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Über dieses Buch

This book offers an analytical account of the consensus and contestations of the politics of Chinese media at both institutional and discursive levels. It considers the formal politics of how the Chinese state manages political communication internally and externally in the post-socialist era, and examines the politics of news media, focusing particularly on how journalists navigate the competing demands of the state, the capital and the urban middle class readership. The book also addresses the politics of entertainment media, in terms of how power operates upon and within media culture, and the politics of digital networks, highlighting how the Internet has become the battlefield of ideological contestation while also shaping how political negotiations are conducted. Bearing in mind the contemporary relevance of China’s socialist revolution, this text challenges both the liberal universalist view that presupposes ‘the end of history’ and various versions of China exceptionalism, which downplay the impact of China’s integration into global capitalism.



Chapter 1. Introduction: Understanding the Politics of Chinese Media

The introductory chapter lays out the key theoretical propositions that inform the rest of the book. It also challenges some of the conventional frameworks for analyzing media and communication in China. In addition to highlighting the continued relevance of China’s socialist history in understanding the present as well as imagining the future, I also advocate a multidimensional view of power, a broader understanding of politics and an appreciation of mediation as a dialectical process. The chapter ends with an explanation of the structure of the book.
Bingchun Meng

Chapter 2. The Chinese State: Moving Left? Moving Right? or Depoliticized?

This chapter looks at how the Chinese state manages political communication internally and externally in the postsocialist era. After a historicized explication of the ideological spectrum in contemporary China, I draw on Wang Hui’s notion of “depoliticized politics” to look at how the CCP is trying to circumvent some of the fundamental ideological contradictions with a pragmatic and often technocratic approach. With examples from political communication targeting both domestic and international audience, I substantiate the argument with empirical analysis.
Bingchun Meng

Chapter 3. Looking beyond the Liberal Lens: News Media as Contested Discursive Space

This chapter begins with a critique of the orthodox liberal perspective that is often used to examine news media in China. Against the background of news media commercialization, conglomeration and convergence in China, I draw on in-depth interviews with veteran journalists and senior editors to explicate how the political economy of Chinese news industry conditions the daily work experience as well as the professional identity of media workers. Moving beyond the conventional dichotomy of state censorship vs. repressed media, I try to provide a more complex picture by bringing into discussion the strategic positioning of media outlets themselves, the changing journalistic ethos and the new power dynamics of a converged media environment.
Bingchun Meng

Chapter 4. The Cultural Politics of the Entertainment Media

This chapter focuses on the cultural politics of entertainment media in China. I try to bring together institutional-level analysis and attention to discourses and meaning in two steps. First, I map out the political economy of both film and television industries, so as to explain the structural conditions that give rise to or suppress certain types of entertainment media content. Second, in the close reading of a few exemplary film and television texts, I situate the tensions and contradictions emerged from rhetorical devices of storytelling in the broader context of political, economic and social change in China.
Bingchun Meng

Chapter 5. From Angry Youth to Anxious Parents: The Mediated Politics of Everyday Life

This chapter starts off by synthesizing and critiquing the status quo of research about Chinese internet. I present three case studies on the internet-mediated politics, around the themes of nationalism, gender and class, to challenge the dominant analytical framework. They unsettle a series of entrenched binary thinking, such as state vs. market, state vs. society, censorship vs. freedom, centralized control vs. dispersed network, deliberation vs. emotion. The three cases also illustrate the dialectic process of mediation, in the sense of media discourse being embedded in social and political context while also shaping subjectivity and practices.
Bingchun Meng

Chapter 6. Conclusion

In the concluding chapter, I revisit the contemporary relevance of China’s socialist history by comparing speeches made by Mao Zedong and Xi Jinping on culture, ideology and the role of media workers. Counterposing Xi’s talks against their historical counterparts can help to reveal the inconsistency and contradictions in current “ideology work”, as well as the challenges that the CCP faces in re-establishing hegemony. The ideological struggles examined in my empirical chapters seem to confirm Stuart Hall’s view of crises as not leading to any preordained result. But the memory of socialism, be it nostalgic or disillusioned, shapes the Chinese people’s assessment of the status quo as well as their imagining of the future.
Bingchun Meng


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