"I'm Your Biggest Fan, I'll Follow You ... " Lady Gaga, Little Monsters and the Religious Dimension of Fandom in Pop Music
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This thesis examines the religious dimension of fandom in popular music, taking as an object of reflection Lady Gaga and her fans. I combine fan studies with theories of immanence as well as Deleuze and Guattari's notion of the process of becoming, and provide a theoretical reading of the relationship between Lady Gaga and her most fervent fans, the 'little monsters.' Both fandom and religion promise a stable sense of identity and authentic community to devotees. Performing deconstructive discourse analysis on three of Lady Gaga's music videos, I demonstrate how fandom, like organized religion, can simultaneously be an emancipatory practice and a practice that seeks to deny individual subjects their agency. This thesis provides a new theoretical framework for understanding fandom, and illustrates how the purported benefits of both fandom and religion can only be gained when the figureheads of each group are symbolically destroyed by the members themselves.