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dc.contributor.advisorPugsley, Peter C.en
dc.contributor.advisorHumphreys, Salen
dc.contributor.advisorSong, Xianlinen
dc.contributor.authorWu, Minghuaen
dc.description.abstractThe Chinese social media platform, Weibo, is immensely popular and increasingly seen as a site for the empowerment of individuals and groups. General official statements on state-owned media make it clear, however, that the Chinese government is serious about enforcing online censorship. Chinese netizens are not expected to find ways of bypassing government censorship through social media. Instead of directly confronting state authority, however, netizens have adopted playful online strategies which skilfully draw on the Chinese socio-cultural context. Information can be delivered in different ways. Chinese online discourse can be funny, witty, playful and pleasurable, while at the same time making political comment. These strategies are culturally and discursively complex. For example, in China, social media platforms can be used both as a toy for entertainment and a medium for venting opinion publicly. This study proposes a new conceptual framework that aims to facilitate a better understanding of how Chinese netizens participate in online discussions. Through this framework, which draws on Bakhtin’s metaphor of Carnival, light is shed on the playfulness and power of online discourse in China. Specifically, this study shows how Chinese netizens, in creating online events, have been able to be simultaneously subversive and to enjoy a sense of empowerment in public life in China. It demonstrates how Chinese netizens have pushed the boundaries of what is possible for them. As a consequence, a once-silent majority now experiences a sense of involvement and participation in public events, whether big or seemingly insignificant. As a result, ordinary Chinese people have found their voices. This study is based on a new theoretical framework of Carnivalesque Participatory Discourse, which conceptualizes and integrates Bakhtin’s Carnivalesque discourse into the traditional cultural-social practices of “Weiguan” and “Meizhi”, which underpin the playful word games used by Chinese netizens. Several case studies document and underscore the importance of this framework as a means of understanding important aspects of Chinese online discourse. This original research demonstrates how China’s internet users negotiate power in everyday life by navigating their way through a complex social media sphere. This research will increase understanding of the importance of social media in China as a point of convergence for communications and politics and as an empowering site for enacting subversive pleasures. Overall, the study has implications for understanding the social, cultural and political transformations taking place in contemporary China.en
dc.subjectChinese social media; subversive pleasure; empowerment; carnivalesque participatory discourseen
dc.titleSocial media practices in China: empowerment through subversive pleasure.en
dc.contributor.schoolSchool of Humanitiesen
dc.provenanceThis electronic version is made publicly available by the University of Adelaide in accordance with its open access policy for student theses. Copyright in this thesis remains with the author. This thesis may incorporate third party material which has been used by the author pursuant to Fair Dealing exceptions. If you are the owner of any included third party copyright material you wish to be removed from this electronic version, please complete the take down form located at:
dc.description.dissertationThesis (Ph.D.) -- University of Adelaide, School of Humanities, 2014.en
Appears in Collections:Research Theses

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