The Bounded Embodiment of Fandom in China: Recovering Shifting Media Experiences and Fan Participation Through an Oral History of Animation-Comics-Games Lovers

Yiyi Yin, Zhuoxiao Xie


The synchronic patterns and outcomes of relationship building between fans and fan objects have received much attention in fan studies. Instead of taking an overly presentist view, as historical research on fandom often has done, this research treats fan participation—the construction of fan–object relationships—as a sociohistorical practice, highlighting the longitudinal transformations of fandom in specific social contexts. Drawing on oral history and autobiography among animation-comics-games (ACG) lovers, we examine changes in media practices, participation, and identification since the 1990s in a Chinese context. We argue that in the evolution of ACG fandom, the significance of mass media has not resided in forming new fan practices or fan–object relationships. Rather, mass media have played a role in changing the forms and meanings of the embodiment of the imaginary and the affective relationships between fan and object. The shifting embodiments provide fans with hints of situated experiences and priority of meanings regarding being-in-the-fandom.


fan culture, fan participation, media practice, embodiment of object relation, ACG culture, fandom history, Chinese context

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