Publication Details

McLelland, M. (2017). Governmentality and fan resistance in the Japan pop culture sphere. Participations: Journal of Audience & Reception Studies, 14 (1), 218-334.

Link to publisher version (URL)

University of Wales


This essay looks at the mismatch between how ratings authorities and other 'juridical' bodies have authority to fix the meaning of a text in a manner that often opposes the understandings that circulate among a text's intended community of use. I look at a specific case - the banning in New Zealand of the popular anime Puni Puni Poemy due to the perception that it was liable to promote child abuse. I look at how the perception that manga, anime and other genres of Japanese popular culture are rated negatively by these juridical bodies as well as the press and note how resistant these readings are to being challenged by fans or indeed by academic experts. I conclude that the resistance to accepting fan readings can be explained in terms of Foucault's notion of governmentality - in particular the manner in which audiences are not conceived of as individual, discerning viewers, but as unruly subjects in need of regulation and guidance by approved bodies.