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‘Elvis ain’t dead!’ an investigation into identification, fandom and religion

Lockyer, Sam (2010)
M.Phil. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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This written defence accompanies an audio-visual documentary which aims to investigate the potential linkages between the three concepts of identification, fandom and religion by drawing on the phenomenally rich tapestry of Elvis fan culture. This investigation was achieved by the filmmaker’s immersion, as a non-fan, into the private world of the fan through encounters with several Elvis Tribute Artists and lifelong Elvis fans. The crucial questions addressed in the documentary include an investigation into the meaning of ‘identification’; the concept of fandom and identificatory fan practices and the reasons why we become fans and how this fandom is enacted during the fan’s life. The impact of Presley’s death on Elvis fandom is also debated with regard to possible connections between fan practices and religious behaviours. Most importantly, however, the idea that fandom is a universal concept is highlighted and fans are given the freedom to express their true feelings towards their idol Elvis Presley. As a result of the investigation we gain a greater understanding of the three concepts; their linkages and what it means to be a fan. In so doing any myths surrounding negative stereotypes of fans as obsessive and ‘Other’ are shattered.

Type of Work:M.Phil. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Aaron, Michele
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
Department:School of English, Drama and American & Canadian Studies
Additional Information:

The thesis comprises a video documentary and written component. Only the written part is available online.

Subjects:HM Sociology
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:1261
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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