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Title: Media and modernity : the influence of the missionary press in late Qing dynasty China
Author: Zhang, Tao.
ISNI:       0000 0001 2435 7862
Awarding Body: Nottingham Trent University ;
Current Institution: Nottingham Trent University
Date of Award: 2004
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The aim of the thesis is to trace the contours of the emergence of the modern Chinese press from its origins in the western Christian missionary press in the late 19th century. The study analyses the subsequent transformations this brought about in Chinese culture and society - its transition to modernity - and explores some of the consequences of this for the situation the Chinese media face today. I attempt to show that the development of modern print journalism - from the missionary press to the Chinese 'gentry-scholars' press - was an integral part of the rise of modern Chinese society. Drawing on theoretical approaches provided by western theorists - Anthony Giddens, Harold Innis, Antonio Gramsci and, most significantly, JUrgen Haberrnas - the study firstly builds a theoretical framework for the investigation of the missionary press's contribution to the shaping of early modernity in China. As a prelude to the analysis of the impact of the western missionary press, the study next sketches the history of the imperial press and the related social structure of traditional China. Then, the picture of an emergent modern Chinese press is drawn, focusing on the case study of 'WGGB', the most influential missionary journal in the late 19th century. With these historical data, the study applies the theoretical framework to scrutinize the profound influences of the missionary press from four perspectives: a new sense of time-space and cosmology; innovation in printing technology; a changing sense of national identity; and the rise of 'the scholars' public sphere'. However the study does not assume the missionary press to be the sale agency of modern transformation for the Chinese press and the 'scholar-gentry' class. Rather, it probes the role which Confucian tradition played in China's transition to modernity. A critical assessment is also offered to deal with the controversies and complexities aroused by the notion of 'cultural imperialism' on the missionary enterprises, including the press, in the 19th century. Finally, the study concludes that the 19th century missionary press, though it produced enormous influences upon Chinese society and particularly the gentry scholars, failed to establish the liberty of the press as a sustainable institution. Over a century, Chinese intellectuals are still seeking for a free press in the tug between Chinese tradition and western modernity.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available