Chen, Z. T. (2018) ‘Poetic prosumption of animation, comic, game and novel in a post-socialist China: A case of a popular video-sharing social media Bilibili as heterotopia Journal of Consumer Culture’ on-line first
Based on the case of Bilibili, a popular Chinese video-sharing social media with a core focus on animation, comic, game and novel, this article examines the transnational prosumption practices of Chinese urban youth who mostly belong to Generation Z. I conduct ethnographic research and in-depth interviews with animation, comic, game and novel fans to investigate the construction of heterotopia on Bilibili through their various practices of tactical prosumption. This article demonstrates that young animation, comic, game and novel fans prosume, socialise and express themselves in a tactical and poetic way within the heterotopia, a place of otherness. Various tactics are employed to challenge and counter control, social norms as well as consumerism. Starting with a critical engagement with Azuma’s pessimistic view on animation, comic, game and novel fan culture, the notion of ‘database animals’, I argue that a neglected, albeit nuanced, poetic and tactical prosumption process is evident on Chinese social media. Being the results of an interdisciplinary study, the findings will be helpful to scholars who are interested in contemporary Chinese studies with a focus on the animation industry, fandom, consumption and social media.