Fans: A Journey into the Psychology of Belonging
'A celebration of human idiosyncrasy and of our talent for building shared meaning and solidarity out of the strangest material' – TLS
Fans takes the reader on a journey through a constellation of fandoms, and along the way demonstrates some fundamental truths about the human condition.
Fascinating and thought-provoking, Fans is a story of communities, of what happens to us when we interact with people who share our passions. The human brain is wired to reach out, and while our groupish tendencies can bring much strife (religious intolerance, racism, war, etc.), they are also the source of some of our greatest satisfactions.
Fandoms offer much of the pleasure of tribalism with little of the harm: a feeling of belonging and of shared culture, a sense of meaning and purpose, improved mental well-being, reassurance that our most outlandish convictions will be taken seriously, and the freedom to try to emulate (and dress like) our hero.
But Bond shows that despite these benefits, the world of fandoms is not without its dark underside, from the “copycat effect” fuelling mass shootings to the delusions that can accompany the parasocial relationships that fans feel they have with their heroes.
In Fans, Michael Bond draws on the work of social psychologists and anthropologists to understand how people behave in groups and why such groups have such a profound effect on human culture.
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