To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below:

An exploratory investigation of the characteristics of consumer fanaticism

Scott Thorne (Southeast Missouri State University, Cape Girardeau, Missouri, USA)
Gordon C. Bruner (Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois, USA)

Qualitative Market Research

ISSN: 1352-2752

Article publication date: 1 January 2006




The purpose is to examine the behaviors of consumers engaged in fan activity and determine if there are attitudinal and behavioral characteristics common across the differing fan subcultures.


The characteristics affecting fan behavior are examined through the literature and a series of structured interviews with fans which are then evaluated for the presence or lack of the sought for characteristics of fanaticism.


The research indicates that there are certain common characteristics to be found in fans interested in different topics and that these characteristics influence the behaviors of those involved in fan behavior.

Research limitations/implications

Given the prevalence of fan influences in popular and consumptive culture, opportunity exists for research beyond the exploratory work done here including larger interview populations from a greater number of fan subcultures.

Practical implications

Marketing professionals may use the identified characteristics as a guide in marketing popular culture to those markets best attuned to accept and embrace it.


This paper provides exploratory research in an area of popular culture that has previously been examined as categories of fans, rather than as an inclusive subculture of fanaticism.



Thorne, S. and Bruner, G.C. (2006), "An exploratory investigation of the characteristics of consumer fanaticism", Qualitative Market Research, Vol. 9 No. 1, pp. 51-72.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Related articles