China Online: Locating Society in Online Spaces, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

China Online

Locating Society in Online Spaces, 1st Edition

Edited by Peter Marolt, David Kurt Herold


186 pages

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The Chinese internet is driving change across all facets of social life, and scholars have grown mindful that online and offline spaces have become interdependent and inseparable dimensions of social, political, economic, and cultural activity. This book showcases the richness and diversity of Chinese cyberspaces, conceptualizing online and offline China as separate but inter-connected spaces in which a wide array of people and groups act and interact under the gaze of a seemingly monolithic authoritarian state. The cyberspaces comprising "online China" are understood as spaces for interaction and negotiation that influence "offline China". The book argues that these spaces allow their users greater "freedoms" despite ubiquitous control and surveillance by the state authorities. The book is a sequel to the editors’ earlier work, Online Society in China: Creating, Celebrating and Instrumentalising the Online Carnival (Routledge, 2011).


'…this book offers a sense of freshness in dealing with Chinese internet studies that eschews the dogmatic paradigms often found in current literature by proposing a new conceptualization of Chinese internet users as well as an ethnographic ‘everyday-life-approach’ to the field of study.'

Giuseppe Minacapilli, East China Normal University, Asiascape: Digital Asia

Table of Contents

Part 1: Deliberating Online Spaces 1. Grounding Online Spaces Peter Marolt 2. Users, not Netizens: Spaces and Practices on the Chinese Internet David Kurt Herold Part 2: Defining Online Spaces 3. “The Corpses were Emotionally Stable”: Agency and Passivity on the Chinese Internet Jonathan Benney 4. Regarding Subjectivities and Social Life on the Screen: The Ambivalences of Spectatorship in the People’s Republic of China Alex Cockain Part 3: Claiming Online Spaces 5. A Framing Analysis of Chinese Independent Candidates’ Strategic Use of Microblogging for Online Campaign and Political Expression Yu Liu and Qinghua Yang 6. China’s Dream of High-speed Growth Gets Rear-ended: The “Wenzhou 723” Microblogging Incident and the Erosion of Public Confidence Günter Schucher and Maria Bondes Part 4: Enjoying Online Spaces 7. Gold Farmers and Water Army: Digital Playbour with Chinese Characteristics Ge Jin and David Kurt Herold 8. Chinese Fansub Groups as Communities of Practice: An Ethnography of Online Language Learning Xiao Liu and Gabriele de Seta Part 5: Shaping Online Spaces 9. Balancing Market and Politics: The Logic of Organizing Cyber Communities in China Cuiming Pang 10. The Role of Chinese Internet Industry Workers in Creating Alternative Online Spaces Bingqing Xia and Helen Kennedy

About the Editors

Peter Marolt is a Research Fellow at the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore

David Kurt Herold is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Hong Kong Polytechnic University

About the Series

Media, Culture and Social Change in Asia

The aim of this series is to publish original, high-quality work by both new and established scholars in the West and the East, on all aspects of media, culture and social change in Asia. New proposals are welcome, and should be sent in the first instance to the series editor, Stephanie Donald, at [email protected]

Editorial Board:

Gregory N. Evon, University of New South Wales
Devleena Ghosh, University of Technology, Sydney
Michael Keane, Curtin University
Tania Lewis, RMIT University, Melbourne
Vera Mackie, University of Wollongong
Kama Maclean, University of New South Wales

Laikwan Pang, Chinese University of Hong Kong
Gary Rawnsley, Aberystwyth University
Ming-yeh Rawnsley, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
Jo Tacchi, Loughborough University
Adrian Vickers, University of Sydney
Jing Wang, MIT
Ying Zhu, Hong Kong Baptist University



Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Popular Culture