In this chapter of Geek Anthropology, we’re going to explore Geek Expressive Culture. How we interpret the world around us and how we share those views creates expressive culture. Said in other words, a worldview has established symbolic frameworks that highlights some experiences while downplaying others. A group might also share several worldviews, where one might be (or not), the dominant one.
Usually, expressive culture includes religion and the arts. But what about Geek Cultures? What can we find in Geekdom that can be defined as Expressive Culture?
Geek Expressive Culture includes fan practices such as spoiling; writing, sharing and reading fan fiction; cosplaying, collecting, vlogging, blogging, writing fanzines; creating and sharing fanvids, filking, and any other fannish activities that make geeks participate in their geek cultures. Geeks and fans might also share myths within their groups, but this doesn’t mean that there is a particular religion in the group. In fact, many geek cultures are a melting pot of beliefs that have nothing to do with the geek world.
However, Geek Expressive Culture includes fascinating activities that can create a Geek Economy. Fans create for other fans. Or, say it in other words: geek create for other geeks. And the currency might not be money but prestige.
Let’s take as an example fan fiction. Some people might engage in fan fiction writing. There are many different genres, including slash. Many do it for delighting themselves, while others might share their creations online under a pen name. Some authors might even get famous and end up creating stories that had their origins in fan fiction. (Take as an example, The Sword of Shannara, or Fifty Shades of Gray.) Their public is composed of people who share their interests and geek community. Some get into the mainstream.
Another better example can be found in Cosplaying. Cosplayers might be the front of the activity, but the economy surrounding it is pretty staggering. Some Cosplayers start by designing their outfits and might end creating costumes for others. The exchange is made with money but also can make them gain prestige within the community giving them a greater status than just being Cosplayers who purchase their outfits from others.
Perhaps, the most prominent characteristic of the Geek Expressive Culture is the enjoyment through engagement. Its participants enjoy and partake in Geek Culture by enjoying the mere fact that they’re engaging in it. Be it accumulating objects as a collector, displaying sheers amounts of knowledge about a certain topic, or just the enactment of a scene from a video game; are all activities that give great enjoyment to their participants.
Geeks might enjoy virtual aspects of their communities in a physical space and share knowledge online. Whatever the case, consumers and creatives meet sharing their worldviews.
Think about your Geek Community and the activities that you usually engage in with others. What geek expressive activities define your Geek Culture?