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  • Publication
    Dancing with Discrimination: Managing Stigma and Identity
    Fans are a group that are stigmatized and discredited, at least to some degree, by their 'deviant' and common form of symbolic consumption. At stake in the process of stigmatization is the very identity of the individual fan, and their symbolic and emotional well‐being. This paper reports on an empirical study of one particular group of fans—Star Trek fans (or 'Trekkies')—and explores the complex identity issues articulated by them as they 'manage' their problematic public identity. Drawing upon interviews conducted with 18 Trekkies, the article describes how this stigmatic identity is organized within a disciplinary matrix that operates at a micro level through two key processes: humour and self‐surveillance. In particular, we highlight their struggle with the dilemmas of exposing their private 'fandom' in a public context, and the highly ambivalent manner in which they seek to escape stigmatization.