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The Changing identities of baseball fans in Contemporary Taiwan
|Publication Year :||2018|
Baseball has been one of the most popular sports in Taiwan for a long time. Baseball fans are important actors in baseball field in Taiwan, and their actions constitute baseball fan cultures. In this thesis, I argue that the actions of governments and business organizations caused the macro transitions of the society and the baseball field in Taiwan. I also argue that, by analyzing the influences of the macro transitions of the society, we could know how the practices and identities of baseball fans formed in Taiwan.
This thesis asks the following questions: what are the socializing mechanisms of baseball fans in Taiwan? What kinds of baseball fans would have specific habits of watching baseball game? For identities of baseball fans come from personal cognition and are also related to the influences of environments, I interviewed baseball fans to know their thoughts and analyzed archives and news reports to capture the influences of the environments.
I find that practices of playing baseball have been continually placed in the marginal position in Taiwan society. Physical education system has little baseball classes. In addition, because people could only play baseball in multi-sports fields without special designs for baseball, the public regards playing baseball as dangerous and does not encourage others to do that. Therefore, baseball fans in Taiwan get familiar with baseball through watching games with significant others rather than playing it.
However, fans in different generations might have different experiences of watching baseball games. The industries of the professional baseball were built in 1990s and the forms and contents of medium were changing during that time. Therefore, the information and ideology of baseball issues that fans got have kept changing. With these changes, fans form different habits of using medium and concerns of baseball game; they also form diverse attitudes on the importance of the national baseball team and the solutions of the controversies of conscriptions of the national team.
Attitudes and identities of baseball fans are not only influenced by their generations, but also by their genders. I argue that males are the main components in fans communities. This demographical characteristic reveals the masculinity of the mainstream baseball fan culture. Contrast to their counterparts, female fans don’t get the same supports through their socializing processes and are not encouraged to play baseball. Therefore, female fans do not get involved in the mainstream (masculine) baseball fan cultures; nor do they form the mainstream fan identity. Instead, they take female gender identities as a reference when they try to build the fan identities.
These gendered baseball fan cultures and practices are mobilized by the professional baseball industries. Professional team managers arrange new cheering forms such as female cheerleaders and team-controlled cheering song. These changes in one hand transform fans’ experiences from collective corporation to individualized feelings and identities. In the other hand, they consolidate the power relations in the baseball field— that males play the main roles and females are positioned in the marginal place. Although some new cheering ways challenge the masculinity in baseball fan cultures, male fans could easily deal with the identity crisis: they claim that their actions of following female cheerleaders are related to their gender identity rather than their fan identity. In contrast, female fans hardly could deal with the following doubts whether they like baseball players because of their fan identities or their gender identities. These difference prove that female fans’ are situated in periphery positions in the baseball fan communities once again.
|Appears in Collections:||社會學系|
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