Publication Type

Journal Article

Version

Postprint

Publication Date

11-2016

Abstract

This article examines the ways educated urban Chinese youths engage American television fiction as part of their identity work. Drawing on theories of modern reflexive identity, and based on 29 interviews with US TV fans among university students in Beijing, I found these youths are drawn to this television primarily because they perceive the American way of life portrayed on it as more ‘authentic’. This perception of authenticity must be examined within the socio-cultural milieu these students inhabit. Specifically, torn between China’s ingrained collectivist culture and its recent neoliberal emphasis on the individual self, my respondents glean from US TV messages about how to live a spontaneous, nonconforming, and fulfilled life while remaining properly Chinese. By inspecting the ways these youths employ foreign symbolic materials to interrogate their own identity and life, this article demonstrates how transnational media consumption informs lived experiences for a historically unique and important Chinese demographic.

Keywords

Authenticity, China, Cross-cultural media consumption, Identity, Modernity, Reflexivity, Television, Youth

Discipline

Asian Studies | Broadcast and Video Studies | Sociology of Culture

Research Areas

Sociology

Publication

Media, Culture and Society

Volume

38

Issue

8

First Page

1201

Last Page

1217

ISSN

0163-4437

Identifier

10.1177/0163443716635870

Publisher

SAGE

Copyright Owner and License

Author

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Additional URL

http://doi.org/10.1177/0163443716635870

Share

COinS