A bunch of things have changed in my life since I last wrote a full post on the blog: I passed my PhD qualifying exams for both departments I’m in (Communication & Culture and Folklore & Ethnomusicology), I got married, and I moved to London where my wife is currently working and where I’ll continue my research both on bronies and on the Vietnamese diaspora. Whew!
I have a bunch of things I want to say about Bronycon that I’ll be going into in more depth over the following weeks, but Kurt and I thought it would be good to use this week’slast week’s belated update to hit the highlights and preview some of my analysis and give you a sense of what’s coming. Anybody with thoughts on any of the things I touch on today should totally email us or comment below as it will probably make its way into my analysis.
It’s been a while since we’ve updated, but we’ve had a lot of pretty cool things going on that we’re really excited about and we’ve finally been able to start ourselves back up on a regular research/updating schedule again, which is also exciting for both of us. We’re planning to make regular weekly posts and updates on (/around) Mondays and include other posts as we get them. I figured that I’d go ahead and use this post to announce what’s been going on while we’ve been off the radar
Apologies for the lack of posts over the summer. Jason has had a wedding to plan and I’ve been out of town doing intensive language-study courses all summer while also trying to buy a house and it’s all gotten in the way of any sort of academic work we’ve hoped to do over break. However, Jason has a lot of good stuff from his visit to Bronycon and we’re both ready to get back to posting. Hopefully we’ll be around quite a bit more here in the near future.
Anyway, we are both happy to announce that an interview we did with Julia Fernandez for the Library of Congress’ blog “The Signal: Digital Preservation” is up and running on the LoC site. We’re incredibly excited, as many of our favorite internet scholars have given interviews for the blog as well. The post is a bit dense, as it is focusing on conducting research on the internet, and they sadly didn’t include the awesome pictures/gifs/memes we sent them, but we did our best to represent the fandom as best we could and tried to include links to some of our favorite Brony-related content. We certainly enjoyed writing it up and hope you enjoy it too.
Check out the post here and be sure to let us know what you think!
EDIT: Jason worked his magic and made an awesome bookmarklet that adds in the pictures we originally wanted. To view the post in it’s intended glory, go here and follow the instructions.
Joshua A. Reyna is a 1st year sociology Master’s student at the University of Texas at San Antonio. He received his undergraduate degree in sociology with a minor in women’s studies, and his research interests include culture, death, theory, criminology, and deviance. He became interested in bronies during the early 4chan days but has only recently had a chance to look into the fandom. He began his field study on bronies this year during his maymester class, “Special Topics: Pierre Bourdieu,” which revitalized his interest in the fandom.
Jason [JRN]: Can you briefly describe what you have been working on in your brony research?
Joshua [JAR]: I am currently working on the habitus, or in other words the habits of the bronies. How they are formed, when are they used, and why they are important. I have found that by watching and partaking in the fandom of My Little Pony the bronies have made an entirely new habitus that rejects the usual male habitus (showing no emotion, being rough and tough) for one that embraces love, affection, and friendship. That is what fascinates me, and how they combat the negativity produced by the media and close minded people. Note the next part of my research might cause a little bit of anger in the group. While studying the habitus, I noticed that there were in turn fields or (areas of struggle for resources) in the fandom. Now I understand the weight of what I am saying but from general observations there does seem to be a struggle. I have generated at least 6 economic, prestige, cultural, artistic distinction, gender, and media. The problem with using field as a concept is that there can be an indefinite number of fields, so I tried to concentrate on what I thought was the most important. Now each of these fields has struggles over different types of resources. Economic being money, cultural being goods, and knowledge, prestige being status, artistic distinction being between what is obscene and what is sacred, gender is self explanatory, and media being who is viewed, and who has the most degree of freedom. Although there might not be a struggle that is seen, it is taken for granted. But like I said this is merely an explorative study where I am merely exploring the conflict, it is still up for debate on whether I am witnessing this or just making something out of nothing which is a critique of Bourdieu himself. Either way by doing this little paper for class I was able to take my first steps into the bronies!
Hello everyone, and apologies for the lack of a recent update. Jason is currently halfway through his second set of exams and I’ve been finishing up school and finalizing plans for the summer. Fortunately, we’ve got an excellent post on the intersections of religious studies and fandom studies by Dr. Andrew Crome, a professor at the University of Manchester and fellow brony academic, that we are able to share. Check it out below the break!
Kurt and I have worked with this community for about six months now, and one of the questions that is most interesting to me from a scholarly perspective is what exactly to consider the unit of analysis and its boundaries: what is the configuration of human beings that we are trying to understand and who gets included or excluded? In the scholarship in my area—cultural anthropology and sociological theory figure most prominently, though my influences reach across disciplines—there have been a number of different ways of defining groupings of people and how one might study them: the ones I’m going to pay the most attention to today are public, cohort, and community. I’d like to continue with a few more next week: fandoms, networks, and networked publics.
Each word has a slightly different history and means something slightly different, providing strengths and weaknesses in terms of what it can describe and what sorts of connections and bonds it can make sense of. I hope showing you a little bit of these scholarly perspectives and how bronies can be considered as representative of each can give you some sense of why the fandom is so interesting to me!
Welcome to Part II of our two part interview with Dr. Edwards. Here we move a bit more from the discussion of the fandom itself to a discussion of Dr. Edwards’ and The Brony Study’s history, covering topics such as Dr. Edwards’ background, how the members of the Brony Study became involved with the study, some of the current and future plans for The Brony Study, and (perhaps most importantly) Dr. Edwards’ fanfic-in-progress. We hope you enjoy the rest of the interview. Check it out and comment below the break!
Unfortunately, it’s been well over a month since we last posted and we’re still crazy busy with school. However we think we’re finally able to start posting again. Jason starts his first round of PhD exams tomorrow, so he will be super busy/brain dead for a while, but we’ve done some interesting stuff since our last post and are really excited to share it with you (hopefully you all find it interesting).
We’ll be going to a weekly posting schedule for the time being, just to be sure we don’t fall into another month of silence, so be sure to look for our posts on Thursdays! We’ll continue to respond to messages and comments throughout the week though.
For our first post back, we’re finally getting to share an interview we did with The Brony Study’s own Dr. Pat Edwards, who was kind enough to sit down with us for a lengthy chat (hopefully the first of many). We’ve begun some work on a collaborative project of sorts, which we’ll hopefully be able to drop on y’all real soonish. We conducted the interview back in February via Skype, but the quality of the recording was poor so we’ve posted a transcript (we are considering posting the audio to our YouTube. We’ll include the link on part II if we do). Special thanks to Celia, who painstakingly transcribed the interview for us since we were WAY too busy to do it (it’s a great first… and possibly last, judging by the stress it caused her… transcription).
So, without further ado, here’s the first part of the interview. Sorry it’s a bit “wall of text”-y… My computer is broken and it’s hard to do this on an iPad—we think there’s still a lot to enjoy though. Check it out and comment below the break! We’ll post the second half next week.
Sorry for slacking off on posting recently; we’ve both been super busy with teaching and schoolwork. Last weekend, however, we were able to travel to the Ray Browne Conference on Cultural and Critical Studies at Bowling Green State University, where we gave our first official presentation using the research we’ve been doing on this site. Overall, the presentation seemed to go very well; everyone seemed very interested and we got some good questions (and even a twitter shout out) at the end.
Unfortunately, our recorder died so we could not record the presentation at Bowling Green. However, we wanted to share it with you, so we’ve re-read and recorded the paper here and synced it with the powerpoint presentation. The presentation is posted below. We hope you enjoy and would love to hear your thoughts/questions/concerns/etc.
So, without further ado, here is our 2014 Ray Browne presentation entitled “Learning How to Live/The Magic of Friendship: Ethnographic Methodology and the My Little Pony Fandom.”
After reading Kathleen Stewart’s book Ordinary Affects in the class that this study ultimately arose from, we’ve been very interested in the ways in which MLP and the Brony fandom influence and affect peoples’ daily lives. We caught up with Danny, whose earlier posts on this blog on these matters caught our attention, to talk about the ways in which being a brony has changed his outlook on life and served as a safe space to express emotion. We had to end the conversation a bit earlier that we would have liked to due to space and time concerns, but we are hoping to revisit for a Part 2 soon.