Shops like the Who Shop and Alien Entertainment use their authority as merchants to help shape the fandom, and to reinforce the feelings of alterity within fan subcultural communities through discourses of historicity and activity. Importantly, both discourses are reflective of, and appear to react to, the rise of digital technology; both the Who Shop and Alien Entertainment emphasize the importance of local, in-person events while also developing a web presence. In addition to the in-person merchandise sales, the museum, the convention, and the signings, both shops use the internet frequently to sell wares around the world. That both stores have maintained a connection to the fan base itself portends a revisitation of traditional ways of understanding fandom.
Booth, Paul J. 2018. “Framing Alterity: Reclaiming Fandom’s Marginality.” In “The Future of Fandom,” special 10th anniversary issue, Transformative Works and Cultures, no. 28.
In a time where fans and fan studies are looking at the mainstreaming of fandom with varying levels of worry, Paul Booth takes a look at how fans continue to maintain their outsider and marginal identities.