China and Inner Asia
Organized Panel Session
Media convergence, as described by Jenkins (2006), sees old and new media technologies merge and combine to form powerful and comprehensive social, commercial, and ideological landscapes. In the People's Republic of China, arguably, such unifying linkages across media forms have always characterized the enterprise of state propaganda. Printed, broadcast, and networked media are utilized in the service of political messaging by the Chinese regime and its savvy media partners. At the same time, however, propaganda culture in today's China faces unprecedented competition from other, global convergence cultures. How does propaganda position itself in the age of global media?
This panel argues that research on contemporary Chinese propaganda must take increasing note of how the norms and forms of advertising and promotional culture are permeating the state’s core thought work. As the old media techniques which once dominated China’s propaganda apparatus now merge with crowdsourcing, infographics, content marketing, mash-up videos, rap songs, cartoon competitions, and other strategies, propaganda culture seems to be orchestrating a new kind of mass line, often delivered via smartphone.
Hillenbrand shows how products of the recent “security education campaign” encourage displays of performative ideology; Hockx traces political and commercial discourses affecting printed and online literary production; Schellinx analyses television advertising material to demonstrate propagandistic overlaps between consumerism and nationalism; Wu presents fieldwork on the media perception and self-perception of retired women who make up street patrol brigades. Our discussant, Maria Repnikova, will place the papers in the wider context of China’s media politics and soft power projects.