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The Formation of Global Sports Fandom in China: Capitalism, Masculinities and World Order

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Author: Xu, Ye
In the wake of the globalization of capitalism, cultural domination of the West has been legitimated on a global scale through transnational corporation (Schiller,1991). This essay argues that global sports fandom in China, which was facilitated by the global expansion of the Western sports industry, works as a mechanism of ideology, as it helps to reproduce Western masculinity in China through Chinese fans’ transnational identity towards Western sports brands. Following this, this essay uses global sports fandom in China as a microcosm to examine the myth of economic superpower and cultural vulnerability in post-reform China, which reflects on China’s complex role in shaping the contemporary world order.By using three-dimensional discourse analysis(Fairclough,1992), this essay locates the formation of global sports fandom in China in the context of the globalization of capitalism, in which the interweaving of the global expansion of Western sports industry and market economy reform in China collectively facilitated this cultural phenomenon. Following this, this essay uses the English Premier League fandom on Chinese social media platform Sina Weibo as a case study to explore how global sports fandom formed in the Chinese indigenous context through the strategy of cosmopolitanism and the deployment of fans’ emerging class consciousness in post-reform China. In addition, discourse analysis also examines how Western masculinity becomes hegemonic on a global scale through creating a sense of fraternity in global sports fandom.
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