Inter-area/Border Crossing

Organized Panel Session

2 - Television as a New Media Event – Digital Transformations of a Chinese Political Drama

Saturday, July 7
2:40 PM - 4:10 PM
Location: Chinar, First Floor

If television as digital media represents a significant shift in television’s cultural form (Bennett, 2011), how is this shift manifested in the production and consumption of contemporary television dramas? Corruption drama used to be a popular television genre in China at the beginning of the century but has been subdued ever since by political censorship until it was revived during Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign and produced the drama hit of 2017, In the Name of the People. While “In the Name of the People” was not much different from corruption dramas of the previous era – a story of how the Party's anti-corruption agents fight an uphill fight against a dense network of corruption implicating powerful senior government officials, the industrial, technological, and cultural contexts for its production and consumption are drastically changed. Thus, when compared with similar dramas of the largely pre-digital times, In the Name of the People provides an excellent case study of television as digital media. This paper examines how producers of the drama seek audiences of the younger generations by incorporating online youth cultures and how the drama subsequently undergoes fragmentation, decontextualization, and memefication as it is subsumed by the logic of digital cultural consumption. In a nutshell, the paper approaches the linkages between television and digital media by focusing on the social production and transformation of the televisual text.

Ruoyun Bai

University of Toronto, Canada

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2 - Television as a New Media Event – Digital Transformations of a Chinese Political Drama



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