UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Ambivalent ambulation : fan pilgrimage and the itinerantextual cult film Cannon, Jonathan Ambrose


Peripatetic by nature yet polymorphous in form, the topic of fan pilgrimage expresses a significant dearth in cult film and media scholarship. Whilst the concept of pilgrimage has been classically linked to religious duty and moral obligation, its ability to straddle both traditionalist and secularist rationales amidst increased globalisation makes such ambiguous mobility ripe for closer analysis. In this thesis, I will theorise fan pilgrimage using a series of itinerant fan taxonomies to recontextualise the role of the pilgrim and its function within select fan groups. Utilising the critical literature of Zygmunt Bauman, Victor Turner, and Roger C. Aden, respectively, Chapter 1 reevaluates ideas of community and reconfigures the spatiotemporal theories of performance articulated by Richard Schechner through fan pilgrimage and performative communitas. Chapter 2 explores how theories of play and everyday life create my first fan taxonomy: the ludic pilgrim. Via the play theory of Johan Huizinga and Roger Caillois as well as the theories of everyday life held by Erving Goffman, I argue for a correlation between play and costume through the case study of the otaku – i.e. fans of Japanese anime and manga. Chapter 3 employs fashion theory to subcultural style and reconsiders the value of the goth subculture and female vampire fandom by way of my second fan taxonomy: the subsartorial pilgrim. In Chapter 4, The Rocky Horror Picture Show serves as my main case study to theorise subcultural liveness during screenings of Rocky Horror and highlight my third fan taxonomy: the performative pilgrim. Examining the pilgrim as tourist through concepts such as fan tourism and flâneurism and by way of case studies such as Blade Runner, Disney theme parks, and The Lord of the Rings blockbuster trilogy, Chapter 5 unpacks my fourth fan taxonomy: the postmodern pilgrim. Finally, Chapter 6 recasts The Big Lebowski as a cult film that is primarily consumed by fans via Lebowski Fest. This chapter will elucidate how narrative, replay culture, and the documentary film The Achievers: The Story of the Lebowski Fans all reshape the meaning of Lebowski and spotlight its classification as an itinerantextual cult film.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International