Toward Productive Coexistence: A Relational Analysis of a Feminist Counterpublic in Twitter K-Pop Fandom

Yena Lee


Counterpublic research highlights the significance of counter-discourse in challenging dominant public spheres. Yet, less focus has been given to how counterpublic actors could destabilize the relationships within a dominant public to foster counter-discourse. I examine the creation of a feminist counterpublic within Twitter K-pop fandom to understand how oppositional actors can transform the toxic technocultures of the dominant public to create a counterpublic. Formed by feminist K-pop fans, this counterpublic defied toxic relational norms of the mainstream K-pop fandom, cultivating a culture where fans could critique problematic K-pop star text without renouncing their fan identity. I bring the concepts of relational schemas and scripts to the study of counterpublics to demonstrate how creating an alternative schema can be a tool of resistance. To do so, I highlight how feminist fans reappropriated existing relationship scripts and formulated new ones to modify the relational schema of the mainstream K-pop fandom. I argue that these relational strategies helped feminist fans regroup by creating opportunities for productive coexistence, facilitating an alternative relational schema around a critical fan identity.


networked counterpublic, relational schema, K-pop, K-pop fandom, toxic technocultures, feminist counterpublic, fan activism

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