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The Internet in China. Unlocking and Containing the Public Sphere

Lagerkvist, Johan LU (2006)
Abstract (Swedish)
Popular Abstract in Swedish

Denna avhandling riktar fokus mot en paradox: statsmaktens kontroll och social frihet över Internet ökar parallellt i Kina. Studien, som baseras på fältarbete utfört mellan 2002 och 2006 och 48 intervjuer, söker finna svaren på två frågor: 1. Hur kan internetanvändningen bidra till ett öppnande av den publika sfären, på ett sätt som gör den mer oberoende av enpartistatens kontroll? 2. I ljuset av statens uppmuntran till ökat internetanvändande i landet, hur redogör den kinesiska enpartistatens ombud för undertryckandet av samma användning, inför sig själva och till hela befolkningen, som en del av ansträngningarna att behålla kontrollen över politiken i en låst publik sfär? Kärnan i denna... (More)
Popular Abstract in Swedish

Denna avhandling riktar fokus mot en paradox: statsmaktens kontroll och social frihet över Internet ökar parallellt i Kina. Studien, som baseras på fältarbete utfört mellan 2002 och 2006 och 48 intervjuer, söker finna svaren på två frågor: 1. Hur kan internetanvändningen bidra till ett öppnande av den publika sfären, på ett sätt som gör den mer oberoende av enpartistatens kontroll? 2. I ljuset av statens uppmuntran till ökat internetanvändande i landet, hur redogör den kinesiska enpartistatens ombud för undertryckandet av samma användning, inför sig själva och till hela befolkningen, som en del av ansträngningarna att behålla kontrollen över politiken i en låst publik sfär? Kärnan i denna undersökning utgörs av fyra empiriska kapitel, vilka riktar in sig på olika frågor rörande Internets frihet och internetkontroll i Kina. Kapitel 2 undersöker hur en alternativ och folklig agenda på kinesiska nätverk influerar den officiella och statskontrollerade dagordningsfunktionen. Kapitel 3 diskuterar behovet av effektiva motåtgärder mot Internets ?ohälsosamma tendenser?, såsom de uppfattas av olika intellektuella röster, enpartistatens statstjänstemän och politiska kadrer. Kapitel 4 fokuserar på den underliggande rationaliteten bakom Kinas modeller för elektronisk statsförvaltning, e-government, och om de stärker enpartistatens legitimitet genom att antingen ge samhällsservice online, eller genom att kommunicera övertygande om det nuvarande politiska systemet. Kapitel 5 framhäver introduktionen av en nyhetsproduktion i onlineformat och de nya möjligheterna för ny formering av allmänopinion som kan bidra till en miljö som gynnar samhällets och politikens demokratisering. Det avslutande kapitlet, kapitel 6, utformar i detalj avhandlingens fynd och infattar dem i ett socialt kontrakt om internetanvändning i Kina, vilket bidrar till ny förståelse för hur denna användning, kontroll, social pluralisering och den politiska dynamiken på och genom Internet utvecklas i den samtida kontexten. Det existerande sociala kontraktet om utvecklingen av internetmedier mellan enpartistaten och samhället möjliggör demokrati, men det bromsar också upp hastigheten i processen, och vägleder demokratisering i en bestämd riktning. En lansering av teorin om mindre publika sfärer under auktoritärt politiskt styre görs. Teorin inlåter sig i dialog med teorier och debatter om politisk kultur, social kontroll, den allmänna opinionen och propaganda. De mindre publika sfärerna bistår öppnandet av den publika sfären i Kina. Massmediernas beroende och deras bundenhet, och den låsta publika sfären kan kringgås och omförhandlas från mediesystemets och byråkratins kärnor. (Less)
Abstract
The aim of this dissertation is to address a paradox: government control and social freedom on China's Internet are growing simultaneously. The study, which is based on fieldwork conducted between 2002 and 2006, and 48 interviews, seeks answers to the following two questions: 1. How can Internet use contribute to an unlocking of the public sphere, making it more independent from party-state control? 2. While generally promoting the Internet use throughout the country, how are agents of the Chinese party-state explicating containment of this use, for themselves and to the larger population, as part of their efforts to maintain control over politics in a locked-in public sphere? Four empirical chapters constitute the core of this... (More)
The aim of this dissertation is to address a paradox: government control and social freedom on China's Internet are growing simultaneously. The study, which is based on fieldwork conducted between 2002 and 2006, and 48 interviews, seeks answers to the following two questions: 1. How can Internet use contribute to an unlocking of the public sphere, making it more independent from party-state control? 2. While generally promoting the Internet use throughout the country, how are agents of the Chinese party-state explicating containment of this use, for themselves and to the larger population, as part of their efforts to maintain control over politics in a locked-in public sphere? Four empirical chapters constitute the core of this investigation and respectively address different issuespertaining to Internet freedom and Internet control in China. Chapter 2 probes how an alternative and popular agenda on Chinese networks influences the sanctioned agenda setting of official and state-controlled media. Chapter 3 discusses the need for effective countermeasures against the Internet's "unhealthy tendencies," as perceived by various intellectual voices and party-state officials and cadres. Chapter 4 focuses on the rationale behind China's launch of e-government projects, and whether e-government helps to build legitimacy for the party-state, through the provision of online services to the people and/or by communicating persuasive messages about the political system in place. Chapter 5 highlights the introduction of news production in the online format and the possibility of new formations of online public opinion that might contribute to an environment conducive to the democratization of society and politics. The final chapter, chapter 6, elaborates the findings and frame them within a social contract of Internet use in China, which contributes to a new understanding of how use, control, social pluralization, and the political dynamics of China's online media landscape are evolving in the contemporary setting. The current social contract on Internet media development between the party-state and society is enabling democracy, but it is also containing its pace and guiding democratization in a path-dependent direction. A theory of public sphericules under authoritarianism is proposed, engaging debates and theories on political culture, social control, public opinion, and propaganda. These sphericules aid the unlocking of the public sphere in China. The dependence of and constraints on the mass media and the locked-in public sphere can be circumvented and negotiated from the core of the media system and the bureaucracy. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
supervisor
opponent
  • Professor Rosen, Stanley, University of Southern California, Los Angeles
organization
publishing date
type
Thesis
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Political Culture, Public Sphere, Social Control, Public Opinion, Freedom of Speech, Democratization, Humanities, Humaniora, Samhällsvetenskaper, Social sciences, Propaganda, Internet, New Media
pages
217 pages
publisher
Lund University
defense location
Konferensrummet, Centrum för Öst- och Sydöstasienstudier, Scheelevägen 15D, Lund
defense date
2006-09-15 13:15
ISBN
978-91-628-6919-9
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
7b5646b8-08ad-4fc9-88a0-a5d845d10f1a (old id 547077)
date added to LUP
2007-09-11 14:30:23
date last changed
2016-09-19 08:45:03
@phdthesis{7b5646b8-08ad-4fc9-88a0-a5d845d10f1a,
  abstract     = {The aim of this dissertation is to address a paradox: government control and social freedom on China's Internet are growing simultaneously. The study, which is based on fieldwork conducted between 2002 and 2006, and 48 interviews, seeks answers to the following two questions: 1. How can Internet use contribute to an unlocking of the public sphere, making it more independent from party-state control? 2. While generally promoting the Internet use throughout the country, how are agents of the Chinese party-state explicating containment of this use, for themselves and to the larger population, as part of their efforts to maintain control over politics in a locked-in public sphere? Four empirical chapters constitute the core of this investigation and respectively address different issuespertaining to Internet freedom and Internet control in China. Chapter 2 probes how an alternative and popular agenda on Chinese networks influences the sanctioned agenda setting of official and state-controlled media. Chapter 3 discusses the need for effective countermeasures against the Internet's "unhealthy tendencies," as perceived by various intellectual voices and party-state officials and cadres. Chapter 4 focuses on the rationale behind China's launch of e-government projects, and whether e-government helps to build legitimacy for the party-state, through the provision of online services to the people and/or by communicating persuasive messages about the political system in place. Chapter 5 highlights the introduction of news production in the online format and the possibility of new formations of online public opinion that might contribute to an environment conducive to the democratization of society and politics. The final chapter, chapter 6, elaborates the findings and frame them within a social contract of Internet use in China, which contributes to a new understanding of how use, control, social pluralization, and the political dynamics of China's online media landscape are evolving in the contemporary setting. The current social contract on Internet media development between the party-state and society is enabling democracy, but it is also containing its pace and guiding democratization in a path-dependent direction. A theory of public sphericules under authoritarianism is proposed, engaging debates and theories on political culture, social control, public opinion, and propaganda. These sphericules aid the unlocking of the public sphere in China. The dependence of and constraints on the mass media and the locked-in public sphere can be circumvented and negotiated from the core of the media system and the bureaucracy.},
  author       = {Lagerkvist, Johan},
  isbn         = {978-91-628-6919-9},
  keyword      = {Political Culture,Public Sphere,Social Control,Public Opinion,Freedom of Speech,Democratization,Humanities,Humaniora,Samhällsvetenskaper,Social sciences,Propaganda,Internet,New Media},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {217},
  publisher    = {Lund University},
  school       = {Lund University},
  title        = {The Internet in China. Unlocking and Containing the Public Sphere},
  year         = {2006},
}