Resistance practice on Chinese social media : Shifting to the “second half” of COVID-19 era

Zhu, Fangzhou and Zhou, Liying and Zhang, Linli (2022) Resistance practice on Chinese social media : Shifting to the “second half” of COVID-19 era. In: UNSPECIFIED.

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Previous studies on examining resistance practice online in China focus on the netizens’ response to breaking incidents and its potentials of challenging political power negotiation within social media sphere. This study explores the shifting effect on the strategic resistance practice in anaphase of COVID-19 pandemic, in which Chinese netizens shaped a unique combination of strategy-making and purposes under the persistent anti-pandemic policy, the ever-evolving censorship and the distraction released by government. Based on a qualitative discourse analysis of 2456 Weibo comments under three trending and distractive topics in April 2022, this study adopts the discursive pragmatic approach to reveal the major strategies utilised by netizens and their purposes of resistance in context. Within the current discourse, parody, teasing, and constructed utterances were identified as the major strategies, while a comparison with general Chinese online discourse shows that neology (novel words/expressions or existing words/expressions with new meanings) was dynamically and imaginatively applied by netizens for resistance. Further content analysis demonstrates that these strategies were served for combining personal experience, eye witnessing, sentiments and adaptations of latest memes with resistance as well as evasion of censorship, during which netizens with pragmatic competence of others’ outputs and the shared social-cultural background knowledge regarding pandemic events can achieve interactive and communicative exchange. Compared to existing Chinese social media discourse research literature during pandemic, this study exemplifies Chinese netizens shifted themselves from the cyber nationalism campaign during the “first half” to the “second half” of pandemic by rejecting deliberate distraction, focusing on their “mundane desires,” and showing little interests in leading collective political events online in everyday life with long-term anti-pandemic measures and up-to-date Internet surveillance. This shifting effect also enriches the description of liminal space in which the delay between netizen’s response, government supervision and censorship update under pandemic settings is different from the one shown in public incidents.

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?? discourse analysisresistance practicechinese social media ??
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24 May 2023 09:45
Last Modified:
15 Jul 2024 08:50