When Harry Potter fans have attended midnight movie launches, book signings, festivals, and other events, they are directly contributing to the success of the Harry Potter franchise, now and into the future. Their role as “peer-to-peer” marketers is explored by SC&I Ph.D. alumna Marianne Martens ’12 in her latest book, “The Forever Fandom of Harry Potter: Balancing Fan Agency and Corporate Control.”
A faculty member at Kent State University’s School of Information, Martens’ doctoral advisor at SC&I was Professor Marija Dalbello.
Published in 2019, the book, according to the publisher, Cambridge University Press (Cambridge Elements in Publishing and Book Culture), explores the ways “Harry Potter fans contribute their immaterial and affective labor in multiple arenas: as peer-to-peer marketers via fan sites and social media; as participants in amateur fan festivals; or as activists for social change. Fans' participation in the Harry Potter universe has contributed to its success. . . and examines how fans' labor might continue to support the franchise for future readers. Starting with the context and theoretical frameworks that support a multidimensional analysis of the Harry Potter fan experience, and the tensions between fans and Warner Bros., as fan participation tests the limits of corporate control.”
According to Martens’ biography on the Kent State University website, Martens joined the university’s ischool faculty in 2012, and she “teaches courses in the area of youth services librarianship. Her research connects children’s librarianship and publishing, and stretches from historical perspectives on the interconnected-fields, to contemporary studies of how books paired with technology are changing the reading experience for young people.”