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Title: 迷的情感經濟與勞動:防彈少年團(BTS)與迷的社群媒體實踐
Affective Economy and Labor of Fandom: A Study on BTS and their fans' social media practices
Authors: 龎袿方
Pang, Kuei-Fang
Contributors: 柯裕棻
Ko, Yu-Fen
Pang, Kuei-Fang
Keywords: BTS

data turn
affective labor
affective economy
social media
Date: 2019
Issue Date: 2019-09-05 17:38:41 (UTC+8)
Abstract: 2017年起,韓國男子偶像團體防彈少年團(BTS)不僅紅遍亞洲,更將K-pop帶到全球音樂產業的殿堂——美國。其發展過程與轉變不僅是韓國偶像團體具體而微的文化表徵,也同時呈現生產端與迷如何運用社群媒體共同創造強大、足以打入北美市場的偶像文本。循此背景,本篇論文旨在探討迷(A.R.M.Y)的媒介實踐,從中檢視迷與偶像的情感暨親密關係如何在媒介文化中生成以及維繫。
Since 2017, the Korean idol group BTS has not only popularized around Asia, but also brought Korean pop (K-pop) to the iconic music industry market in the world, the United States. BTS’s development process and transformation represent the culture of Korean idol groups, and at the same time present how the agency and fans create powerful idol contexts together on social media, leading their success of entering the North American market. In this context, this study aims to understand how the affections and intimacy between fans and idols are generated and maintained in the media culture by exploring the media practice of BTS’s fans, A.R.M.Y.
This study uses contextual analysis to analyze the image construction of idols from BTS’s idol contexts and related media reports, and how this idol image affects fans’ identity and their relationship with the idol. The complexity and actual situation of fan activities are presented in this study with the researcher’s firsthand experience of participating in a fan meeting in Korea and joining online fan organizations as field observations. Then, drawing on in-depth interviews with nine opinion leaders who create distinctive identities within the fandom, fans’ “affective maps” with idols are depicted, while different levels of fan labor, varying from volunteering for unpaid works to gaining money from the fandom as a profession, are revealed.
First, this study discovers that the structural design of the K-pop entertainment industry has catalyzed the data turn of fans. The quantitative charts of album sales volume and number of views become the indicator of idols’ success, propelling the fans’ affective commitment on producing these data and working willingly for the entertainment industry. The fans create excessive data through repeated consumption, viewing, clicking, and playing the music. This is what vitalizes the Korean music industry and makes K-pop phenomenal around the world.
Second, the agency uses social media to unveil the mystery of celebrities, launching interactive and approachable idols. The agency displays the idols’ charm through various media and text content to maintain fans’ solid devotion. With an emphasis on the story concept of albums, fans’ affective commitment to the idol is strengthened and thereby a unique and meaningful aesthetic is generated for a complex music consumption experience.
Finally, the consumer side, the fans, is granted with the “authorized initiative” by the entertainment industry, becoming an unofficial employee. Fans are well aware of their own values in the commercial system, and always take initiative in negotiating with the entertainment industry to create a win-win situation. In addition, through consumption, fans open up a dialogue with the overall social culture in the commercial market to find self-positioning and identity in modern society.
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