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Document Type

Open Access

Degree Program

Communication

Degree Type

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Year Degree Awarded

2010

Month Degree Awarded

September

Keywords

popular culture, cosmopolitanism, fandom studies, globalization, identity, internet

Abstract

This study examines the academic concept of pop cosmopolitanism—an interest in global popular culture that leads to start of a global perspective and provides an escape route out of the parochialism of local community/culture—as posited by Henry Jenkins in its lived, experienced context. The online English-speaking overseas fandom of the Japanese male pop idol talent agency, Johnny & Associates, framed as a community of pop cosmopolitans, serves a case study to evaluate this concept. These global fans demonstrate through their engagement with and investment in a form of Japanese popular culture that they are able to obtain a competency in Japanese culture that would have not otherwise been available to them. The obtainment of this cultural competency is driven by the personal notion of fandom, with emotional affect and identification between the fan and the fan object at its core, and access to new media technologies such as the Internet. However, it is noted that Jenkins's original definition of pop cosmopolitanism does not account completely for the complexity of the lived experience and a distinction of local pop cosmopolitanism and comprehensive pop cosmopolitanism is necessary. Furthermore, the pop cosmopolitans studied discount the idea of escape embedded into Jenkins's definition and instead emphasize the positive influence of their pop cosmopolitanism on their own (fandom) identity construction.

First Advisor

Emily West

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