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.
Authenticity, China, Cross-cultural media consumption, Identity, Modernity, Reflexivity, Television, Youth
Asian Studies | Broadcast and Video Studies | Sociology of Culture
Media, Culture and Society
GAO, Yang.(2016). Inventing the ‘authentic’ self: American television and Chinese audiences in global Beijing. Media, Culture and Society, 38(8), 1201-1217.
Available at: http://ink.library.smu.edu.sg/soss_research/1918
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