Participatory Culture and Fan Studies

Curator – Natalia Samutina

The concept of participatory culture, introduced into research practices by Henry Jenkins in 1992, is comparatively less known in Russian cultural studies. Meanwhile, this concept not only proved to be heuristically productive during the last 25 years, but it is also of vital importance for Russia where the barriers between institutionalized ‘highbrow’ culture and other forms of creativity are particularly strong. Russian participatory cultures are flourishing on the Internet, be it fandoms, rap music or different communities of practice on social networks, such as groups of mothers collecting children’s books or underground communities of graffiti writers. Russian participatory cultures are also very well connected to transcultural flows on global level; such phenomena as manga scanlations and anime fansubbing can serve as telling examples. At our centre we work on establishing the field of research on participatory culture in Russia, supporting this concept as well as many possible directions of research, methodologies and methods conserning participatory culture and fan works. One of the most noticeable pathways here is the introduction of contemporary fan studies into Russian academy through fan studies-related courses, public lectures and interviews; another one is the production of body of works on fandoms, fans, fan activities and products of their transformative reception. The members of our research centre actively participate in international conferences and events on fan studies; we have established good international connections with colleagues in the field.



Samutina N. The Made in Abyss Controversy: Transnational Participatory Cultures as Cultural Interpreters of Japanese Texts. Orientaliska studier (Sweden). 2018. Vol. 156. P. 214-229.

Samutina N. Emotional landscapes of reading: fan fiction in the context of contemporary reading practices. International Journal of Cultural Studies. 2017. Vol. 20. No. 3. P. 253-269

Samutina N. Fan Fiction as World-Building: Transformative Reception in Crossover Writing // Continuum: Journal of Media & Cultural Studies. 2016. Vol. 30. No. 4. P. 433-450.

Samutina N. Street art as "Exerciser for Vision": Hamburg Graffiti Writer Oz and the Community of Smileys // Ledbetter M., Grønstad A. (Eds.) Seeing Whole: Toward an Ethics and Ecology of Sight. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. 2016. P. 63–100.

Samutina N., Zaporozhets O. Berlin, the City of Saturated Walls // Laboratorium: Russian Review of Social Research. 2015. № 2. P. 36–61.

Samutina N. “The Care of the Self” in the 21st century: sex, love and family in Russian Harry Potter fan fiction. Digital Icons: Studies in Russian, Eurasian and Central European New Media. 2013. No. 10. P. 17-46


 Natalia Samutina. Fans, communities, audiences: how we study participatory cultures

Conferences and Projects

International conference “Challenges of Participatory Culture: Methodologies and Perspectives of Research” (2016, May 12–13, Moscow) 

Research Project “Participatory Culture: Communities and Practices” (HSE, 2017–2018). Russian site of the project