Watching Twin Bracelets in China: The Role of Spectatorship and Identification in an Ethnographic Analysis of Film Reception:

Sara L. Friedman

This article asks what a sustained ethnographic approach to media reception can teach us about the processes of identification and disavowal that take place when audiences consume media that for them is both fictional and realistic. Focusing on Chinese viewers' responses to the film Shuang zhuo (Twin Bracelets), I examine the commentaries generated in the context of film viewing and show how they enabled viewers to redefine representational genres and potentially reclaim personal and community histories. At the same time, I also elucidate common themes that appear in the viewers' own stories and in the genre they sought to contest. These commonalities grant viewers a form of authorial agency while simultaneously reinforcing existing modes of representing their lives. The article integrates approaches from linguistic and sociocultural anthropology with film theory to consider how spectators both engage with media texts and mediate the relationship between their present and past lives through different representational forms.

Access to this content is restricted.

  • If you are a AAA member please login to obtain full-text access.
  • If you are not a AAA member you can find out more information and join here https://avectra.aaanet.org/eweb/DynamicPage.aspx?webcode=verify
  • If you are a library patron of an academic institution, and are experiencing an access issue please contact your library administrator for assistance.
  • If you would like to purchase online access to this single article please locate the article on Wiley Online Library or contact a Wiley-Blackwell customer service representative at cs-journals@wiley.com.