Youth fans of global popular culture: Between prosumer and free digital labourer

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23 Citations (Scopus)


The subculture of urban global popular-culture youth fans is believed to be a resistance-subculture against the hegemony of dominant power. This study, however, found that the subculture given rise to by the urban, global popular-culture youth fans of ‘the Mortal Instruments’ in Indonesia is in opposition to the Neo-Gramscian thought which has become the foundation of popular-culture studies. In constructing their identity, some of the digital fandoms of global popular culture have been critical of the content of cultural texts as a form of resistance against texts produced by cultural industries. However, they have only been developing artificial forms of resistance within the system, that is, in fan sites. This study found that the urban youths joining digital fandoms are not free from the hegemony of capitalism because they have become playlabourers, engaging in free digital labour for the powers of the global culture industry. This critical attitude of urban youths, in building their digital fandom-subculture identity, is incapable of standing against the system. They even position themselves within the network of cultural-industry capitalism – identified by the Frankfurt School as the domination and superiorization of the industry power of global entertainment that is continually self-restoring.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)305-323
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Consumer Culture
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2020


  • Digital fandom
  • free digital labour
  • global popular culture
  • prosumer
  • subculture
  • the Mortal Instruments Indonesia


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