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Class, Consumption, and Reading Formations of Harry Potter in Urban China
Unformatted Document Text:  7 social class” (209). We shall adopt a more open understanding of “class” based on a social relational perspective, which entails status honour, symbolic boundaries, and local/global interplay of cultural capital (cf. Buckley, 1999). To date, we know of no similar attempt to apply Bourdieu’s theoretical framework to studying practices of “distinctions” in China. Reading Harry Potter: The Harry Potter books center on the adventures of an orphaned boy who possesses gifted abilities in wizardry. Living vicariously through Harry and his friends, young readers are actively producing a rich variety of creative responses to the books (Acocella, 2000; Blacker, 1999; Bloom, 2000; Dubail, 1999; Tucker, 1999). Containing powerful, thought-provoking literary themes as well as portrayals of social and cultural normalcy, the Potter books cumulatively serve as a powerful form of social text. In a “synergistic” consumption environment (i.e. books, films, toys, costumes, CDs, video games, interactive websites), young readers can be said to immerse themselves in a hyperactive quest for relevance, analogies, intellectual translation, and cultural appropriation vis-à-vis Harry Potter. Inter-disciplinary studies of children’s reception of the media indicate that researchers unanimously agree on the incredible creativity in children’s appropriation of consumer media in ways that are neither necessarily nor completely in line with a materialist ethos (Dennis & Pease, 1996; Palmer, 1986; Seiter, 1993; Zollo, 1999). Furthermore, studies on children’s reading lives have claimed that the intellectual and emotional satisfaction that children and young people gain from reading popular fictions is just as genuine as that supposedly offered by classic literature (Galbraith, 1997; Fry, 1985; Hunt, 1992; Jones & Watkins, 2000; Sarland, 1991; Saxby, 1997).

Authors: Erni, John. and Fung, Anthony.
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social class” (209). We shall adopt a more open understanding of “class” based on a
social relational perspective, which entails status honour, symbolic boundaries, and
local/global interplay of cultural capital (cf. Buckley, 1999). To date, we know of no
similar attempt to apply Bourdieu’s theoretical framework to studying practices of
“distinctions” in China.
Reading Harry Potter:
The Harry Potter books center on the adventures of an
orphaned boy who possesses gifted abilities in wizardry. Living vicariously through
Harry and his friends, young readers are actively producing a rich variety of creative
responses to the books (Acocella, 2000; Blacker, 1999; Bloom, 2000; Dubail, 1999;
Tucker, 1999). Containing powerful, thought-provoking literary themes as well as
portrayals of social and cultural normalcy, the Potter books cumulatively serve as a
powerful form of social text. In a “synergistic” consumption environment (i.e. books,
films, toys, costumes, CDs, video games, interactive websites), young readers can be
said to immerse themselves in a hyperactive quest for relevance, analogies,
intellectual translation, and cultural appropriation vis-à-vis Harry Potter.
Inter-disciplinary studies of children’s reception of the media indicate that
researchers unanimously agree on the incredible creativity in children’s appropriation
of consumer media in ways that are neither necessarily nor completely in line with a
materialist ethos (Dennis & Pease, 1996; Palmer, 1986; Seiter, 1993; Zollo, 1999).
Furthermore, studies on children’s reading lives have claimed that the intellectual and
emotional satisfaction that children and young people gain from reading popular
fictions is just as genuine as that supposedly offered by classic literature (Galbraith,
1997; Fry, 1985; Hunt, 1992; Jones & Watkins, 2000; Sarland, 1991; Saxby, 1997).


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