Date of Award

8-3-2006

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Communication

First Advisor

Ted Friedman - Chair

Second Advisor

Angelo Restivo

Third Advisor

Kathy Fuller-Seeley

Abstract

This analysis of the professional wrestling genre attempts to understand the complex reading practices employed by wrestling’s fan community. I argue that wrestling fans consume these texts in the context of both the official narratives of media producers and the meta-narratives that exist independently of the official texts. In addition, I argue that wrestling fans display characteristics normally reserved for traditional media producers, collaborating with those producers over the direction of the official narratives. This process of collaboration is indicative of the blurring of the boundaries between textual producers and consumers and necessitates a theoretical conception of the audience that accounts for these unique fan practices. I have called this audience conception the productive audience model.

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