Resolving identity ambiguity through transcending fandom

Seregina, Anastasia and Schouten, John W.. 2017. Resolving identity ambiguity through transcending fandom. Consumption Markets & Culture, 20(2), pp. 107-130. ISSN 1025-3866 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Identity construction involves accumulating cultural, social, and symbolic capital, with initial endowments being accrued through socialization into one’s habitus. This research explores the experiences of individuals that feel a lack of capital, which leads to ambiguity regarding their identities and places in the world. Through in-depth interviews, this interpretive research shows that such individuals may turn to fandom for gaining status and belonging. Fandoms are consumption fields with clear, limited forms of cultural capital. Through serial fandom and engagement with fandom in different ways, individuals were able to learn the skill of identifying and accruing relevant cultural capital. The skill became decontextualized and recontextualized, allowing individuals to transcend fandom and accrue general forms of cultural capital. Learning the skill aids individuals in dealing with the simultaneously debilitating and empowering freedom of contemporary consumer culture. Moreover, gaining cultural capital could be altogether developing into the form of the process we describe.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):


Identity, fragmentation, fandom, popular culture, identity ambiguity, cultural capital

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Institute of Management Studies


10 May 2016Accepted
6 June 2016Published Online

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

20 Nov 2018 17:01

Last Modified:

14 May 2020 15:51

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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