Presented by Merticus of Suscitatio Enterprises, LLC & Vampire Community News (VCN) - November 12, 2014
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As I mentioned in a previous post, I've recently become aware of a spate of academic articles about otherkin. I managed to get my hands on the first of them, "Othering among Otherkin: The discursive negotiation of the face-threat of exclusionary othering in a demarginalizing internet community" by Melanie Getzler. I've skimmed it and it looks really great, but unfotunately I haven't had time yet to sit down and read it in depth. It's much longer than other articles on the subject, as it is a Master's thesis - 82 pages. One thing I will note is that it does not suffer from the same weakness that so many academic articles on otherkin and therians have in the past - that of being based on self-selected survey responses or interviews with a fairly small sampling of the community. Ms. Getzler employed a different methodology to try to get a truly representative sampling and while I'd still like to see a broader study done I must say hers is the best attempt to date of which I am currently aware.
For those interested, I've saved a copy of the thesis here.
Apparently Ms. Getzler also wrote an undergraduate thesis on our community entitled "Here There Be Dragons: The Effect of Online Communities of 'Otherkin' on Philosophical Construction of Self-Identity". I'm still looking for a copy of that, it is not available from ProQuest.
Another recent academic work is "Some People Aren’t People on the Inside: Online Connectivity and Otherkin Subjectivities" by Margaret Shane. I don't have a copy of that one yet either, but I do know where it can be purchased. I'm just leery of spending $30 on a 15 page paper.
Last but not least there's another article by Venetia Robertson focusing on the therian community: "The Beast Within: Anthrozoomorphic Identity and Alternative Spirituality in the Online Therianthropy Movement". This paper may be downloaded for free from academia.edu, and I have backed it up here.
In 2012, Venetia Laura Delano Robertson of the University of Sydney, Department of Studies in Religion wrote a paper for Pomegranate: The International Journal of Pagan Studies entitled "The Law of the Jungle: Self and Community in the Online Therianthropy Movement". I've seen brief mentions of this article in a few places, but I've only recently gotten hold of a copy myself. For those interested, a copy is now available here. The work explores the idea that there are implicit initiations and rites of passage, and a hierarchy inherent to the therian community. And it does make a good case for that. Much of its content could also be extrapolated to the otherkin and vampire communities, in my opinion.
This is one of several recent academic works on the subject of otherkin which I have learned of, which brings me to one final thing: does anyone have access to ProQuest articles through their university library or another organization of which they are part? There's one academic work in particular I'm looking to get, but as I'm not a member of any subscribing organization it would run me $38 for the pdf and I'd rather avoid that if possible.
The Sydney Morning Herald (est. 1831) recently ran an article1 about the vampire subculture’s presence on the Internet, mentioning otherkin as well. “Researcher Danielle Kirby used the ‘Otherkin’, who meet in an online forum and believe they are partially or entirely non-human, to examine the phenomenon. In her paper, she found about 800 members of the Otherkin network, including those who identified as dragons, elves, vampires, fairies and angels. The internet had helped concentrate their underlying broadly neo-pagan beliefs, she said.” This probably refers to Kirby’s essay “Alternative Worlds: Metaphysical Questing and Community amongst the Otherkin” in the anthology Through A Glass Darkly: Reflections on the Sacred.2
- O. Scribner