Accepted paper:

Chinese new nationalist discourse and its interaction with Chinese internet culture and online political participation

Author:

Chenyang Song (Humboldt University of Berlin)

Paper short abstract:

Many countries are experiencing a rise of nationalism in mainstream political discourse, including China. This paper investigates how the new nationalist discourses emerge in the context of Chinese social media and its interaction between Chinese internet culture and online political participation

Paper long abstract:

In recent years many countries from west to east have been experiencing a conspicuous rise of nationalism in mainstream political discourse. As a key factor and a "virgin soil" social media offer multiple possibilities for these movements to forge and circulate their messages through new communication channels and sub/pop-cultural elements. Among these movements, a new Chinese cyber-nationalism wave whose activists are labeled as "little Pinks" has gained much attention since 2015. Usually, they were described as a group of social media user recognized for their strong female-led fandom characteristics and emotional discourse of irony/ridiculing, seduction and romance. Using multi-sited online ethnography and discourse analysis I will investigate how the new nationalist discourses emerge and develop in the context of Chinese social media and its interaction between Chinese internet culture and online political participation. Drawing on the multifaceted digital material, I argue that this "little Pink" wave represents a new type of depoliticalized political participation through online identity politics and fandom culture: In the frame of online pop-culture, a popular nationalistic and "state-developmentalism" discourses are formed in an entertaining, fragmented and deconstructed way, while official mainstream nationalist discourse is merging with the online popular culture practices. It is the fandom-economic mechanism of Chinese social media that blurred the boundaries between online political participation and popular cultural practice. However, friction between official mainstream and popular nationalist discourse still exists because of Internet censorship against Influencers and entertainment programs.

panel Digi01
New networked nationalisms: tracking the role of digital ethnology and folklore in a changing political landscape [SIEF Working Group on Digital Ethnology and Folklore (DEF)] [P+R]