China and Inner Asia

Organized Panel Session

3 - The Making of Seeing: Meaning Production and Social Practice in Newspaper Reading Groups (1951-1956)

Saturday, July 7
8:30 AM - 10:00 AM
Location: Jacaranda II, First Floor

This study demonstrates that meaning production is a social process with an exterior-interior structure. Newspaper reading groups organized ritualized activities embedded in everyday life, where participants experienced the presence of the Party and the state as well as ideas and actions of the public through collective news reading and narrative reproduction. During this process, meaning was produced, leading to modernized perspective of "People's Republic of China in the world ", and was further applied by participants in a wider range of social practice. This collectively produced meaning came with an exterior-interior structure that profoundly impacted the society on two levels. On the exterior level, this collective reading ritual promoted people's understanding of the Party's policies and acted as means of political mobilization and social control. On the interior level, firstly, it built a special "circle resonance" mechanism in terms of collective meaning production. Secondly, it constructed people's perception of the political typology in everyday life, which became their framework to understand this new society and changed interpersonal relationships. Thirdly, this set of discourse not only represented the reality but also embodied the power to construct reality.

Haiyan Zhou

Nanjing University, China

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3 - The Making of Seeing: Meaning Production and Social Practice in Newspaper Reading Groups (1951-1956)



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