‘When it comes to the true crime community, Taylor is a legend’: Social and symbolic capital among murderabilia fans

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Abstract

This article explores and clarifies the usage of social and symbolic capital as applied to fan studies. It illustrates the author's definitions with a case study from the neglected arena of dark fandom. I argue that ‘social capital’ should be used to refer to the network of friends and associates agents possess within a subculture, whether dyadic, triadic or multidirectional, but that to qualify as social capital, there must be mutual recognition of the tie. I illustrate this argument through a case study of the online presence and persona of Taylor James, the owner and proprietor of leading murderabilia auction site CultCollectibles.org. ‘Murderabilia’ refers to items formerly possessed by or associated with celebrity criminals, particularly serial killers. I further establish that contra Thornton, we do not observe mainstream condemnation generating subcultural capital within this sphere, but rather, mainstream media attention can be negotiated by appeals to traditional forms of expertise.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)251-267
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Cultural Studies
Volume27
Issue number2
Early online date7 Aug 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2024
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage).

Keywords

  • dark fandom
  • fan studies
  • murderabilia
  • social capital
  • symbolic capital
  • social networking

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