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Title: Exploring digital discourse with Chinese characteristics : contradictions and tensions
Author: Na, Yuqi
ISNI:       0000 0004 9353 7287
Awarding Body: University of Westminster
Current Institution: University of Westminster
Date of Award: 2020
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Capitalism in China is under transformations. This research aims to register and interpret China’s discourse on network technologies, reveal the underlying ideologies, and tie this discourse to the transformation of China’s capitalism of which it is a part. Digital discourse, as this thesis defines it, is about the contemporary discourse on network technology under Capitalism with Chinese Characteristics. China’s state-led capitalism has gone through all aspects of changes that are enabled by network technologies, ranging from production, consumption and the market, to the relations between international capital, the State, domestic capital, and individuals are experiencing changes. Along with the economic, political and technological changes are ideological transformations. Digital discourse is part of the social process that is related to other social changes. This thesis will focus on the particular forms of digital discourse as a channel to investigate both social and ideological transformations in China’s digital capitalism. In particular, this thesis looks at the digital discourse from three social and political actors. It analyses discourse from the current central government’s information society policies and President Xi Jinping’s speeches, from CEOs of the dominant Internet companies in China, and from young workers in China’s ‘Silicon Valley’ Shenzhen. Through the lens of ideology, this thesis provides a critique of how digital discourse from different actors legitimate social relations in the current capitalism in China. In particular, at the international level, the government and BAT have appropriated a nationalist discourse to legitimate the global expansion of China’s capital and enterprises. At the domestic level, these actors have produced different types of discourse to legitimate the concentration of the market and the commercialisation of Internet platforms. At the individual level, there is a tendency among all actors to construct a consumer identity to replace a more politically active citizen identity. Through analysing digital discourse from these three actors, this thesis also identifies several features of ideology and the mechanisms of how ideologies work in contemporary capitalism. While the study illustrates the discrepancy of ideological discourse between by the dominant groups and subaltern groups, it also identifies one crucial ideology that legitimates, internalises and naturalises the dominant socio-political arrangements surrounding the commercialised Internet – This is no alternative. This finding suggests a double-layer and multi-dimensional understandings of the ideologies about China’s digital capitalism.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available