Thursday, July 21, 2011

Latest Work on Opera Fans

Looks like I need to catch up on a recent publication: Claudio Benzecry's The Opera Fanatic: Ethnography of an Obsession. Jessa Crispin has a review (combined, somewhat oddly, with Wayne Koestenbaum's now 18-year-old The Queen's Throat) over at the Smart Set, including a reflection on her own fandom. She focuses on the importance of love as an independent organizing force for fan behavior, a motivation that, in most post 1970s cultural studies work on fandom, is de-emphasized in favor of social and political meanings involving subculture, hegemony, resistance, etc.

I assume this focus is the case with Benzecry's book, as well; my cursory reading of the introduction indicates that he is interested in staking a claim for understanding opera fandom outside of Pierre Bourdieu's highly influential ideas in Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste. All good. It might be nice if, on occasion, sociologists were to consider seriously the growing work on music fandom in disciplines outside of sociology (I had the same complaint about Tia Denora's otherwise brilliant Music in Everyday Life), but I'm open to Benzecry's fieldwork insights and hope to read it thoroughly soon.

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