The expertise of digital fandom as a ‘community of practice’: Exploring the narrative universe of Doctor Who

Math Erthygl
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Cysylltiad parhaol

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It has been assumed that Web 2.0 has democratized participatory culture, challenging the significance of ‘expertise’ via ‘collective intelligence’ (Jenkins, 2006). However, fan-cultural logics of expertise remain stratified in relation to ‘communities of practice’ (Wenger, 1998) where fandom-specific wikis transform pop-cultural narratives into databases of information (Booth, 2010: 105). Such fan-generated content also challenges separations of database and narrative (Bassett, 2007: 178). Focusing on Doctor Who fandom, I consider the ‘epistemological economy’ (Hastie, 2007) of Who fans’ expertise. It has been argued that fans can be ‘industry driven’ or members of communities with histories of expertise (Busse and Gray, 2014: 431). However, this industry/community binary is problematic, and instead, I argue that Doctor Who fan expertise has become part of a ‘nexus of multimembership’ (Wenger, 1998: 159) – placed in an uneasy position between the ‘official’ knowledge of showrunner fans and unofficial fan practices of re-narrating/archiving