>

Breaking the Circle in the Digital Age: Why Fan Culture Research Is Still a Hot Topic

China Social Science Review

No.1, 2022

 

Breaking the Circle in the Digital Age: Why Fan Culture Research Is Still a Hot Topic

(Abstract)

 

Zhu Lili

 

To answer the question of why fan culture research is still a hot topic, we must reorder the flow of fan culture and reflect on the historical dimension of its interaction and connection with the social context, media environment, and the times. The key factors for the rise of fan culture represent the combined force of multiple subjects: the rise of platform and technology capital, the guidance of national policy, and the agency of fan groups have laid the foundation for the integration of fan culture, originally a niche culture, into mainstream culture. On top of that, fan groups have expanded into a large scale Internet community with a high degree of organization, action and influence. The cultural politics of fan traffic and fandom circles is strongly tied to current social issues, refreshing perception of fan culture and fan communities in mainstream society and academia in both the positive and the negative sense. The study of fan culture emerged from social issues, and recent studies have shown a shift of interest from taking in to its governance. Contemporary research on fan culture in China should emphasize the complex texture of the socio-political and economic structures behind the texts.