Representation of autism in fanfiction. Net narratives: Affinity spaces as an opportunity for negotiating meaning La representación del autismo en las narrativas de fan Los espacios de afinidad como oportunidad para la negociación de sentido uri icon


  • Representation of autism in mass media has retained stereotypes that paraphrase medical discourse over time. This paper aims to investigate about the existence of alternate representations in affinity spaces like fanfiction. net. For this purpose, we conducted a mixed composite study of a quantitative analysis of 197 fanfictions found in the platform in November 2016 under the tag autism, in which reading popularity indicators such as subscribers, bookmarks and number of comments were measured. We then conducted a qualitative analysis of the most relevant text according to popularity and content. This analysis focused on the fanfiction Different, Not Defective, from the Harry Potter fandom, and the analysis of the 863 comments. Results show that digital platforms can function as inclusive spaces where therapists, family members and individuals within the autistic spectrum incorporate alternative forms of representation. The conclusions indicate that these spaces have a great potential to negotiate the meaning of autism, which could extend to other disabilities. One of the contributions of this study is that it provides a methodology for studying other fandom or other disabilities. We suggest continuing to explore how fan fiction on the internet can contribute to the creation of emerging meanings about groups that are inadequately represented.

Publication date

  • December 1, 2017