Religions Aspects in the Mechanism of Asian Idol-Fan Pop Culture | 亚洲偶像-粉丝文化机制中的宗教因素
Kevin Schilbrack defines religion as an intersection between the features of functionalist and substantive, namely, 'the social practices authorized by reference to a superempirical reality'. Using Schilbrack's definition as framework, the essay aims at analyzing the idol-fan culture in Asia satisfies the functionalist standard of religion but fails to meet its substantive aspect. The idol industry in Asia functions religiously in psychological and social perspectives: it benefits the practitioners psychologically by improving self-identification through the cultivation of idol-fan relationship; it also develops comradeship and community cooperation through fan-fan relationship. The consumption of idol-centered commodity strengthens the bonding between fan community, a similar mode with religious consumption. However, the appreciation is limited within the empirical factors of the idol (face, body, etc.). and nonempirical values (hard-working, talents, etc.). The absence of belief in superempirical being (independent from human, able to transcend the impermanent boundary) fails the idol culture to meet the substantive standard, thus cannot be categorized as religion under Shilbrack's definition.