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Problems and Paths in the Study of China’s Celebrity Fandom

China Social Science Review

No.1, 2022

 

Problems and Paths in the Study of China’s Celebrity Fandom

(Abstract)

 

Yang Ling

 

Chinese scholars have long confused celebrity fandom with media fandom, and so have used British and American theories of media fandom to study the local phenomenon of celebrity fandom. This misalignment between theory and practice has led to the fact that the most striking issues of emotion and ethics in celebrity fandom have not received sufficient attention. We need to make a strategic distinction between celebrity and media fandom in order to reveal the different character of fans’ emotions and practices in different types of fandom. Fans of celebrities need at least three kinds of emotional sensibility: an aesthetic sensibility for the way the celebrity looks, a sensibility for experiencing positive feelings of pleasure, and a tolerance for the contradictions and risks involved in being a fan. The only way to deepen the study of Chinese fan culture is by distinguishing between different types of fandom.