All Abstracts > Whose Recognition Is It? The impossible identity of popular eat-streamers in China
Whose Recognition Is It? The impossible identity of popular eat-streamers in China
Author | Affiliation: Sijun Shen | Monash University
This presentation explores the impossible identity fantasized by eat-streamers, a particular kind of Wanghong who perform on China’s live-streaming platforms. Represented by the figures of King of Big Stomach (大胃王), eat-streamers identify themselves as persons who are capable of consuming and enjoying limitlessly without prohibition. However, eat-streaming (吃播) in China originated in online eating disorder communities who named themselves Rabbit. By tracing the meanings of the terms King (王) and Rabbit (兔) in China’s historical context, this exploration aims to demonstrate the constitutive loss upon which China fortified its social order as clean and proper, specifically the marginalization of those who cannot be assimilated into the symbolic order. Drawing on the concept of abjection theorized by Julia Kristeva (1982), I contend the identity of the Kings, which is representative of the identity of Wanghong in China, are impossible identities. The recognition obtained by the Kings, instead of representing a voice of the marginalized, is a repetition and exacerbation of the law of excessive consumerism.
About the author
Sijun Shen is working on her Ph.D. in Media, Film and Journalism at Monash University. Her thesis project aims to make sense of the excessivity, extremity and the popularity of China’s eat-streaming in its political-economic-social context using psychoanalytic theories.