Participatory Media Fandom
Lee, H.–K. (2011) Participatory media fandom: a case study of anime fansubbing. Media, Culture & Society. 33(8): 1131-1147.
20 Pages Posted: 26 Jan 2015
Date Written: 2011
Recent years have seen the rise of consumers’ voluntary translation and distribution of foreign cultural products on a global scale. Such a practice does not only facilitate the grass-root globalization of culture but also questions the cultural industries’ current model of global distribution. This paper explores the nature and implications of fan-translation and distribution of cultural commodities through a case study of English fansubbing of anime (subtitling of Japanese animation in English). Anime fansubbing is situated on the disjuncture of global mediascape, which intensifies with the increasing public access to means to copy and share, the expansion of collective knowledge and the rise of fans’ voluntary labour coordinated on a global scale. It exemplifies participatory media fandom whose globalization exceeds that of cultural industries in terms of extent and velocity. The paper argues that fansubbing, pursued as a hobby, can unsettle the global mediascape by allowing multiple mediations of cultural text and presenting a new model of content distribution and its organisation based on consumers’ voluntary work.
Keywords: media fandom, fan culture, anime, fansubbing, fan translation, cultural industries, copyright
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