A Study on the “Coupling” Phenomenon in the Chinese Fandom of English Cultural Products and Intercultural Imagination of Fan Creation

Dang, Zhaowei (2023) A Study on the “Coupling” Phenomenon in the Chinese Fandom of English Cultural Products and Intercultural Imagination of Fan Creation. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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This doctoral thesis examines the emerging CP fan culture in Chinese cyberspace and explores its representation in the Chinese fandom of English-language cultural products such as Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts. As a cultural category initiated by predominantly female participants for imagining intimate relationships between 2-dimensional characters and 3-dimensional real people, CP fan culture shares some cultural homologies and proximities with Japanese Boy’s Love (BL) culture and Western slash fan culture. However, existing research has focused almost exclusively on these two cultural subsets, which have a long history and transcultural influence beyond their geographical boundaries, and scholars have usually analysed them from the perspectives of feminism and queer theory, whereas there is a serious lack of systematic academic discussion of the distinctive connotations and local cultural characteristics of CP culture, which has become the centre of public opinion and the core of the cultural industry in China. Even the few English-language studies of CP fan culture tend to confuse it with BL culture and slash fan culture, and tend to discuss negative features such as the CP fan struggle and the censorship of homoerotic literature in China from a critical perspective.

The present research uses the mixed methods approach consisting of aca-fan, online questionnaire (N = 136), textual analysis, feminism with ‘only daughter’ as a generational characteristic, postmodern culturalism, and intercultural fandom to construct a new theoretical system, which is committed to analysing how CP fans of English-language cultural products, as a transcultural fandom, engage in transmedia CP activities compared to early Chinese media fans and CP fans of Chinese-language cultural products based on the following five perspectives: 1. the genesis of CP fan culture; 2. the ‘setting supremacy’ that serves as a guiding principle in the creative approach of CP fan culture on two levels; 3. the preference of some CP fans for English-language cultural products; 4. the original La Lang CP created by CP fans of English-language cultural products; and 5. the fandom nationalism that caused the termination of transnational CP activities.

Within this context, the present research defines for the first time a series of important concepts in CP fan culture, including the sense of CP, the intimacy of CP, the top/bottom character configuration of CP, La Lang CP, and the fandom nationalism of CP fans of English-language cultural products. Moreover, the present research reveals that CP fan creations abide by the rule of ‘setting supremacy’, dissecting the ‘2.5-dimensional setting’ which is the fundamental component of CP fan culture, and setting it apart from the ‘moe element’ put forth by Japanese ACGN culture researcher Azuma Hiroki and frequently misconstrued by Chinese fan culture scholars. Based on this, the present research uniquely proposes that the essence of CP fan culture is the creation and consumption of a ‘dynamic 2.5-dimensional settings database’. As a result, the present research focuses on the CP fan culture of English-language cultural products with both localised and intercultural characteristics, which not only reveals the cultural innovation capacity of female CP fans in the context of the grand narrative collapsing, as well as their willingness to question and transform the imbalanced gender-rights operating mechanism, but also effectively removes the cultural misinterpretation and stigmatisation attached to CP fans of English-language cultural products that are less visible.

Keywords: CP fans of English-language cultural products, personal settings, worldview settings, setting supremacy, 2.5-dimensional settings database, only daughter, intimate relationship

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Art, Media and American Studies
Depositing User: Chris White
Date Deposited: 25 Jan 2024 13:43
Last Modified: 25 Jan 2024 13:43
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/94258


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