This research focuses on examining activities initiated by Chinese fans’ crowdfunding and online voting for the official annual general election of AKB48 group idols. This research argues that crowdfunding is a localized project which is mediated by digital technologies and digital platforms, involving emotional appeals. Crowdfunding is also a kind of mobilization which is customized, strategic, equipped with social media literacy and the well understandings of fans’ consumption needs. Crowdfunding is mainly led by Baidu online fan forums based on different idols, cooperating with Weibo’s widespread promotion and QQ instant messenger as the tool for intimate socializing, and crowdfunding platforms for public displaying data of collected money. All of those contribute to the circulation of messages and practices related to crowdfunding. Crowdfunding take advantage of the popularity of China’s mobile payment including Alipay and Wechat Pay, as well as small amount of money reward. Crowdfunding is “app”ized and “QR code”izd, which derives from the technological convenience and quickness allowing consumption to be completed in few seconds. Fans are encouraged to capture and display the picture of “making deals”. “Having successfully paid and “amount of money” is not only the function of replying customers, but is the finance-emotion spectacle in which money is socialized into affective expression for idols and enables fans’ collective networking and comradeship. Besides, because of Chinese government has been long-term exerted authoritative surveillance over people, the space of consumption and digital technology has become the sites for people to experiment with politics and democracy. Fans’ crowdfunding as the politicization of popular cultural consumption lies in that young people have developed grassroots participation and achieved competency. Fans’ crowdfunding integrates digital platforms, technologies, finance and social media, which facilitates the campaigning and marketing of discourses related to fandom affection in order to maximize the effects of voting. Although the general election of AKB48 groups is different from state politics, they are similar in terms of concerning money, people, campaign and votes. In the realm of new media and technology, Chinese fans carve out Chinese style of collective affective economies of fandom and construct free and empowered subjects in terms of the consumption logic. Their abilities of consumption and technological use have newly influenced and shaped Chinese and Japanese transnational fandom networks.
|Effective start/end date||2017/08/01 → 2019/01/31|
- fans crowdfunding
- digital platform
- affective economies
- finance-emotion spectacle
- the democracy and politicization of popular cultural consumption
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