Hierarchy within female ACG fandom in China

  • Xianwei Wu University of Iowa
Keywords: Copyright, Cultural capital, Fan community, Scanlation


This case study focuses on a Chinese female-oriented ACG fan community, 3n5b, with an eye to studying how this community creates a sense of exclusivity and hierarchy through the discourses of copyright infringement, fan labor, and quality membership. Through controlling the distribution of rare resources, 3n5b creates high demand for their manga scanlation, and this demand is translated to a highly restricted membership. Membership is valuable because it is closely related to individual member's social and cultural capital, as well as their access to forum resources. Well-behaved members can slowly gain entry into more restricted forums, while members who violate forum rules are punished with loss of forum status or even membership revocation. This hierarchy seeks to raise the forum's overall quality and to wall off unwanted members, but it also replicates offline power relations that inevitably place people of lower social status at a disadvantage.

Author Biography

Xianwei Wu, University of Iowa

PhD candidate, School of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Iowa