Anja Löbert
Journalistin für Gesellschaft, Leben und populäre Kultur - USA und Großbritannien

Wissenschaft

Vom Retter zum Forschungsobjekt / From Adoration to Analysis

Tannert, Christoph (Hrsg.). Passion. Fan-Verhalten und Kunst. Künstlerhais Bethanien. Ausstellungskatalog. Berlin. 201507/2015

In der Ausstellung "Passion. Fan-Verhalten und Kunst" steht die Rockmusik im Vordergrund. Die Untersuchung des Fan-Verhaltens erfolgt in dem Bewusstsein, dass bevor es das Internet und die sozialen Netzwerke gab, Musikfans sich Briefe schrieben, Fotos tauschten, Poster gestalteten, Magazine herausgaben, dass Musikkassetten mitgeschnitten und deren Hüllen ornamental verziert wurden und man leichten Sinnes Gerüchte und Fiktives mit Gedichten und Liebesschwüren verwob, um den Abstand zwischen Künstler und Fan möglichst gering zu halten. Die Künstlerinnen und Künstler der Ausstellung reflektieren mit ihren Werken, wie sich die Leidenschaftsströme der Fans artikulieren, welche Objekte der Begierde es gibt, wie die Massenmedien und die Popkultur auf den Fan-Gestus reagieren. Sie sprechen von den persönlichen rockmusikalischen Interessen und zeigen mit ihren Arbeiten die Macht der analogen Botschaft: Was man dokumentiert, fotografiert, filmt, auf Leinwand oder an die Wand malt, auf Sockel hebt, sich auf den Leib schreibt, vor allen Dingen auch die Hinterfragung der Art des eigenen Fan-Verhaltens, das nimmt man wirklich ernst. Adorationen und Hommagen sind in der Ausstellung erwartbar reichlich vertreten.

Trading Offstage Photos: Take That Fan Culture and the Collaborative Preservation of Popular Music Heritage

Baker, Sarah (Ed.). Preserving Popular Music Heritage Do-it-Yourself, Do-it-Together. Routledge. Co-written with Mark Duffett04/2015

Discussions of the increasing pervasiveness of popular music heritage seem in sharp contrast to the notion that pop music, specifically, is an ephemeral phenomenon. In the first half of the 1990s, Take That fans took thousands of photos of the band offstage and traded them with each other by letter, forming a living social network of music enthusiasts. To what extent can we describe the photos and their social use as forms of self-produced music heritage? A number of researchers have begun to think through the issue of popular music heritage culture in terms of a more or less clearly defined distinction between official and ‘DIY’ forms. Using a study of Take That pop fandom, this chapter suggests that the distinction is sometimes not quite so clear. It begins by reviewing some recent contributions to the debate on about music heritage, considers the place of a specific example of Take That heritage culture: the 2011 photo exhibition in Manchester curated by Anja Lobert. We argue that emphasis on the concept of ‘DIY’ heritage may be danger of neglecting moments when fans can collude with ‘official’ institutional structures in order to legitimate their memories.

Penfriendships, Exchange Economies and ‘FBs’: Take That Fans Networking before the Digital Revolution

Popular Music and Society11/2014

This article illustrates how, prior to the widespread adoption of the Internet, followers of the British boy band Take That used their fandom to build a global network of penfriends. It introduces the results of a quantitative sociological study conducted in 2010–11 among 438 international Take That fans who participated in this all-female “penpal scene” and explores the mechanisms underlying their system of exchanging band-related letters and packages. Two communicative subsystems receive particular attention. First, I introduce a pre-digital networking tool employed by the scene: “friendship books” or FBs. These were little stapled booklets inside which the originator would write her name, address, age, likes, and bartering interests, before passing them on to a penfriend who would do the same, and so on, until the booklet was full, by which time it had usually travelled around the globe. Second, I focus on the most popular exchange item within the penpal community: “offstage” photos taken by fans who had gotten close to the band. Here, I discuss the process of bartering and producers' efforts to preserve the “uniqueness,” “aura,” and “exclusivity” of their pictures by trying to enforce a “no copies” policy. Full Article: http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/jMw96nF4wnwBBjEDc9zH/full

Brieffreundschaften, Tauschökonomien und Fan-Fotografie am Vorabend der digitalen Revolution: Take-That-Fans zwischen 1990 und 1996

CREATIVE CROWDS Perspektiven der Fanforschung im deutsch-sprachigen Raum, Vera Cuntz-Leng (Hrsg.)09/2014

Die Vorstellungen von Fans als hysterischen Teenies, aggressiven Hooligans oder nerdigen Einzelgängern haben sich drastisch gewandelt. Wurden Trekkies, Live-Rollenspieler oder Gothics vor einigen Jahren noch kritisch beäugt, debattiert heute jeder über die Hobbit-Filme oder die neue Sherlock-Staffel und kann sein Ramones-Shirt beim Discounter kaufen. Durch das Internet sind Fans nicht nur im Mainstream angekommen, sondern mündiger und kreativer geworden. Längst geben sie sich nicht mehr nur der Verehrung ihrer Lieblingsfiguren und Idole hin, sie erobern auch für sich selbst und ihren kreativen Output einen Platz in der Popkultur. Der vorliegende Band versammelt Beiträge aus verschiedenen Disziplinen zu einem facettenreichen Spektrum von Fandoms, Fankulturen und Fankreationen im deutschsprachigen Raum: vom Fußballstadion bis ins Onlineforum, von Cosplayern zu Viddern, von Prince bis Twilight.

Explorative, Authentic and Cohesive: Factors contributing to successful boy band reunions

Popular Music History, Volume 7, Issue 2, 2012, 127-14211/2012

When Take That returned to the musical scene after a 10-year hiatus in 2005, they entered uncharted waters. A boy band had never reunited before, and the genre was assumed to be merely a teenage phenomenon whose pubescent target audience would have by then outgrown their interest. But this assumption proved wrong: the reincarnated Take That were tremendously successful, even more so than the first time around. Other boy and girl bands have since emulated their reunion, but with only partial success. Using a comparative approach, this article looks at the different elements contributing to the success of boy band comebacks, primarily by contrasting the Take That reunion with the somewhat flopped reformation of their precursors, New Kids on the Block, but also by drawing on British examples such as the Spice Girls, East 17, and Boyzone. Firstly, the parameters of the breakup are analysed as possible predictors for the success of a reunion; especially, here, the popularity at the point of breakup as well as its staging and the media response to it. Secondly, the parameters of the reunion are scrutinised, in particular the mode of re-entry into the market (explorative or assumptive), the discourse (re-)established in the comeback video (typical or atypical boy band theme) and the marketing strategy as such. Thirdly, the article examines the dynamic within the band and its personalities as factors influencing the potential success of a reunion (particularly problematic in the case of East 17). And finally, the article considers the impact which successful solo careers of individual band members may have upon the success of a reunion, arguing that the immense popularity of Robbie Williams kept Take That indirectly significant even during their latency and increased the reformed Take That’s chances of finding large audiences again themselves (a dramatic factor which is unique to Take That).

Fandom as a Religious Form: On the reception of pop music by Cliff Richard fans in Liverpool

Popular Music, Volume 31, Issue 1, January 2012, pp. 125-14101/2010

A Case Study from the Viewpoint of the Sociology of Religion Using the example of Cliff Richard fans, this article investigates to what extent the rites and rituals exercised in fandom can be regarded as representations of a religious form as understood by the sociologist Émile Durkheim in The Elementary Forms of Religious Life. Because of its empirically determined significance, the pop concert experience and its echoing effects are used as a starting point to unfold the thesis that fans draw and cultivate a distinction between a profane and a sacred domain in their lives. These suggestions are further enriched by Randell Collins and Gabriele Mordt's analysis of passions. The article at hand adopts their concept of the sacred object as a passion-preserving device. In addition, the argument of popular music scholar Daniel Cavicchi (based on Bruce Springsteen fans) is taken one step further. Finally, I am suggesting a typology of fandom-related experience that differentiates primary interaction ritual, secondary interaction ritual, the cult of the individual and special rites.

Cliff Richard's Self-Presentation as a Redeemer

Popular Music, Volume 27, Issue 1, January 2008, pp 77-9701/2008

Although tremendously popular, Great Britain's long-term icon Cliff Richard has been widely neglected by Popular Music Studies. This article aims to correct this omission by introducing an argument that claims that Cliff Richard portrays himself to a considerable degree as a saviour figure. Evidence for this thesis will be drawn from three meaningful dimensions in popular music: song lyrics, pictorial self-representations and image components. These three areas can be shown to be semantically concordant in presenting Cliff Richard as a redeemer. While the promise of redemption by the singer persona is a recurring motif in his song lyrics, this assurance gets repeated in pictorial representations that make allusions to Jesus Christ (through posture, lighting and elevation) and is further reinforced by a number of components of Richard's image such as the (apparently) incorruptible body, the asexuality and the demonstrative benevolence towards the sick and poor. The combination of these sign-complexes creates a meaningful pattern around the singer that sets him apart as a surrogate saviour.

Fankultur als religiöse Form: Eine religionssoziologische Betrachtung der Rezeption von Popmusik am Beispiel der Liverpooler Cliff Richard Fans

SPIEL - Siegener Periodicum zur Internationalen Empirischen Literaturwissenschaft01/2006

Using the example of Cliff Richard fans, this article investigates to what extent the rites and rituals exercised in fandom can be regarded as representations of a religious form as understood by the sociologist Émile Durkheim in The Elementary Forms of Religious Life. Because of its empirically determined significance, the pop concert experience and its echoing effects are used as a starting point to unfold the thesis that fans draw and cultivate a distinction between a profane and a sacred domain in their lives. These suggestions are further enriched by Randell Collins and Gabriele Mordt's analysis of passions. The article at hand adopts their concept of the sacred object as a passion-preserving device. In addition, the argument of popular music scholar Daniel Cavicchi (based on Bruce Springsteen fans) is taken one step further. Finally, I am suggesting a typology of fandom-related experience that differentiates primary interaction ritual, secondary interaction ritual, the cult of the individual and special rites.