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Title: Communicative creativity caged : the Internet's social function in China
Author: Li, Shubo
ISNI:       0000 0001 2431 0271
Awarding Body: University of Westminster
Current Institution: University of Westminster
Date of Award: 2007
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This thesis is an historical investigation into aspects of the formation of online society in China bctween 1997 and 2006. It considers online cultural production, online associating and online philanthropy, all of which started out as features of particular online communities and then spread out onto the wider web. The thesis follows how this evolution took place. The research argues that what is happening is a quasi-social mobilization in which the will power of individuals converge via informal associating online into a functioning, trend-setting whole. The thesis reveals, on the one hand, the self-consolidation, autonomy and order which organically developed in the cyberspace. Online communication could bring about deliberated norms and values, and contested cultural identities, and collective action grounded by the former two factors. However, the research also shows how external social structures set parameters for the development of online society autonomy. Furthermore, there is a contradiction between the autonomy of online society and the control of the power of the State. The State has repeatedly destroyed the growing online public sphere, channeling the online population's activities into apolitical practices such as entertaining themselves and group socializing. Two features of online association are revealed. First, in the socialization of online life, the individual participated in public affairs, which in turn improves the individual's capacity for doing so. By transforming the individual's passivity and inactivity, the quasi-social movement dismantles the soil in which authoritarian politics grow. On the other hand, online association is entertaining and made blander as a result of the purge of dissidents by the authorities. Online social activities per se conform to authority, instead of opposing it. The massive movement of online associating has produced is a stronger, slyer, yet submissive society.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available