series, films, video games and comics come together every year at larger conventions such as the internationally oriented comic-cons and communicate directly with their fans in so-called panels (basically panel discussions ) who answer their questions via one or more microphones in the hall Idols or representatives of their favorite medium can provide. The largest convention in the world is the San Diego Comic-Con . Their audience has grown so rapidly over the past few years that "Hollywood is now arriving there and practically begging for the attention of these people."
A fan is not just a consumer, but also a producer. Many fan clubs are characterized by their own developed language. Some Tolkien fans can converse fluently in the artificial language Elvish and are constantly developing the vocabulary of the novels, following the rules of the artificial language. Fan communities of sports clubs, celebrities and occasionally love affairs between two celebrities quickly develop nicknames for "their" stars - these can sometimes be freely conceived names, the private nicknames of the celebrities (e.g. Robbie Williams , who privately and therefore also in fan circles prefers "Rob "Is called) or suitcase words from the names of the partners (" Brangelina "for Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie ," Zanessa "for Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens ). The same applies to the names of fictional people from comics, films or (most often the case) series.
Furthermore, the creativity of the fans is characterized by self-designed fan pages, forums, blogs, quizzes, surveys or posters, self-written reviews, fan letters, poems or reports. Some fictional stories about real or fictional celebrity idols are short sections; others are the size of novels. There are collections of music or merchandising articles or even their own dances. From musical fan cultures such as punk , techno or hip-hop , subcultures emerged which, with their new styles of clothing, dance and lifestyles, had or have had a major impact on society and its values.
Creativity here also means bringing your own talents into thematically independent fan communities. In this way, even in fan circles that initially have nothing to do with music, musical sub-groups continue to emerge. Internet 2.0 enables fans, for example, to set up huge international fan orchestras. These are project orchestras that rarely, but at regular intervals (for example, once a year) organize a project together and each time come together in different sizes and configurations. This does not even require an actual geographic encounter: many fan orchestras organize their projects entirely via the Internet. A small core group of creative people composes arrangements for a popular piece from films, series or computer games. The project planning is then made public, whoever registers receives part of the score (for example the sheet music for a voice and / or an instrument). Then audio and sometimes video recordings of the performance of one's own singing or instrumental part can be submitted to the coordinators within a predetermined period. After the deadline, the submitted recordings will be professionally mixed by other participating fans and, if necessary, backed up with the video recordings. The finished project is usually published on online platforms such as YouTube .
Main areas of interest for fan groups
Fans are enthusiastic about a sport (e.g. football fans ), a sports club or an individual athlete . In sports clubs, fans who attend their team's competitions are also known as “battlers”. The majority of them ensure a “home advantage” in their own venue and accompany their team to away games. If this happens on a large scale and according to plan, it is called “ ground hopping ”.
Many fans show that they belong to "their" team by wearing jerseys, scarves, hats or other items of clothing with the team's name or logo. They communicate with each other through chants. The acoustic support is often coordinated by a lead singer. There are further messages through banners or flags.
So-called public viewing is also being offered more and more frequently at major events . For example, the fans met in the fan miles for the 2006 World Cup . They also test their knowledge in sports betting and betting games, where they try to predict the outcome of the games.
At major events (such as a soccer world championship ), the type of “event fan” is often used. H. a carefree casual fan who is less or not interested in football during the season, but lets himself be carried away by the atmosphere of important tournaments.
It is often criticized that the police are increasingly placing football fans under general suspicion, which also criminalizes the mass of peaceful supporters.
Already in ancient cultures, the almost religious worship was widespread, especially by musicians. This continued over the following ages, such as the romanticism with z. B. Niccolò Paganini and Franz Liszt continued. Since the middle of the 20th century, with the rise of international rock music , rock 'n' roll and beat music , the phenomenon of the music fan has been widespread. Here, Frank Sinatra in the 1940s, Elvis Presley in the 1950s and the Beatles in the 1960s stand out, who sparked a wave of enthusiasm and fanatical admiration. Since the 1990s, a new fan culture has emerged due to the fragmentation of pop styles, the fast pace of product cycles and the general expansion of the term star. Particularly noteworthy here is the phenomenon of boy groups such as Take That or Backstreet Boys , which were mostly hysterically adored by girls between the ages of 10 and 19. At about the same time, similar movements emerged in the Korean and Japanese music industries (namely K- and J-Pop ), but only since the 2010s have they increasingly reached a rapidly growing fan base of pubescent girls in Europe and North America by adopting the successful boy group concept.
Theater, film and television
The love of fans can relate to specific theater, films, television series , presenters, directors, writers or actors. In film and television, fans can influence the production, as sequels or new episodes of a series are only shot if there is a large audience . In the theater, too, the even more immediate audience reaction has a major influence on the frequency of performances as well as decisions on resumption and continuation and can sometimes even lead to small and large changes to the text or other components of the respective production within a season.
Followers of a certain artist or genre are more often referred to as "lovers". They sometimes work as art collectors or promote art as a patron . In particular, the patronage of wealthy people is economically important for the art scene. It can also lead to relationships of dependency.
Scientific study of fan culture phenomena
At the beginning of 2012, the sports scientist Harald Lange founded the first institute for fan culture in Würzburg , which deals in particular with various groups and phenomena of football fan culture and is in cooperation with the International Center for Sport Security .
Differentiation from related topics
- When the enthusiasm for a person, group, or cause is religious , it is called religious worship or adoration. If this admiration takes on excessive or even (self-) damaging proportions, one speaks of fanaticism even today, the English shortened form fan is not used in this context.
- When people have a romantic and erotic interest in a person or group, it is called being in love . In English one speaks colloquially in this context of a celebrity crush ; in German occasionally from star enthusiasm . Groupies show an excessive sexual interest in a star .
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- Silke Borgstedt: The music star. transcript, Bielefeld 2008.
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- Nina Damsch: "Stan is now officially in the dictionary - 5 great facts about Eminem's stalker anthem" vice.com from June 2, 2017
- Nikola Vatterodt: Boygroups and their fans. Approaching a nineties pop phenomenon. CODA, Karben 2000, p. 67.
- Nikola Vatterodt: Boygroups and their fans. Approaching a nineties pop phenomenon. CODA, Karben 2000, p. 71.
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- Nikola Vatterodt: Boygroups and their fans. Approaching a nineties pop phenomenon. CODA, Karben 2000, pp. 67-68.
- Nikola Vatterodt: Boygroups and their fans. Approaching a nineties pop phenomenon. CODA, Karben 2000, p. 69.
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- Verena Jendro: The phenomenon of boy groups. Appearances and background analysis. Tectum, Marburg 1999, p. 72.
- Nikola Vatterodt: Boygroups and their fans. Approaching a nineties pop phenomenon. CODA, Karben 2000, pp. 74-76.
- Verena Jendro: The phenomenon of boy groups. Appearances and background analysis. Tectum, Marburg 1999, p. 28.
- Nikola Vatterodt: Boygroups and their fans. Approaching a nineties pop phenomenon. CODA, Karben 2000, p. 70.
- Joli Jenson: Fandom as Pathology: The Consequences of Characterization. In: Lisa A. Lewis (Ed.): The Adoring Audience: fan culture and popular media. Routledge, London 1992, p. 17.
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- Rainer Winter: Media and fans, on the constitution of fan cultures. In: SPoKK (Hrsg.): Kursbuch Jugendkultur. Styles, scenes and identities before the turn of the millennium. Bollmann, Mannheim 1997, p. 42.
- Nikola Vatterodt: Boygroups and their fans. Approaching a nineties pop phenomenon. CODA, Karben 2000, p. 82.
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- Silke Borgstedt: The music star. transcript, Bielefeld 2008, p. 44ff.
- “I was down in Comic Con a couple of weeks ago and it is amazing - because it is such a big thing: this whole genre stuff is so massively important to the world - to the entertainment world - Hollywood comes to San Diego to beg for the attention of these people. And you look out and you think: The geeks have inherited the earth! This is what I was dreaming of! " - David Tennant Is Glad To See A Female Dr. Who Interview excerpt with the Scottish actor, dubbing and audio book speaker David Tennant . Uploaded on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert's official YouTube channel on August 10, 2017. Retrieved March 20, 2019.
- Nikola Vatterodt: Boygroups and their fans. Approaching a nineties pop phenomenon. CODA, Karben 2000, p. 85.
- Hooligans: There They Are Again , June 12, 2016
- PIRATES demand civil rights and transparency in police files about football fans , article on the website of the German Pirate Party from January 28, 2016.
- Jan Weyrauch: Boygroups - the teenage FANomen of the 90s. Extent, Berlin 1997, pp. 70ff.
- Würzburg professor founds the 1st Institute for Fan Culture
- The International Center for Safety in Sport signs a joint declaration of intent with the German Institute for Fan Culture ( page no longer available , search in web archives ) Info: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.
- Celebrity Crush. In: Urban Dictionary. Retrieved June 7, 2019 . , Vikki McRaven: My Celebrity Crush . CreateSpace, 2017, ISBN 978-1-977875-12-9 .