Weber, Ian (2011) Mobile, online, and angry: the rise of China's middle-class civil society? Critical Arts: a south-north journal of cultural and media studies, 25 (1). pp. 25-45. ISSN 0256-0046
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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02560046.2011.552204
Identification Number or DOI: doi: 10.1080/02560046.2011.552204
This article examines the role and power of online media in representing an emerging culture of social activism and protests in both urban and rural China. It focuses on the discursive practices of China’s citizenry in utilising the global dimensions of online media within a localised and situated context, to reflect upon, construct and transform social practices with Chinese characteristics. This article utilises a cross-case method to compare and contrast online and mobile social activism in Shanghai, Xiamen, Tibet and Xinjiang. It examines these dynamics against the backdrop of an emerging Chinese middle class, which has been supported by the Chinese government’s economic reform as a way to build a more consumer-oriented, affluent and stable Chinese society. This analysis is framed within the extensive theoretical underpinnings of social theory and civil society, specifically the work of Pierre Bourdieu on capital accumulation and social differentiation. The article concludes that while the Chinese middle class may not be politically docile and can achieve social change, it does so based on self-interest while being mindful and wary of how its actions are perceived by authorities, thus managing protests carefully so the middle class can continue to reap the economic rewards of state capitalism. Consequently, any move towards democratic structures facilitated through online and mobile communication will be slow and carefully managed in a way that benefits the government and the current power structure, especially when focusing on politically and socially sensitive issues such as sovereignty.
|Item Type:||Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)|
|Additional Information:||Permanent restricted access to published version due to publisher copyright restrictions.|
|Uncontrolled Keywords:||China; internet; mobile technologies; protests; social activism|
|Fields of Research (FOR2008):||16 Studies in Human Society > 1605 Policy and Administration > 160503 Communications and Media Policy|
16 Studies in Human Society > 1608 Sociology > 160805 Social Change
10 Technology > 1005 Communications Technologies > 100510 Wireless Communications
|Socio-Economic Objective (SEO2008):||B Ecomonic Development > 89 Information and Communication Services > 8904 Media Services > 890403 Internet Broadcasting|
|Deposited On:||11 Feb 2011 08:19|
|Last Modified:||28 Jun 2012 10:21|
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