Click Here for Community: One ethnographer's journey through a mostly virtual world of fantasy, literature, sexuality and Harry Potter

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2011-04-27

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Abstract

This thesis seeks to answer the question “Why are there communities on the Internet that read and write sexually explicit fan fiction?” Part 1 moves through an examination of the history of the publication of the Harry Potter novels, the appeal of fantasy literature to children and adults, and an exploration of the current norms in heterosexual practices of “hooking up” on college campuses. This line of argument seeks to understand the various components that make the ethnographic community, Smutty_Claus, so unique. Part 2 of the thesis addresses the appeal of this community through ways of mixing fantasy and reality. Writing is discussed as a mode of performance and a way of achieving agency that is otherwise inaccessible to many women. The conversion of fantasy to tangible commodity through writing is compared with the commodification of other fantasies associated with Harry Potter through the sport of Quidditch and the Universal Studios theme park “Wizarding World of Harry Potter.” Using auto-ethnography as method, the thesis relies on the stories of the author as a child and college students to understand the way in which the content of the stories on Smutty_Claus and involvement in the community can increase confidence and self-awareness. Through the ethnographic process, the author has found a way to live on the border between fantasy and reality.

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Cowans, Deena (2011). Click Here for Community: One ethnographer's journey through a mostly virtual world of fantasy, literature, sexuality and Harry Potter. Honors thesis, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/3607.


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