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Title: Desire and fantasy on-line : a sociological and psychoanalytical approach to the prosumption of Chinese Internet fiction
Author: Chao, Sheila
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis deals with two topics: macro-structurally speaking, the evolving and dynamic new patterns of commercial publishing over the internet where agents and institutions of commercial publishing have been repositioned in the digital Chinese literary field; micro-structurally speaking, the textual analysis of internet fiction prosumed by authors and readers to realise the collective desire of Chinese prosumers (producers and consumers). Together the two topics contribute to the study of the socio-cultural phenomenon of internet fiction in the transnational Chinese on-line literary sphere, especially in China. The internet promotes prosumption behaviour because prosumers are offered more autonomy. This autonomy helps to generate desire in prosumers by incessantly prosuming highly similar texts to reflect a growing Chinese individualisation. A textual analysis of the prosumed literary commodities will be conducted in order to comprehend the collective desire of general prosumers on the internet resulting from the prosumers’ literary autonomy. The approach to analysing the texts – prosumed commodities as the consequence of literary autonomy – is through psychoanalysis, which I believe is best suited to illuminate desire dwelling in the depths of the human mind. The production rates and consumption rates of various fiction genres from long-term statistics which I have collected from Qidian, the largest internet literary portal website based in China, provide the thesis with a standard by which to determine what types of works of fiction are popularly prosumed. The psychoanalytical approach will be applied for a deeper interpretation of these works to establish the reason for their popularity. Whilst internet fiction is being popularly prosumed and prosumers communicate with each other on an individual basis to spell out their desire, they use internet fiction as a channel to reflect their socio-cultural context through various fiction genres. Hence, by analysing the prosumers’ desire, this thesis also strives by means of textual analysis to go beyond interpreting individual desire to examine a symbiosis between prosumers and their socio-cultural environment. The discussion of the new business model of prosumption and the textual analysis of prosumed fiction are like the two sides of the same coin, where the new pattern of commercial publishing provides a mode in which Chinese prosumers are offered autonomy of production and consumption of literary commodities, whilst the prosumed literary commodities sustain the new pattern. Because of this reciprocal relationship, to research one without the other is likely to miss the whole picture of the socio-cultural phenomenon.
Supervisor: St Andre, James; Lin, Wei-Hsin Sponsor: Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange (CCKF)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Internet, Popular Literature, China