: a Netnography of Chinese Online Wuxia Fiction

  • Henian Zhu

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This thesis researches the website and online fan community users of — a translation website of Chinese online Wuxia fiction — through netnography. This thesis consists of a focused case study and extends the dialogues about previously established fan practices, emphasizing monetization and community.
This thesis defines its fan research framework as a composite system with transactional attributes. In my literature review, I review traditional fan study frameworks and highlight the contradictory nature of this single fan study. The research framework based on the trading system supplements existing online fan research and fills in the current absence of fan research into a Chinese-based context.
In the main chapter of this thesis, I divide the fan trading system into three groups—readers, authors, and managers. Readers regularly pay for reading through 'Gatekeeping' and show a behavior pattern of 'low participation, high attention' in the online community. Fan users accumulate cultural capital in this way and transform into Wuxia genre fiction authors in the next stage. These authors create independently and sell to site managers through the "Writing for All" concept. Afterwards, the administrators provide these works to general readers after screening and marketing operations. So far, based on the interaction of the three groups, the fan system with transaction attributes is formed. These transactions are not limited to the cultural field but involve the independent commercialization of fans and related cultural industries. As such, this paper argues that transaction systems are a more precise research framework for recent fan self-commercialization-associated behavior and contexts.
Date of Award28 Sept 2023
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorLincoln Geraghty (Supervisor), Steven O'Brien (Supervisor) & Si Qiao (Supervisor)

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